Kimbrel poised and ready for closer’s challenge

Craig Kimbrel is only 22. He’s about to get a shot at taking over the Braves closer job this spring, with the retirement of Billy Wagner. He has a lot on his mind.

But at home in Huntsville, Ala. on Tuesday afternoon, as he drove from doing some deer hunting to throwing for the first time this winter, Kimbrel sounded like the kind of person who could handle it.

When asked at what point last year he realized he could do the major league job, here’s what he said:

“There was never really a point last year where I didn’t think I could do it,” Kimbrel said. “I can’t go on the mound and think ‘I can’t do it,’ because then I’ll be in a losing situation.”

He wasn’t in too many of those. Kimbrel and his 96, 97 mph fastball allowed only one earned run in 20 2/3 innings over four major league stints last season, going 4-0 with an 0.44 ERA. This was on top of going 3-2 with a 1.62 ERA and 23 saves for Triple-A Gwinnett.

When Wagner went down with an oblique injury during the Division Series, Kimbrel was the one on the mound in the ninth inning in Game 3. He gave up a walk and a groundball base hit, which prompted former manager Bobby Cox to come for the ball. But there was no denying his mound presence and his potential to do the job. He’d pitched two perfect innings the game prior, with four strikeouts.

Kimbrel will enter spring training with confidence, but not assuming anything.

“I’m looking at it like it doesn’t matter what role I have, if I’m in the big leagues I’m happy,” he said. “But if I just go out there and focus more on pitching well, good things will happen.”

Kimbrel said without pitching in the Arizona Fall League this year, his arm has had more time to rest. And he’s made it a point not to push as hard going into camp, so that he can conserve energy for the long haul.

“I was going into spring training last year trying to make a good impression, catch people’s eyes,” Kimbrel said. “This year I’m a little bit more comfortable. I can work my arm strength up, instead of having to go in Day One being ready.”

100 comments Add your comment

jp

December 28th, 2010
5:31 pm

let’s not forget about Venters. The bullpen is gonna be a real strength over the Phils

Casey Strikes Out

December 28th, 2010
5:31 pm

lanier

December 28th, 2010
5:31 pm

He reminds me of a bespectaled guy they tried in that role years ago. Remember his name I dont

Chris

December 28th, 2010
5:32 pm

Great job Craig.

lanier

December 28th, 2010
5:32 pm

think it was Craig something

jp

December 28th, 2010
5:32 pm

hey lanier, if you can’t remember the name than he must not have been a real good comparison right?

lanier

December 28th, 2010
5:42 pm

dont think he did too bad in the short term think it was in the late 90,s or so

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 28th, 2010
5:44 pm

like him. like his jaw jut. goes after hitters. mean streak. the real deal for a closer.

JD

December 28th, 2010
5:51 pm

Agreed Chef. Needs a solid second pitch, maybe should work more with Smoltz on the slider…my only concern is his noggin. Wags wasn’t good because he could just blow people away (he knew he could if needed), he was good because he knew his limitations before he got on the mound. Big K needs to learn the mental part of the game now…..

Jimbo Jones

December 28th, 2010
5:54 pm

It killed me when Bobby took him out of game three. I just really felt like he could have gotten out of that situation but alas we will never know…

Nobreggie4Dogs

December 28th, 2010
6:00 pm

Yep, I coulda killed #6 when he pulled Kimbrel after the Sanchez hit, literally coulda killed the old rascal !

The_Hey_Free_Duo

December 28th, 2010
6:02 pm

Off topic of Kimbrel, does anyone feel that the braves could trade for Elsbury from Boston without giving up a ton?

Joshhh...

December 28th, 2010
6:16 pm

Why is there always someone that says “thank you” to Carroll!?

I’m sorry but this is her job & frankly I don’t think she’s a great writer.

Stop being numb & mindless and just read her blog

mikey d

December 28th, 2010
6:21 pm

I think the bespectacle closer was Craig McMurtry

rick p

December 28th, 2010
7:07 pm

“Why is there always someone that says “thank you” to Carroll!? ”

Joshhh–it’ll come to you by and by…. when you grow up

Herschel Talker

December 28th, 2010
7:23 pm

“There was never really a point last year where I didn’t think I could do it”

Well unfortunately for us Braves fans, there was a point where Bobby Cox thought he couldn’t do it, namely Game 3 of the LDS. Thank God Bobby is gone.

1eyedJack

December 28th, 2010
7:26 pm

Wasn’t his name Large Charles Kerfelt (sic) or something like that?

creo esta temporada sabremos si hubiese salido d aquella entrada

December 28th, 2010
7:38 pm

Enter your comments here Escriba su comentario aquí

Ryan

December 28th, 2010
7:43 pm

Has Wagner filed his retirement papers yet?

O-me

December 28th, 2010
7:43 pm

great read Carroll. Thanks and Happy New year.

AdirondackDave

December 28th, 2010
7:53 pm

Joshhh — Sounds like you don’t get any thanks for doing your job. Most of us do, or did, from time to time.

reagan

December 28th, 2010
8:49 pm

Ryan……..that has had me thinking it was revealed. Wonder if we might see him later in the season. Seems like a stretch but you never know. Keep wondering WHY he is not off the roster.

raymond

December 28th, 2010
8:55 pm

KId better learn how to throw strikes first.

Poorbrave

December 28th, 2010
8:59 pm

Just reading Insider MLB ( you have to pay). It said most teams interested in Adrian Beltre’s Market..would have to move a player in order to take him. ex. Texas would have to trade Young. It goes on to say If that don’t happen Adrian could fall to the Braves if Chipper’s return is delayed longer than expected. What about 4 years at 13 Million with opinion year 14 million are buy out 1 million? Sound way out but anything can happen. One big problem=Boras is his agent.

Poorbrave

December 28th, 2010
9:05 pm

Joshhh—The Lady has Class and its obvious you don’t. Thank you.

Don

December 28th, 2010
9:09 pm

Bigger Problem – Braves budget is already set and this salary does NOT fit.

I just pooped

December 28th, 2010
9:59 pm

KnightInATL

December 28th, 2010
10:06 pm

This is the first time he has thrown all offseason!?!?!? Kid needs to get himself together. Ain’t no offseason for rookies.

O-me

December 28th, 2010
10:15 pm

If chipper is out, insurance pay his 14mills? that would free up the $$$$…right? just asking…

Cornfuzed

December 28th, 2010
10:37 pm

O-me: injury insurance doesn’t pay the full salary, it’s a percentage that the team wants to insure and pricing depends on age, injury history, position, etc. I would be shocked if the Braves could have insured more than half of Chipper’s salary.
But I would love to have Beltre or someone else as a fallback, because I don’t have any confidence that Chipper will play 130 games.

braveshoo

December 28th, 2010
11:50 pm

The fallback for Chipper is Prado. He is the Braves’ 3rd baseman of the future. The gaping hole both next year and beyond is in CF.

Jimbo Jones

December 29th, 2010
12:02 am

@Braveshoo

and left field, in reference to gaping holes.

Longhorn

December 29th, 2010
1:20 am

Craig will be just fine. And if you think he needs a second pitch, then you obviously were not watching last season. His mickey mouse “curveball” as he calls it, even though it is more like a slider, is one of the best in baseball. I will admit he could use a good change up at least for a show me pitch, but as long as he keeps throwing in the high 90’s he can ge away with just the two for now.

As far as the Chipper deal is concerned, well we will be better off with almost anyone else over there. I know the loyalists will hate to see him go, but he is not mobile and has no business being out there. If he played like this when he was a rookie he would have been cut. We dropped the ball by letting Wes Timmons go a few months ago, you know the guy who has been waiting in the wings playing third base in the minor leagues his entire career until now. He has hit around .300 for years and usually leads the league in walks and on base percentage and has a little pop too (8 HR’s in 10′. The A’s picked him up quick and placed him on the 40 man immediately.

Our left field problems might be solved as long as the new skip truly does play the best nine. With the addition of Matt Young to the 40 man it looks like they might be doing just that. This guy can flat out play. I hope he breaks camp as our everyday LF.

McClouth should be fine in Center. Everyone knows he’s coming off a bad year but I think he will bounce back. Shaefer has been working hard but is he mature enough to get the rest at night required to be successfull in the major leagues? I think he is a couple of years away from that, he has some growing up to do.

We have the peices and if we play a little more small ball and use our speed we can win it all. Take a page out of Augie’s book Gonzo and you will have a ring come October.

Arkie

December 29th, 2010
6:45 am

Looks like another “IF” year coming. If Chipper can, “If” McClouth can rebound, (He could, if he would level his swing and stop trying to hit homers, but will he, probably not)First base, “If” a rookie can. Can Jason adjust to pitching that has ezposed his weaknesses. Starting pitching has two “Ifs’. Hopefully, we have added some pop to the line up. I would like to see better defense and team speed. We usually lose several games because of this lack of. All said, I am a die hard Braves Fan. Go Braves!!

Doug Markham

December 29th, 2010
8:57 am

Carroll—Thank you. I think you are excellent reporter and writer.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Happy New Year.

Roger De Bris

December 29th, 2010
9:14 am

Merci beaucoup Carroll!

IHEARTCARROLL

December 29th, 2010
9:19 am

Joshhh,

The internet is endless. Just go somewhere else.

Thank you Carroll.

Justafan

December 29th, 2010
9:33 am

Braveshoo @ 11:50, Prado is not the future 3rd baseman for Braves. He is just Insurance per insiders. He’s the LF’er till proven otherwise. If Chipper goes down are out the Braves will be looking for replacement. Thanks Carroll.

Bayou Brave

December 29th, 2010
9:53 am

Thanks, Carroll!

Bud

December 29th, 2010
10:05 am

Chipper will come back and he WILL win come-back player of the year.He has heard all the bullcrap about him and he will come back and hit .300 have at least 25 hr. and have over 100 rbi. Mark it down,it will happen!

Dawgdad (The Original)

December 29th, 2010
10:09 am

Carroll, you are a great writer. Josh, thank you for moving on.

40YearBravesFan

December 29th, 2010
10:38 am

What a great kid! Looking forward to seeing Spring Training start!

GO BRAVES!!

Aggiefan

December 29th, 2010
11:01 am

That bespeckled reliever might have been Ryan Duren who relieved for the Yankees. His vision was so bad that he could barely see the catchers mitt. A 97 mph fastball and no vision made the hitters think about only about survival in the box. Few ever got a hit.

Bartman n Orl

December 29th, 2010
11:53 am

Great Kid! Here’s to hoping it’s many years before he needs TJ surgery.

I still think we might see a 1/2 season from Wagner…if the Braves are in it. Although, he and Charlie Manual are buddies….hmmm…might he??? nahhh..

jim

December 29th, 2010
12:05 pm

Ryne Duren pitched for the Yankees in the late 50s. He wore glasses as thick as he bottom of a
Coke bottle, and would start his warm up by throwing a pitch well off the plate that the catcher could not catch, then take of his glasses and wipe them with a cloth.
I don’t see the resemblance of any of these pitchers to Kimbrel.

His control kept him in the minors during the first half of the season. — Remember the KC game when he loaded the bases with none out, then struck outthe next 2 guys and popped up Butler? — when he came back in September, he did not have the same control problems exhibited earlier.

I agree with the earlier post that he exhibited a rather good breaking ball. Unfortunately the one he threw to Sanchez was not his best.

For the guy that thinks Kimbrel should be throwoing all winter, I suggest he find an anatomy class to enroll in somewhere. Kimbrel pitched in the AFL in 09 and in the playoffs this past fall. He needs a rest. I also hope Venters is finally getting a chance to rest his left arm. He certainly needs it!

Jay

December 29th, 2010
12:07 pm

Ryan Duren hit more bottles than batters! Great fastball- Thanks Carroll

The Sham

December 29th, 2010
12:17 pm

When is the Braves Fan Fest at Turner? Anyone know yet?

Caseyatthebat

December 29th, 2010
12:32 pm

Hey, Bud, is your last name “Wieser”?

Ted M

December 29th, 2010
12:41 pm

#6 made sick when he took Krimbrel out of game 3 too. Krimbrel’s a strikeout machine and the Braves infield defense really stunk…not just Conrad.

If you can’t play defense ya gotta strike’em out.

Ted M

December 29th, 2010
12:41 pm

A classic case of over managing.

Ted M

December 29th, 2010
12:51 pm

The premium payments on Chipper’s injury insurance policy would have to be sky freakin high.

I wonder if that’s counted as part of the payroll?

jim

December 29th, 2010
12:52 pm

We’ll never know how game 3 turns out if Kimbrel were left in to face Huff. Perhaps Bobby remembers Joey Devine (the reliever closest to Kimbrel in size, stuff, and delivery from the Braves past) and wanted to protect Kimbrel from a possible failure in his first major closing assignment. Dunn’s pitch was on the outside corner at the knees and Huff hit a soft liner to right. I thought Heyward made a bad play and throw on the ball and had a good opportunity to throw the runner out at home.

ramblingman

December 29th, 2010
1:18 pm

I think between Kimbrel and Venters, the pen will be in good hands

Ted M

December 29th, 2010
1:20 pm

Joey Devine was pitching against the Astros, I think, but he had already given up 1 or 2 grand slams so that’s a little different.

Chief Pitchanono

December 29th, 2010
1:39 pm

This will be a very good lineup that will take the field with our already good pitching staff. This will be a much improved offensive team that will give the phills another good race for the NL east title. I think this will be the year when our great young pitching finally gets recognized because they will be getting the run support they deserve, which should turn into allot of W’s instead of ND’s for the starters. With good health the Braves and Phills are the best two teams in the NL and the wildcard will again go to one of these teams. You have to respect the Giants, because they are the champs, but they are built for the playoff system, not the 162 game regular season, so if they get in again, they will be contenders of course, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they don’t make it next year.

JonnyVenter'sLeftArm

December 29th, 2010
1:50 pm

I’m resting, I promise.

JohnnyVenter'sRightArm

December 29th, 2010
2:20 pm

Left arm resting = Right arm does ALL THE WORK!

JohnnyVenter'sRightArm

December 29th, 2010
2:21 pm

……I’m tired….

j

December 29th, 2010
3:30 pm

Kimbrel’s stuff in game 1 was as absolutely filthy. I spoke w/ a Giants fan/baseball coach about it, and he agreed that Kimbrel was as unhittable as we’d seen in a while. I don’t know how many pitches he has, but he’s definitely good to go until hitters prove they can adjust.

Nick P.

December 29th, 2010
4:58 pm

kimbrell should be the closer and venters the set up guy due to the fact that venters is a location swing at it sinker guy, where as in the 9th kimbrell comes in and throws bullets which usually are strike wheather swing or not, but both were prone to start losing it after two outs, for some reason with both the third out was sometimes a roller coaster ride!

old timer

December 29th, 2010
5:00 pm

Gracias Carroll.

If the Braves win the East it’ll be because of the pen. I think the starting rotation was better overall than the Phils’ until they got Lee. Phils have better offense, too. But you get to the bullpens in a tie game, Braves will win most of those.

Someone said centerfield is the black hole, and it is. Left, too, if Chipper can’t go and Prado moves in. I keep reading about Matt Young on this blog and I hope everyone is right. But we all know you never know what a guy will do in the Bigs until he plays there. Braves will win a lot of games in ‘11 and might wind up the wild card again.

First things first though: Packers over Bears. Go Pack Go!

RockytopATL

December 29th, 2010
5:58 pm

Lifting Kimbrel in that game was Bobby’s last postseason error and it cost the Braves their shot.

MitchC

December 29th, 2010
8:07 pm

Personally, if I was Gonzalez, I would give Venters first shot on the closer’s job, based on the fact that he had a bit more major league experience last year, and use Kimbrel as the backup.

It sounds like Kimbrel will be the guy, for whatever the reason. Hopefully, he’ll be up to the challenge, and record 30 plus saves.

Michael

December 29th, 2010
8:47 pm

I think there will be co-closetrs in Atl this year.

Quint in Atl

December 29th, 2010
8:58 pm

My only problem with McLouth in center is how reluctant he is to make throws to homeplate. Do y’all recall the same issues with him? Could he have an undiagnosed shoulder injury or an undiagnosed emotional injury that makes him reluctant to throw?

Bravesfaninnashville

December 29th, 2010
9:04 pm

Rockytop… Agreed. I love the people skills side of Bobby Cox. Nobody better ever IMO but it was so painful to watch that game and just know that Conrad had another error in him before that game was over because he was rattled. Evidenced by him calling off Derrick on a pop-up that Derrick didn’t have to move at all to catch and Lee is a gold glove fielder. Then we survive that and are one strike away from leaving up 2-1 to SF and Bobby pulls Kimbrel.. I for one Braves fan can’t wait to see how Freddie G. handles the close games.

Bravesfaninnashville

December 29th, 2010
9:08 pm

I think Kimbrel has the killer instinct to handle the 9th. He certainly has the stuff to be lights out. He’ll be fine if he can handle the occasional blown save and have a short memory and just go out and compete. His talent will win most nights!

coo coo bird fan

December 30th, 2010
6:52 am

Kimbrell will be just fine. I’d like to know how Tommy Hanson has handled the offseason, he had a Kawakami like year, no run support and a lot of losses and no decisions. Hope his confidence is still high we need him to be CY young worthy next year.

braveshoo

December 30th, 2010
8:19 am

think one mistake the Braves made this offseason is not signing Tony Gwynn Jr to serve as our 4th of. Poor hitter, but good speed and great defense. The Dodgers got him for $650,000 for 1 year.I

tjhook

December 30th, 2010
8:23 am

Carol is a friendly person but an average writer. She would draw more readers if she gave more perspective in her reports. Everybody who reads this blog largely lives the home team but does not get any input from outside sources (players, coaches, scouts) who will provide an opinion that is not built to appease a fan base

tjhook

December 30th, 2010
8:25 am

Example: what San Francisco thought of Kimbrel

atlwolf

December 30th, 2010
9:23 am

The Sham

I don’t think there’s even been a Fan Fest since the fiasco that was the 2008 Fan Fest at the GWCC. May have been 2007, can’t remember. I do remember the 4+ hour wait in the autograph lines, not knowing who would be signing when you got up to the table. I waited four hours and when we got close to the table, Phil Niekro got up and Charlie Liebrandt started signing. Four hours in line and we would have walked away with a Liebrandt autograph…urgh. I miss the old Fan Fest at Turner Field when you knew who would be signing and where, and there were memorabilia stands and some of the food stands were open, and there was the Museum & Braves HOF and Clubhouse tours, lots of fun stuff. I sure hope whoever came up with the GWCC idea was fired.

Jim R

December 30th, 2010
9:44 am

I keep thinking back on a guy we had that had a GGGGRRRReaTTTTT slider and fastball but made one bad pitch and it ruined his career. Anybody remember Mark Wohlers and the Home run ball in the World series? Let’s hope Kimbrel can handle the pressure better than Wohlers did. Just a thought. JR.

Carroll Rogers

December 30th, 2010
11:43 am

tjhook, you want more perspective from outside sources, as in scouts? not sure how players and coaches would fall under the category of “not trying to appease a fan base.” they’re always at least to some degree concerned with how things sound to braves fans.

when you say more perspective, maybe you mean more opinion from me. You’ve got me there. Trained as a beat writer, to be objective and never feel super comfortable throwing around my opinions. Anyway. If you’re gonna pick on me, at least put two r’s and l’s in Carroll.

jim

December 30th, 2010
11:59 am

Carroll,
I think tjhook needs to go to the political blogs where the real kooks and jerks hang out.
Keep up the fine work.

jim

December 30th, 2010
12:42 pm

Wohlers gave up an equally costly HR to Dykstra in the 93 playoffs, and survived. He was on the mound in the 9th inning of game 6 in 95 and clinched the championship. I don’t know that we can relate his subsequent control problems to that one pitch. Steve Blass developed “the disease” one year after excelling in the World Series. Wohlers was not a rookie like Kimbrel in 96. (Devine never recovered with the Braves, but he came back and had a good year for the As before injuring his arm. His 08 season prompted the As to trade Street to the Rockies.)

Yehuda Hamer

December 30th, 2010
4:09 pm

I hope Craig does not get overworked!

Supes

December 30th, 2010
5:59 pm

I have full confidence in Kimbrel as the future braves closer for 2011 and so on…

Venters is perfect for the 8th inning (same role as last year)…

and Cox did blow the game by yanking Kimbrel out of there…should have given the kid a chance to close it out.

It feels great to have such promising young arms in the pen and in our starting rotation and in the minors…Braves look set in the pitching department.

I wonder how the Phillies pen/minors look like compared to the Braves…:)

Justafan

December 30th, 2010
7:49 pm

Carroll you go girl!!!!!!!!!
Don’t take no BS from anyone. Thanks again.

rick p

December 31st, 2010
6:14 pm

“You’ve got me there. Trained as a beat writer, to be objective and never feel super comfortable throwing around my opinions. Anyway. If you’re gonna pick on me, at least put two r’s and l’s in Carroll.”

LOL…. I think most of these guys are around 13 and pretty thrilled that their BS actually appears here on a blog. You do good work which Ive read even back when the sports section was longer than four pages. I hope you stay but good luck whatever you choose to do

Trickster

December 31st, 2010
6:17 pm

Did DOB resign er sommin ?

news

December 31st, 2010
10:13 pm

Lee just signs with Nationals

news

December 31st, 2010
11:49 pm

Sorry about that Lee signs with Orioles not Nationals………..

Happy New Year..Carroll, DOB and all Braves Fans.

David O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
1:55 am

Did DOB resign er sommin ? — Trickster

We’re going to go with b., sommin’.

Also known as my last week of vacation for 2010, and using it or losing it.

Happy New Year to everyone. They’re getting ready to shoot fireworks from the observation deck of the Space Needle out here in Seattle.

Billy

January 1st, 2011
10:29 am

Tjhook this is for you. Kinda lengthy, but focus and learn.

Cincinnati Bengals beat writer, Mark Curnutte, after nine seasons, is leaving the beat to do “general assignment/enterprise” stuff “with a concentration on social issues.”

I feel intellectually stagnated and burned out by the 24-7 requirements of an NFL beat. I’m worn out by chasing dead air – comments made by Bengals players or a coach on ESPN or a radio station in Los Angeles or Atlanta.

Curnutte generally conveys his experiences, his frustrations, and an “epilogue” in his final, yet personal, piece on the Bengals beat. For as long as I’ve done this blogging thing, I’ve referenced my share of his pieces. It was information. Information. I didn’t need someone to confirm my own opinion; which is to say a point of view that I don’t share with commenters on that site, nor with others unrelated.

Constantly under fire for limiting, if not totally disavowing, opinion, his beat was primarily focused on providing you with information. Injuries. Practices. Game recaps. Interviews. Dorks like us take it from there.

Being able to define the difference between a beat writer, and a columnist, is critical; if anything for one’s own sanity. Expecting opinion, rather than fact in all other subject matters, spoils what’s written. If there’s a political issue, covered by a “beat”, that formulates an opinion somewhere on the fifth paragraph, uproar by the opposition is often screamed, and the true context, the stuff that’s actually fact, gets grouped with opinion; often disregarded. Fans of either CNN or Fox News easily represents this. Slant, spin, are often descriptions by the opposition. Sports is different. Too many people are relying on the opinion of guys like Curnutte to confirm their own. Trust me, if you rely your opinion on ANYONE else, much less a beat reporter, then the problem isn’t a guy like Curnutte.

To a degree, I’m defending Curnutte from the shotgun blasts pointed at him. Why? I’ve always known what to expect. Facts, information, etc., that helps dorks like me succeed; formulating an opinion based on the relevant information that’s presented. Without Curnutte, or the position that exists like Curnutte’s, then we’re in the dark. Constantly. Guys on the beat discover the information, while guys like Dustin Dow (who we also really like for different reasons) fails to get the answer due to representations of a question that stirs emotions and outbreaks. That doesn’t help us, even if we giggle for no reason other than having a non-coach speak world, if only for a day.

Guys like Paul Daugherty exist to fill that need for readers; to formulate an opinion, make others feel better that their opinion is in the majority, and the uphill battle against those that oppose your opinion is few, limited and easy. Yet, ironically enough, when your opinion is in the minority, you’re energetic, strong, and aggressive. Paul’s done that, walking to the beat of slamming the Bengals front office (all of which expected, and appreciated). Often times, you might not like his opinion, but that’s not the point. It’s his job to provide one.

If Curnutte did the same thing, I’d read him less. At some point, I just want to be informed. Not reacting to what I’m reading; I never learn that way because I’m too busy countering the biased slant. Same thing applies to Hobson. Though, ironically (if not hypocritically), I’ve admitted several times that Chick Ludwig is my favorite; successfully walking the line between beat, and a blog solely representing opinion.

Think of it like this. Blogs gained momentum and popularity based on one thing. Blogs were the alternative to the mainstream media. Many people started acknowledging that the “opinion” represented by the mainstream media, shoved down our throats, became too suffocating. Why? Because opinion was thought to skew the facts way too much. We questioned it. Some claim a devious undertone worldwide conspiracy. Others are simply looking for alternatives, a new medium. Blogs exploded, talk radio dominated. Not because the information was there, rather it was darkened with a slant, and we all knew that the slant was there. It made us angry. Based on whatever view you hold, the alternatives were growing. Are still growing. And will grow furthermore.

In the end, with a beat writer, I just want facts. I have my own opinion and have saturated these very pages with it for three years, and the three years before that at BengalsZone. And the five years before that on my old site with my name. I highly appreciate different opinion, for the love of the debate, with the acknowledgment that I really don’t know everything. Keeping balance is critical, being open minded is everything. And I’ve shifted my opinion based on what you guys have said on the comments before. There’s no reason to expect it won’t happen again. Growth depends on it.

My only point is this: there is a difference between a beat writer and a columnist, if such discrepancies remain difficult to separate. The beat writers are there to inform; the very foundation of journalism. I’ve never taken to it myself, because I like spreading my opinion like some spoiled brat. But it’s not about me. Never is, nor was. It’s about the topic. The information, dissected and opinioned upon. We don’t complain about what’s written; rather categorize it, absorb it, and reflect it. The beat writer is done, information presented. Opinion follows; not from the original writer, rather columnists and blogs, or simply in the form of bar room banter.

In our case, it’s about the Bengals. We slam the Bengals when they play poorly. We praise them when they fulfill our most basic expectation: a win on Sunday. We’re critical of the front office for failures that we feel restrict the overall product. Opinion is our job — as fans. We exist because of it. We’re alternatives, we’re unique. Any relative blog that exists, never exists without the information. Otherwise, we’d sound like trivial and petty blabbermouths that are simply uninformed. Readers typically see that. Read less. Move on to something else. Find the alternative. We’re not here to inform you; that’s where the beat comes in. We’re here to react, if not stimulate you, and ourselves. We’re here to paint a picture of the information, why it’s good, bad, or really bad.

While I won’t rank him amongst the best or worse beat writers in the history of newspapers, Mark Curnutte did serve a basic need. He provided information, passed that onto you, so then you could formulate an opinion. If you needed an opinion, then seek the alternative. Seek Daugherty, a blog, a discussion forum, or better yet, formulate it yourself. After all, it’s always about growth. It’s always about the information.

tjhook

January 1st, 2011
11:15 pm

Ok, Carroll, I understand the sensitivity to the name misspelling (it’s yours) and a Duke alum is familiar with excellence, but the sensitivity to my statement is beneath you professionally. I’ve read your work as far back as the Macon Telegraph and I found it fluffy then. You do honest work, but you have not consistently pushed for a greater perspective. You have unique access to venues and people most of us only hear of or see from a distance; people like you create the frame for what images we have of our sports heroes.
Carroll, for you and your long-winded acolyte Billy, I used the term Perspective! Not yours, but of those outside the Braves organization. I realize that as a beat writer, the Braves are your focus, but outside opinions provide balance to events. The success of national sports magazines and programs validate this.

tjhook

January 1st, 2011
11:27 pm

So Carroll (with two r’s and two l’s), I will ‘pick’ on you some more. The Braves have not been to baseball’s championship series in a decade; when we talk about the team’s level, wouldn’t it be nice to hear from other teams’personnel in some of your upcoming blogs. Having opinions who have captured baseball’s biggest prize or at least came in second (Phillies, Astros, Giants, etc.) it would add more levity other than getting the latest musings of the Braves’ organization. Now, you can be sensitive or sensible. I just offered constructive criticism – at least that means I want to be interested in what you write. So lighten up and to your supporters RELAX!!

The barber

January 2nd, 2011
9:11 am

Only bespectacled Craig I remember was a lefty named Craig Skok – diggin deep here – seems like in the 1980’s

Joey

January 2nd, 2011
9:47 am

I hate to quote that obnoxious Techie, m, but, “thank God and Greyhound” Bobby (not Chan Gailey) is gone . . .

tjhook

January 2nd, 2011
1:15 pm

I have met Craig McMurtry in recent years. He is the head baseball coach for a junior college in Texas. Enjoyed talking 80’s Braves ball with him. Note: He gave up Barry Bonds’ first major-league home run.

Trickster

January 2nd, 2011
6:31 pm

Did you ask McMurtry why he sucked and why his career was so short ?

tjhook

January 2nd, 2011
6:50 pm

braveshoo

January 3rd, 2011
7:13 am

To DOB and Carroll: I know its the end of the year, news is slow, and people are on vacation. However, I just want you to know that I read the AJC every day specifically for their coverage of the Braves who have been my favorite team since 1990. Even a short blog every day to get the fans going would be helpful. I just wanted to let you know how much you are appreciated, and how much we look forward to your new blogs.

jim

January 3rd, 2011
2:19 pm

tjhook

Do you really think someone from another organization is going to give you a candid opinion about the Braves or any other opponent? Managers, coaches, and players learn very early to speak in platitudes and keep any controversial opinions to themselves. What do you want the Giants or Phillies personnel to tell you about the Braves? [They'll be tough. They got a good pitching staff. They have such a good tradition; we respect them. A lot of their success will depend upon how Chipper is able to come back from his injury.] Is there any of this type drivvel that we haven’t heard here before? I don’t know what you do for a living, but I expect you would resent an amateur wannabe to lecture you on what you need to improve your job performance!

SpankAlbaBootyWithBelt

January 3rd, 2011
3:05 pm

I like Venters and Kimbrel, they will do well.

Don

January 3rd, 2011
3:05 pm

lol at that name

Rio Bravo

January 3rd, 2011
5:12 pm

The Brave Young Man will Excel and the future looks good my Friend!……….Arriba!

tjhook

January 4th, 2011
5:20 am

Well, Jim, I write stories and take photos as a member of the Army Reserve. If you google 215th MPAD and hooker you can find stories I wrote while in Iraq and once you read this you can google my name and Army to see more stories I’ve contributed while on duty. I’ve served in Iraq twice, by the way. I also have a degree in English; I didn’t know I needed a pass to do anything but defer to a sportswriter.
Anyway, I believe my efforts professionally have given me the right to openly desire a little more from the AJC’s sports staff.

double

January 4th, 2011
1:05 pm

Chef TD Think we got enough Real Deal’s.Hope these Braves can handle the Philadelphia Pain Pills.

bobbymahlon

January 6th, 2011
1:54 pm

When this kid is on nobody can hit him. The only thing that concerns me is when his control is off he can have problems. I hope in time he will have better command of all his pitches.

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