Opening day is here, and the Bravos are excited

WASHINGTON – With the Philadelphia Phillies limping to the starting line this season, four-time National League East champions looking a bit vulnerable, you might think the Braves would place utmost importance on getting off to a fast start.

You know, in order to build an early lead on the division rivals.

But that’s not how they’re approaching it. The Braves enter their season opener Thursday (1:05 p.m.) against the Washington Nationals both confident and realistic, knowing the race is a 162-game marathon that won’t be decided in April.

“It’s hard to even really talk about any other team,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “We want to get off to a fast start for ourselves. We’ve just got to focus on what we can do and not worry about the Phillies or anybody else.

“We just have to take care of business as it comes.”

Derek Lowe (16-12, 4.00 ERA in 2010) goes for his third consecutive opening-day win against familiar foe Livan Hernandez (10-12, 3.66 ERA) at Nationals Park in the first game of the Fredi Gonzalez era.

Gonzalez is the Braves’ new manager and Dan Uggla is the new slugger in a lineup that features Martin Prado at the top, McCann and surgically repaired (and seemingly rejuvenated) Chipper Jones in the middle, and Jason Heyward as arguably the best No. 6 hitter in baseball.

“I’m excited,” said Uggla, who was traded from Florida to the Braves in November and signed a five-year, $62 million extension before playing an inning with his new squad. “We’ve got a really good team, and I feel like we’re ready to get this thing going.

“I’m just ready for the games to start to count. Ready to flip that switch.”

Uggla hit just one homer in spring training, but is known for mediocre (or worse) springs. Like he’s known for remarkable consistency during the regular season.

He averaged nearly 31 homers and 93 RBIs in five seasons with the Marlins, and hit more than 30 homers each of the past four when Gonzalez was his opening-day manager.

Gonzalez expects Uggla to be Uggla, to flip that proverbial switch now that it counts.

Whether he and the Braves come blazing out of the blocks, or stumble a bit the first week or two, or play at a level somewhere in between those, McCann said the important thing to keep in mind is the long haul and one word: consistency.

Spoken like someone who spent the past five-plus seasons with Bobby Cox as his manager.

Even if the Braves were to sweep the Nationals and the Phillies were swept by the Houston Astros in their opening series, McCann and other veteran Braves know it would not signify that some new course had been set.

“I think in ’07 we went into Philly and swept an opening series, then we struggled,” McCann said. “It’s about consistency for six months. You don’t want to have that one really bad month. Just stay consistent throughout the year.”

Those ’07 Braves swept an opening series at Philadelphia and started out 7-1 and 24-12, then went 60-66 the rest of the way and missed the playoffs.

Conversely, the Braves started out 8-14 last season, including a nine-game losing streak through April 29. They went 83-57 the rest of the way, led the division for three months, and hung for the wild card despite injuries to key players including Jones and Prado.

“Now, everybody is healthy and ready to go,” said Prado, whose All-Star season was interrupted by a broken pinkie, then ended in late September by a torn oblique muscle and hip pointer.

Prado was switched from second base to left field to accommodate Uggla, whose right-handed power was a component the Braves had tried to add for several years. Prado would prefer to play the infield, but he made the move without complaint.

He saw the damage that Uggla wrought upone the Braves when he was slugging for the Marlins, and now Prado is as excited as everyone else to have him as a teammate.

“I’m always excited [about a new season],” Prado said. “Every time I break camp with 25 guys, just having the same goal and being on the same page, it’s always exciting.”

But with this team, he feels a little extra twinge of excitement about the possibilities.

“I feel good about this team,” he said. “I’m not going to just put a lot of rainbows in everybody’s head, but I’m just trying to be realistic and I tell you, I like what I see. I like what we have now.”

So did McCann, who sensed a little different atmosphere as opening day neared.

“Everybody’s leaving healthy, our pitching’s healthy, and the excitement around here is pretty high,” said the five-time All-Star catcher. “We just kind of want to build off what we’ve been doing the last couple of years, keep winning ballgames.”

202 comments Add your comment

CaptainMudderland

March 30th, 2011
7:30 pm

Just Pat

March 30th, 2011
7:37 pm

Don’t CARE about being first HERE at all!

Chief Knockahoma

March 30th, 2011
7:39 pm

Time to bring the teepee back out !!!

CaptainMudderland

March 30th, 2011
7:47 pm

Seriously…great to read the positive notes regarding our Bravos…I too, am excited to see the games start and our opportunity to challenge the Phillies once again–obviously I expect more out of this Braves squad this season.

Freddie Freeman

March 30th, 2011
7:47 pm

Freddie is ready for opening day dinger.

Just Phat

March 30th, 2011
7:52 pm

mark

March 30th, 2011
8:02 pm

Why is Chipper listed as DTD already in Fantasy Baseball? Are they just assuming the inevitable or is something really already wrong?

Herschel Talker

March 30th, 2011
8:11 pm

Thank God for Fredi G!!!

Thank God we no longer have that retard running the show every night!!!

THIS IS OUR YEAR!!!

B0b

March 30th, 2011
8:16 pm

Herschel Talker is a bum.

Dennis Reynolds

March 30th, 2011
8:28 pm

Prado is the man.

Dennis Reynolds

March 30th, 2011
8:29 pm

I hope we can get Omar back next year. Realistically though, he’s too good to be a utility player. Im excited to see what he can do with 162 games. Even though its with the Marlins….eh.

mike

March 30th, 2011
8:35 pm

Herchel, not a single manager in baseball would have gotten the Braves into the playoffs last year except the one who did it. That roster, before and especially AFTER the injuries wasn’t a good team AT ALL. The Braves may or may not win more games this year than last, but if they do, it will be because the roster is better and the team stays healthy, NOT because someone else is in the dugout.

Bigwheel

March 30th, 2011
8:42 pm

Hershal Talker needs to show a little more respect to ‘retards’!

There on April 8, 1974

March 30th, 2011
8:42 pm

A lot of young talent on this team… Can’t wait to watch them start producing… Can’t wait to watch the Phillies continue to fall apart… physically that is. And the Mets… What a joke… Their fans are still the biggest @-holes in baseball… Love to see them flounder…

Bill

March 30th, 2011
8:47 pm

Most excitement this year that I can remember..New Mgr,some new players and great pitching..play ball!

Biff Pocoroba

March 30th, 2011
8:48 pm

Put me in coach!!!

bja

March 30th, 2011
8:55 pm

I have tried this before and got no answer.Bobby Cox is credited with 25 hundred and four wins as a manager.Yet these idiots don’t give him credit for one of them.If he did not win those games,will some body please tell me who did????????.I would like to know who did !!!!!!!One of the three or four best managers of all time.

bja

March 30th, 2011
8:58 pm

Please,someone tell me who won all of those games’
gorver

rc35

March 30th, 2011
9:07 pm

I’d be a lot more excited if the Braves had scored a few more runs in their last few preseason games. We scored only four runs in four losses to the Phillies, Mets, and Twins, and had to come from behind in the ninth to salvage a single game of the last five. If the point of Spring Training is to get into fighting shape, we must be trying to lull the NL East into a false sense of superiority.

David O'Brien

March 30th, 2011
9:24 pm

rc35, I wouldn’t worry too much about lack of runs in recent games. Everybody was ready to be done with spring training a week ago.

By the way, the Red Sox lost 10 in a row until they broke the skid a couple of days ago.

NRBQ

March 30th, 2011
9:29 pm

I’ve waited impatiently for 20 years to open a season without the nose-picking, wife-beating, game-day bungler in the dugout. Fredi, please be your own man.

Coach (2011 and Fredi G. a GO!)

March 30th, 2011
9:34 pm

Yep, we are all ready to get this new era under way. But it’s not already without controversy.

Four things I’ll disagree with right out of the gate.

1. Huddy deserves to start tomorrow, period.

2. Fredi should name his closer instead of verbally going with both Venters and Kimbrel.

3. Prado is the better defender than Uggla. They should be playing opposite of their current positions. Not to mention that Prado’s inexperience in LF will be an issue early in the season until he gets his feet wet.

4. Our lead off hitter really isn’t a lead off hitter but our Braves don’t have what would be considered the prototypical lead off type. Prado is the best we have at the moment.

Other than the above, everything else is good to go.

Greene Hornet

March 30th, 2011
9:40 pm

I just hope the Braves play hard and play well overall in all of their games. Wins will come and losses too, but as long as I can come away from the game saying they left it all on the field, then I am happy. I love the Braves and will be there as much as I can be. I’m hoping it will be another playoff run. So much talk one way or another about the Phils, Braves, other teams who will or will not be in the hunt… time to show it on the field. Let’s go Bravos!!!

Cody

March 30th, 2011
9:41 pm

DOB – Last year on opening day you had probably your best blog post ever that got me fired up even more for baseball season. You working on another one for tomorrow?

bravofan

March 30th, 2011
9:44 pm

Anyone know where I can get a skip caray Braves win Braves win ringtone ?

Rawdog

March 30th, 2011
9:52 pm

Can’t wait to see all the ex-Braves who are on the Nationals roster like LaRoche and Ankiel. Werth walk off slam to win it tmo. Chipper sprains his neck watching the ball sail over the fence, DL for next two weeks. Heyward strikes out 4 times looking, then he too goes on DL with “groin” issues.

Steve

March 30th, 2011
9:59 pm

Good job Dave! Lets do this thing! Are you going to put out your predictions for MLB for the season?

Gumby

March 30th, 2011
10:15 pm

Thanks Dave. Your blogs have me ready for the season to begin and more excited about this one more so than in recent years. Can’t explain that. Maybe it’s the youth movement, maybe it’s seeing Chipper working hard to come back (BTW loved the interview with him), maybe it’s seeing McCann firing up what is him team now, maybe it’s Fredi. Maybe it’s just freaking baseball and the Braves!!!
Keep up the great work.

Bravo Nam

March 30th, 2011
10:18 pm

The Bravos are looking good. A great, well-rounded line-up. Probably my biggest concern is their infield defence, given the shaky recent history of our infielders and the fact that four of our pitchers tend to be groundballers. I like the fact that we’re flying just under the radar of the Red Sox and Phillies. The Sox have a scary line-up with Crawford and Gonzalez, but I think there are question marks hanging over their rotation (a lot can go wrong there), while the Phillies bullpen is mediocre and their line-up is questionable, placing considerable pressure on their vaunted pitching group.

Transplant brave

March 30th, 2011
10:18 pm

Please someOne tell me the Braves are national televised tomorrow. ?

RRRRRR

March 30th, 2011
10:19 pm

Watch the fielding this year…it’s their achilles heel.

SportsRadio PD

March 30th, 2011
10:20 pm

Prediction; Braves score early and often, Lowe holds Nats to 3 or less, then bullpen makes it interesting, Braves 8 Nats 6. Go Braves!!!!

Joshua

March 30th, 2011
10:20 pm

“Yep, we are all ready to get this new era under way. But it’s not already without controversy.

Four things I’ll disagree with right out of the gate.

1. Huddy deserves to start tomorrow, period.

2. Fredi should name his closer instead of verbally going with both Venters and Kimbrel.

3. Prado is the better defender than Uggla. They should be playing opposite of their current positions. Not to mention that Prado’s inexperience in LF will be an issue early in the season until he gets his feet wet.

4. Our lead off hitter really isn’t a lead off hitter but our Braves don’t have what would be considered the prototypical lead off type. Prado is the best we have at the moment.

Other than the above, everything else is good to go.”

1. I’d rather have Hudson starting the home opener against the Phillies than a road game against the Nats…oh wait he is.

2. No, he shouldn’t, because we don’t know who would be more effective in that role at this point.

3. Prado is in LF because he can play left field…can Uggla? We don’t know – he never has. Wouldn’t Uggla’s inexperience in LF be a far greater liability than is Prado’s?

4. We were the best team in the league from the time Prado starting leading off until the time he went on the DL. That counts for a lot more than what anyone thinks a prototypical lead-off hitter is.

Basically, your post was really bad.

richbrave

March 30th, 2011
10:37 pm

“We just have to take care of business as it comes.”

“We gotta’ play ‘um one day at a time.”
“I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ballclub.”
“I just want to give it my best shot and the good lord willing, things will work out.”

“I know it’s boring.”

billmaier

March 30th, 2011
10:45 pm

bja the most dominating pitching staff in the history of baseballwon those games it amazing they did not have more wolrd series a yankee fan told mne that the braves had a much better team in 96 that the yankess but torre outmanged the great booby in every aspect of the game in the series- i had to agree

billmaier

March 30th, 2011
10:55 pm

maddux, glavine, smoltz, avery, neagle, millwood my grandmother could have manged those teams to as many wins and probably more–bobby was a great player manger and got the most out of his players, but his poor strategy and outright stupid decisons leave him very short of being named the the greats top 3 or 4 come on now– he blew the playoffs to the giants last year with his jerking kimbrel with two outs and a one run win, playing melky at all, and insisting on playing conrad at second and third — bobby is not among the greats becuse he was one of the poorest strategist in the game– and his loyalty to certain player cost uds dearly, greg norton, melky, jeff bennett to name a few.

Rufio

March 30th, 2011
10:56 pm

What the Braves need to do this year is beat the crap out of Washington every series. The last 3 seasons Washington has had the upper hand for no good reason. Division winners alway beat up on the week teams and are competitive with the good or equal ranked teams.

Bobby Cox will be missed. The Braves had a great season last year by winning 91 games last year. The last month a starter went down every 3rd game it seemed. We lost 3 one run games in the playoffs. Can you imagine what it would have been if Chipper,or Martin Prado was around for the playoffs ?? Losing Wagner was huge……….No other team in baseball would have played their hearts out for any other manager in the league. I am sorry Freddi G would not have gotten them in the playoffs last year. Last year was all for Bobby Cox and that says a lot in professional sports. That is called respect.

billmaier

March 30th, 2011
11:19 pm

freddi g would have beat the giants in those one run games, he would have not let conrad play in the field, would never had played melky would neer had let him pitch hit for diaz in game 5, and he would have never had jerked kimbrel with two outs and turn a one run win intoa one run loss. it is funny how the only game we won the bench coach was manging and let kimbrel pitch two innings- something bobby would never had done and palyed diory and third in the last inning. i am sick and tired of hearing how great bobby was when he made some of the most stupid strategy moves in the history of the playoffs- charlie liebrandt- to kirby puckett when puckeet owne dhim witha lifetime 625 batting average over the years even the braves announcers many x questions some stupid decisons– let it be booby is god and thank god he is now we can win gasmes we should win– bobby’s era is over and our future is much brighter than our past witha lot motre playoff wins and a lot more w.s rings–

moboman

March 30th, 2011
11:24 pm

Melky Cabrera

March 30th, 2011
11:33 pm

You guys are gonna miss me. Just wait.

HornLeg HornFog

March 30th, 2011
11:35 pm

mark…..I noticed the same thing you said in your 8:02pm post about The Dipper being listed DTD (day-to-day) in espn’s fantasy baseball contest.

I think that the people who run the espn contest wanted an “out” for explaining why they have The Dipper rated so low when it comes to how much it costs to have him on your roster (he’s ranked 21st among all ML third basemen).

Only 1.5% of the contestants have picked The Dipper on their fantasy team. That’s more telling than any of the fluffing that the Atlanta Press has been lavishing on The Dipper.

big o

March 30th, 2011
11:38 pm

Come on yall let’s not ruin opening day talking about the past although I feel your pain. I like this team but as B-Mac said it’s a long season. I really think we will win the division. I also think just as last year our team will not be the same in Sept. I’m working from the crib Thurs to watch the game. Thank God for technology. Go Braves !!!!!!

HornLeg HornFog

March 30th, 2011
11:42 pm

mike….the Braves made the play-offs over the years DESPITE Booby Cox…not because of him.

The Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl in 1995 DESPITE having Barry Switzer as head coach…not because of him.

I’ve been a Braves fan long enough (since 1982). I’ve seen Booby Cox mismanage play-off game after play-off game (just look at his decision to take out Kimbrell in the 9th inning of Game 3 against the Giants last year). As soon as he brought in Dunn to pitch to Huff…I knew that it was BALLGAME.

I’ll reserve judgment on Fredo (until he has the cojones to drop The Dipper into the 6th spot of the order and elevate Heyward to the 3rd…..I wont call him by his given name).

@tlanta braves fan

March 30th, 2011
11:44 pm

So glad the baseball season is here. I cant wait for the home opener against the phils…It feels like the braves are about to have a real good season

DC Brave

March 30th, 2011
11:46 pm

Man…just as Carroll waters every eye in the place with the Freeman piece DOB brings this…what a great piece to start the season with…so much more to this team than the usual baseball cliches that come with the first game of the season.

The vibe is one of a drawn bow string with a nocked arrow…in the words of Patton I almost feel sorry for those poor SOBs who have to go up against this bunch. The intensity of Uggla and Prado alone…holy smokes.

HornLeg HornFog

March 30th, 2011
11:47 pm

NRBQ……dude, you had me rolling over laughing with your 9:29pm post.

I always get a chuckle when these so called “family values”, “high character” so called Braves fans get on their high horse and rip a Barry Bonds or A-Rod for their mistakes…..however Booby “I make O.J. look like a whimp” Cox is a hero in their eyes, lol.

Talk about irony and selective memory.

DaveinNEPA

March 30th, 2011
11:49 pm

@billmaier

Even though your post was somewhat tough to decipher, I do have to agree with you.

I live in the northeast fairly near to Philly and NY and have been watching this game for well over 50 years and I believe that Bobby was a very poor tactical ingame manager. If Bobby had managed in Boston, NY, or Philly, the fans and media would have run him out of town many years ago. He was a good handler of personalities and players, I can’t deny that, but during the game itself, he made a lot of bonehead moves.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what Fredi brings to the table during the games. I’m hoping this team plays more small ball instead of waiting for the 3 run homer that seldom materalizes. I think this is a really good team that can go far with the right hand guiding it.

DC Brave

March 30th, 2011
11:50 pm

FogHorn…dude….just go away.

Carolina Gent

March 30th, 2011
11:53 pm

I said this when Fredi was announced and I’ll say it again now (tongue planted firmly in cheek)… FIRE FREDI!! ! Now, when the bloggers out there rush to claim FIRST (who cares??) I will already have it, Twice!

Mitchell

March 30th, 2011
11:54 pm

It’s almost better that we lost Chipper, Prado and Wagner because we can say to ourselves that had they been healthy we would have beaten the Giants when the fact remains Bobby singlehandedly cost us the series and it would have happened one way or another.

Really the biggest loss was Wagner because he probably would have shut the door in Game 3 and even Bobby Cox would have had a hard time trying to blow the series at that point.

(Of course, back in ‘02 with a far superior team against the same opponent in the same 2-1 situation, he found a way.)

But then again, looking back at Game 3, Brooks was still in the field playing the 9th inning, which he should never have been, so the chances of something going horribly wrong were still great even with Wagner potentially on the mound.

Anyway, sometimes you have to take a step back and remind yourself “He’s gone.”

It’s all better now.

Except, Tim really should be starting tomorrow, not Derek.

Other than that, play ball.

Bobby Cox

March 30th, 2011
11:54 pm

You’ve got to tip your cap to those guys. They played a heck of a game.

Matt

March 30th, 2011
11:54 pm

Wanted to post this for the late night crowd. DOB’s article from last year’s opening day. It was brilliant. Something to get us even more excited for tomorrow.

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/04/05/baseballs-beautiful-marathon-begins-today/

Chop Chop

March 30th, 2011
11:54 pm

The positive BS doesn’t mean anything. We’ve seen plenty of great clubs in this town over the last twenty years. It’s put up or shut up time in the postseason, correct? Yes, so all the positivity in the world isn’t going to win over the fans who are accustomed to winning baseball and playoff failure.

DaveinNEPA

March 30th, 2011
11:55 pm

Sparky Anderson once said that “a good manager won’t win you any games, but a bad manager can cost you a lot of games!”

DC Brave

March 30th, 2011
11:56 pm

DaveinNEPA…seriously? Revered by players and managers alike…respected by Tony LaRusa, Torre, and every other manager in the game…and going to the HOF on the first ballot. But you are one of those dudes who just knew who Cox should have pitch hit for or just knew when he should have pulled that pitcher aren’t you? But what you fail to comprehend is that by sticking with his guys Cox got a lot more out of them over the course of 162. That was his genius. And if you can’t get that after watching the game for “50 years” then maybe you should move to Europe and become a fan of the English premier league or something. Seriously.

RHR

March 30th, 2011
11:57 pm

So sad I’ll be in class and will do good to sneak a peek on the mlb at bat app every now and then. Ohhh that reminds me, I gotta get my fantasy starters set. GO BRAVES!

Bobby Cox

March 30th, 2011
11:57 pm

DC Brave, you are incorrect. I sucked it up in the post-season year after year. But I did do a great job of tipping my cap to the opponent.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:00 am

Bobby Cox…that is where you are wrong. You drug a bunch of teams to the post season that wouldn’t have made it there under other managers…

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
12:02 am

billmaier…totally agree with your 10:45pm post. However, many on here cant see that. They forget the base running blunders from 1991. They cant remember the bungling of the pitching staff in pretty much every post season.

In the regular season, a manager can cruise by on talent alone. However in the play-offs, the Braves were outmanaged time after time.

Mitchell

March 31st, 2011
12:04 am

I am sorry Freddi G would not have gotten them in the playoffs last year. Last year was all for Bobby Cox and that says a lot in professional sports. That is called respect.

Very true. We finally saw what that team was capable when they all had a common cause.

They played their hearts out for him and for that they were repaid by being totally screwed over in the playoffs.

Eric Hinske’s homerun last year was like almost nothing that had ever been seen in Turner Field in the playoffs. All the Klesko’s and Sheffield’s and ever other probably roided up supposed slugger we had over the years who were counted on to come through in the clutch, never came close to anything like that.

And next thing you know it’s 3-2 Giants.

That’s Bobby Cox.

Jay Dubu

March 31st, 2011
12:05 am

Looks like the game is going to be rained/snowed out tomorrow.

LT200

March 31st, 2011
12:08 am

I cannot believe that it is 2011, The Braves are getting ready to start the season with Fredi Gonzalez as the manager and everyone seems perfectly happy to bi*#h about Bobby Cox. Get over it people! He is gone and blaming him for playoff failure is only looking in the past. Let’s look to the future and hope that we can have another 14 years of playoff baseball. Some people need to seek professional help for all the complaining they do about Bobby. Geesh!

Bobby Cox

March 31st, 2011
12:08 am

“Eric Hinske’s homerun last year was like almost nothing that had ever been seen in Turner Field in the playoffs. All the Klesko’s and Sheffield’s and ever other probably roided up supposed slugger we had over the years who were counted on to come through in the clutch, never came close to anything like that.”

Except for Francisco Cabrera in 1992 NLCS. Don’t get me wrong, though, I did my best to lose that series and tip my cap to the Pirates.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:09 am

Foghorn…dude, seriously, how many times is DOB going to have to bozo you? Bobby can’t run the bases for Lonnie, and check how Charlie Liebrandt had done against Kirby the previous at bat. Dude…your not a fan. You are a Phillistein. And let’s face it…you aren’t even the best dude on your beer league softball team and your team mates quietly wish you’d quit so they wouldn’t have to see your overweight frame shuffling over to cover first base anymore.

Rufio

March 31st, 2011
12:15 am

Charlie Liebrandt ??? That was 20 years ago… let it go. The Braves would not have been there had it not been for Bobby Cox putting together the farm system that created the teams of the past 20 years.

I guess you weren’t around in the 70’s and 80’s (except 81 and 82) when the Braves were a joke. Of course, 81 and 82 were Bobby Cox teams that Joe Torre got to manage. We have had winning seasons for 20 years not many teams have had that consistency.

His Braves teams since 91 have averaged .571 winning percentage. He has averaged 92 wins per season and that includes the shortened season in 94 which the Braves only played 114 games and some say was the best Braves team ever and were robbed due to the players strike. If we extend out that season on the same percentages as it ended he would have averaged 95 wins per season. Maybe Torre has come that close. Then you have all those Pennants and World Series appearances.

The most important thing is he was a class act and he and Schuerholz have built an organization that Atlanta can be proud to call it’s own.

It will be interesting to see where Freddi G takes this team in 20 years. If his record is the same as Bobby Cox. I will happily take it ! I have been a Braves fan for 35 years now and the past 20 were much better I promise you and that was because Bobby Cox was the Leader!

.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:16 am

Perhaps the AJC techs could take a page from the Yahoo message board. Users can choose to ignore other posters on the MBs…maybe it is time to make users do some kind of formal registration. That way when they get ignored, they’ll have to put extra effort into assuming a new identity.

Mitchell

March 31st, 2011
12:20 am

I do very much believe that the Braves probably wouldn’t have kept their streak alive for the final two years without Bobby Cox.

He’s also a big reason why Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux stayed together as long as they did.

Consistency counts for a lot in life but usually in sports you don’t often have the luxury of achieving just what you are capable of and little more and still have job security.

For the Braves to come out every year and publicly state their goal of winning the World Series and then not make a change at some point when that goal kept not being met, it really makes you have to question their committment to the excellence they aspired to.

The Braves had the chance to set themselves apart as one of the greatest teams of any sport over the last twenty years and are now going to proudly hang a wild card banner a week from Friday?

Kinda sad.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:20 am

I’m with you Rufio…I can’t believe this one raging lunatic seemingly bent on destroying the board.

I hope Freddi G gets to put in 20 years. Stability in the dugout is a good thing. The revolving door of managers and coaches for the Mets has helped stunt that team’s growth.

I am more excited than ever to see this team lace up the spikes…these are hungry, blue collar workhorses that got a taste of it last year. Can’t wait to see where we are at in July. My guess is that we are going to win a lot of 3-2 games over Philly.

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
12:21 am

DaveinNEPA…..totally agree with your 11:49pm post. Most of these lackeys on here would never last as sports fans in a real town that has passion….as well as the heart to question those who make mistakes running their teams.

Fans in New York and Boston LOVE their teams. Yet they are not afraid of ripping management or players when warranted.

I cant imagine a real reporter in New York letting Booby Cox get away with one of his patented “uh, we hit it right at them” or “he threw great pitches that they hit” or “the balls they hit had eyes” or “those were some tough plays to field”…when explaining why our pitchers couldnt get anyone out, our hitters couldnt hit. or our fielders making error after error.

Hopefully, the Atlanta Press will decide to hold Fredo accountable, which will push him to be an even better manage. Having to explain why you made a move or went with a player…..should not be viewed as a bad thing.

However, given the way that the Atlanta Press has totally ignored questioning the wisdom of not having Heyward batting 3rd…..I wouldnt count on these lackeys every waking up. After all, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Mitchell

March 31st, 2011
12:21 am

Except for Francisco Cabrera in 1992 NLCS.

Except I said Turner Field.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:23 am

Mitchell = Foghorn…and just in case you really do think of yourself as a Braves fan, well, if you are so disappointed to see that wild card banner up there then i guess we can all count on you to turn your baseball attention elsewhere. Maybe Seattle. Wait I got it…I hear the Seibu Lions are pretty good, maybe you could go pull for them.

Bobby Cox

March 31st, 2011
12:26 am

“Except I said Turner Field.”

My bad (tips cap).

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
12:28 am

DC Brave………….you have the right as a so-called Braves fan to be content with seeing the Braves do well in the regular season while coming up short in the post season.

Real Braves fans like myself, billmaier and DaveinNEPA will continue to want to see the Braves put out a team on the field that will not only do well in the regular season…but also EXCEL in the play-offs.

If Booby Cox used smoke and mirrors to managed inferior Braves teams over the years to make the play-offs only to get beat by superior teams…then I would have no problem with calling him a great manager. I would not fault him for our failures in the play-offs.

However, Booby kicked back and managed SUPERIOR Braves teams into the play-offs….only to mismanage the Braves out of the play-offs by INFERIOR teams.

We call it like we see it. With superior talent, we expect great things. So called Braves fans like you are content with coming up short with superior talent.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:28 am

OK….so foghorn = Mitchell = DaveinNEPA. Now it is the press’s fault? That’s right…if only we had some rude, obnoxious, yankee reporters that could come on down here and show us all how to “hold the manager accountable.” Right. You know…you are starting to show your true self. You simply ain’t from around here are ya boy? I bet you do like your reporters up there in Philly don’t you?

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
12:34 am

DC Brave,……..your 12:00am post is laughable. I followed the Braves religiously over the years. I cannot remember any year that we made the play-offs….where a team better than us missed out.

I challenge you to name one team during the 14 straight division titles….that we beat out in our division…that was better than us? Name one.

It’s amazing that posters like you can make “Booby Cox drug a bunch of teams to the post season that wouldn’t have made it there under other managers…” comments……yet go unchallenged by other so-called knowledgeable Braves fans, lol.

All I’m asking is for you to NAME ONE (of the 14 division winners, plus last year’s wild card) that we beat out that was better than us. Are you up to the challenge (it’s amazing what can go for a “challenge” on this blog, lol)?

Then again, I’m not exactly dealing with Mensa on here am I, lol?

DaveinNEPA

March 31st, 2011
12:35 am

When this team consistently lost in the postseason to clearly inferior talent, (93,96,97,98,00,02,and 03) there was only one common denominator and that was Bobby.

If that happened once or twice it could be attributed to the “crapshoot” of the current playoff structure, but that many times, it’s because somethng was lacking at the top.

Talent always rises to the top over the course of 162 games. This team consistently had one of the best if not THE best starting rotation ever assembled. For the most part, the bullpen was decent if not spectacular and the hitting and run scoring was always there. How did it all get derailed? Once again you have to look to the common denominator. Nuff said!!!

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:37 am

MitchyDave FrogToad…OK…I’ll call it like I see it….and what I see is some fat dude who never sniffed a jock in a locker room who is bitter and jealous….somebody who gets his kicks by reaching round his beer gut to type whatever venomous drivel he can come up with while waiting for Saturday, which is your best day of the week because it is LARP-ing day. Have a nice one chump…

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
12:39 am

DC Brave…….A manager’s job is to teach his players how to play the game..manage the game to the point of putting his player’s in the best position that they can excel in.

Booby Cox had what you could call “The Anti-Midas Touch”. Only Booby would turn a sure victory into defeat.

I would LOVE to see a manager manage his talent properly. Maybe Fredo will convince me that he is indeed Fredi Gonzalez.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:45 am

ToadMitch FrogFat–the common denominator is that it was all just baseball. The postseason is always a crapshoot…otherwise we’d be watching the Yankees in the Series every year.

Baseball is kind of like war. I know a thing or two about war. In war no plan survives first contact. Same goes for baseball. You never know what’s going to happen during the moment after the moment the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. But you can plan…and you can react…you can trust the guys around you to do their best and then you can do your best. I choose to believe that is what Bobby did. He wasn’t perfect…but who is?

I’m hitting the rack buttercup. PT comes early in the AM. You should try it sometime.

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
12:46 am

DC Brave……”You cant handle the truth”. The truth hurts you. Instead of dealing with reality, you want to see anyone who has the nerve to expose the truth to you…banned.

I bet that you’re one of those same people who said that it was unpatriotic to question President Bush……yet you villify President Obama and question every decision he makes.

Here’s a news flash for you pal……part of what America so great….is that it’s citizens exercise their rights to not only question our leaders…but expect GREAT THINGS from them. The same thing can be applied to our sports teams. It’s the job of a real sports fan to both QUESTION and Demand GREATNESS from both management and the players.

When our political leaders, sports management and players fall short and mess up…..it’s our job as citizens, voters and fans to hold them accountable.

Yet you cant see that. Well, the next time you think about how America evolved over the past 200 plus years……when you see how American sports has evolved over the past hundred years…..think about what transpired during that time.

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
12:51 am

DC Brave….I would not be “disappointed” in a Wild Card berth last year…if that was all that we were capable of. If we didnt blow games 3 and 4 in the NLDS….then I would have been content with the Wild Card.

However, we should have beaten the Giants last year. We should have beaten the Twins in 1991, the Blue Jays in 1992, the Yankees in 1996, the Marlins in 1997, the Padres in 1998 and the Giants in 2002. Booby Cox mismanaged all those winnable series.

I do no think that a real fan can be happy with settling for a Wild Card berth….when he knows that his team should have achieved much more.

DC Brave

March 31st, 2011
12:52 am

Dude…Frogfat…the funny thing is that you actually seem to think people care about what you think. Tell me something…do you hear Pomp and Circumstance playing while your typing that drivel? LMAO at you bro. Once again….you betray your lack of understanding for the game of baseball. The past is just stats. The beauty of baseball is the next pitch….and the knowledge that there will always be a next pitch, until there won’t.

I’m going to bed…but I will rest easier knowing that FatFrog MitchDave is on the job…holding the Braves accountable, and demanding greatness.

A-Ville Ranger

March 31st, 2011
12:58 am

Lots of potential and lots of questions going into the season. JJ nees to be the JJ of 2009 and Hanson needs to add a little something to his fastball, If he can put some real pop and movement into that fastball it could make him a rare top of the order pitcher. His setup pitches are all world..

Chipper needs to give us 130 or so QUALITY starts. We also need somebody to come through in the outfield with big offensive numbers. Of course Freeman could make a big difference if he matures into a guy who can give us . 100 rbi, 25 hr and an OBP of .380 or so.

I take it for granted Prado will make the trasition to of seemlessly and give us solid numbers at the plate.Heyward needs to live up to the expectations and give of all around all star quality play.

We could do all of these things and still play for the wildcard, Philly could be that good. Who cares though ? Just get back to the post season realatively healthy and take our chances.

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
1:01 am

DC Brave…..I’ll take comfort in knowing that I wont give up using this forum in an attempt (even if it is in vain) to push accountability when those in position to do so (like David O’Talentless One) fail to do so.

I love the Braves. I want to see them win. Some on here would rather be loyal to The Dipper and Booby Cox…over being loyal to the Braves chances to win.

The ironic thing is that if given the choice of either seeing Bobby Valentine manage the Braves to a World Championship with A-Rod play 3rd base…or having Booby Cox lose again in the play-offs with The Dipper playing 3rd…..these same so-called Braves fans would rather be loyal to the wife beating manager and the player who got a Hooters waitress pregnant, lol!

Family values, southern style, lol! What else can you expect!

Pee Wee's BIG Adventure

March 31st, 2011
1:04 am

You ass clowns don’t realize that we have no proven closer. No lead will be safe. I bet the ‘pen blows at least 10-15 games this year costing us a playoff berth. Every other viable playoff team has a proven closer whose role is well-defined. We have a bunch of 7th and 8th inning horses and that’s it. I saw Rocker at the gym and he looks bigger, badder, and angrier than ever. I bet he drinks his own piss to stay tough as nails. I would gladly take him over any of the other 5′10″ closer wanna-be’s on our roster.

DaveinNEPA

March 31st, 2011
1:05 am

Amazing, just amazing. The poster (DC Brave) who called for an “ignore” button has to resort to name calling and personal attacks when his “agenda is met with logic and respectful answers.

I’m all for the ignore button too. He’d be my first candidate!!

HornLeg HornFog

March 31st, 2011
1:10 am

DaveinNEPA….the thing that you have to understand about many southern sports fans, it causes them great pain to have to listen to reason. They have a need to have heroes to worship (even when those heroes could care less about them).

As a fan of the team (yes, I know the team doesnt care about me), I root for the team to do well…..because i want to see my team (the Braves) win games and compete for a championship.

Rednecks talk about family values…yet they are the first ones who will come to the defense of a wife beater or philanderer.

DaveinNEPA

March 31st, 2011
1:17 am

HLHF

It’s not just the South. We’re overrun with idiots and asshats up here in the North too!!!

curtis cleveland

March 31st, 2011
1:35 am

Great Post. I think the Braves are going to make some serious waves this year. They have all the right pieces and an excellent balance of veteran and youth. With Heyward healthy and Freeman a solid pick for NL ROY, plus Hanson and co. I see a division title in the future.

I write for a baseball blog out of Canada – http://canadiancorn.blogspot.com/ – feel free to check it out. It’s nice to read your stuff, thanks

JORDAN

March 31st, 2011
2:36 am

i made a braves blog yall should check me out let me know what you think

http://jordanhbraves.blogspot.com/

Rufio

March 31st, 2011
4:14 am

Bobby Valentine???? That master in disguise is so in demand at ESPN that all the MLB teams are afraid to hire him. I will take the last 20 years of Bobby Cox led Braves over the Mets 20 years any day

The funny thing is you base your arguments on the premise of winning the World Series. Schuerholz has said it is their goal to win the division and see what happens in the playoffs.

My opinion is the Braves spent the money on the pitching staff rather than having another big bat in the offense. Their theory works over the season it does not work as well in 5 game or 7 game formats.

The other things the Braves do is make money by setting budgets and goals. This keeps an entertaining team that attracts a loyal fan base and advertisers to spend money. In August Ted turner’s ego and checkbook is missed.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

AnOldViolin

March 31st, 2011
6:18 am

Gonna start out fresh with the New Look Braves and give them the support they deserve, but I won’t sit back this year and sugar coat my comments if they fall into the old routine of swinging at balls, and taking strikes. If they don’t hit this year I’ll be forced to admit that TP wasn’t the problem. As for Bobby, I think he did the best he could, but with the teams he’s had in Atlanta, he should have brought home at least 3 more championships…..3 Cy Young pitchers and you can’t win the big games…..too much Golf, to little rules and too much dead weight allowed to stay too long…..Go Braves, and let’s all enjoy a great season…….Prado will lead the Braves this year……..

Rick

March 31st, 2011
6:49 am

If one of those 3 Hall Of Fame pitchers had been a closer , we probably would have 2 or 3 more World Series titles . In other words , if Mariano Rivera had been on those Braves teams , Bobby would have the same number of titles that Joe Torre had .

Bobby only had one ironclad closer and that was only for a year or two – Mark Wohlers – and Bobby got his one title before Wohlers went bad . Smoltz was an ironclad closer but moving him to the bullpen weakened the rotation and was robbing Peter to pay Paul .

jc

March 31st, 2011
6:52 am

does anyone from the ajc use spell check?

just sayin'

March 31st, 2011
6:55 am

new year…new expectations…new opportunities…looking forward to a great season…go Braves..

Jobo

March 31st, 2011
6:56 am

does anyone from the ajc use spell check?

On blogs…NO

Liviania Armedice Geuztizez

March 31st, 2011
7:04 am

I ready for bayball……

Old Braves Fan

March 31st, 2011
7:05 am

I use spel chek

Let's Go

March 31st, 2011
7:21 am

Dave
Looks like a lot of rain moving in the direction of DC. What’s chances it holds off and they are able to get the game in?

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