Welcome to Jason Heyward’s landing zone (wear a helmet)

Parking spaces on the left are within range of Jason Heyward's bombs over wall on the right.

The parking spaces on left are well within range of Jason Heyward's bombs over the wall on right.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Bruce Manno drove into the parking lot from hell Friday with a loaner car. His Toyota 4-runner was still in the shop with a crushed sunroof and a bent rack, which is what he gets for parking in Jason Heyward’s landing zone, about 425 feet from home plate behind the right-center field wall at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

“Yeah, he hit it good,” said the Braves’ assistant general manager, still thinking like a scout.

So why still park here?

“I guess it’s one of those things like, ‘It can’t happen again, can it?’” he said. “Besides, this is a loaner car. I’m thinking of parking on the other side now when I get my car back. We’ll see if we get the net up in time.”

I’m going to post a column later today on Heyward. Before doing so, here’s a little warmup. You’ve no doubt heard of Heyward’s  batting practice exploits. Several cars have been dented in the parking lot reserved for Braves’ front office employees, particularly over the past two spring, said general manager Frank Wren, thanks largely to Heyward and prospect Freddie Freeman (both left-handed hitters).

Braves' travel and equipment manager Bill Acree points to a dent on his Avalanche.

Braves director of travel and equipment manager Bill Acree points to a dent on his Avalanche.

Some time in the next few days, nets will be hung to partially protect the cars. Groundskeeper Ed Mangan took all of the measurements Thursday, Wren said.

“We’ve got balls even clearing this back well,” Wren said, pointing to a tall yell concrete wall that’s approximately 450 feet from home plate. “The real problem isn’t cars being hit in the back. We have balls that are bouncing off the wall and coming back and smashing windhields. [Director of player development] Kurt Kemp has had his windshield smashed twice.”

Bill Acree drove into a lot and pointed a dent in the back of his truck. “That’s not too bad,” he said. “I don’t know who hit it. I told them, we either need to trade Heyward or move the parking lot.”

And the answer?

“We’re buying the nets,” he said laughing. “I guess we’re a little reactionary, huh?”

Clubhouse manager John Holland also had a car dented but wasn’t overly concerned.

“You always know there’s a risk here,” he said. “But it’s not my car. The Braves provide it. If I had my own car, I’d be a little bit more leary of parking here.”

ALSO READ: Heyward doesn’t see why he’s such a big deal.

Earlier posts from  Braves’ camp:

The maturing of Yunel Escobar

Eric Hinske and his $5,000 tattoo.

♦ Derek Lowe looking forward after rough year and trade talk.

88 comments Add your comment

That guy

February 26th, 2010
9:24 am

EW

February 26th, 2010
9:25 am

JS your shadow looks pregnant

That guy

February 26th, 2010
9:26 am

That guy

February 26th, 2010
9:26 am

I posted a first! What the deuce is going on?

Ben

February 26th, 2010
9:28 am

first. rip ‘em heywood.

That guy

February 26th, 2010
9:31 am

Haha! the shadow does look pregnant!

Jeff, I enjoyed the Escobar article, but someone already wrote something about cars being damaged by Heyward.

Who might be a guy that could turn heads, and be an unnexpected player to keep track of in Mississippi or Gwinnett?

Jeff

February 26th, 2010
9:33 am

haha nice one EW

Blindog

February 26th, 2010
9:40 am

I have to admit,I’ve cussed Bobby plenty of times every year,but I want him to stick around and ride this wave of young talent to many world championships! You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,and trust me,we will miss Bobby.

Bristol Palin 2012

February 26th, 2010
9:42 am

I can’t wait to see this guy play. Jeff, what do you think his chances of starting in RF are?

Poorbrave

February 26th, 2010
9:42 am

Jason has already had three or four post about hitting cars. How about something new and a different player. I’m sure we have more that Jason and a Tattoo back in camp.

Ted M

February 26th, 2010
9:51 am

Jeff – did Escobar have a translator w/him yesterday? How is his english now?

Walker, Texas Ranger

February 26th, 2010
9:54 am

Bristol? pregnant Jeff? Lets practice some safe sex around here. I know it is just BP, but I hope he gets a fair shot to make the team and not wait until June to save a year cause we could be out of the race by then.

lanier

February 26th, 2010
9:54 am

Enough gushing about this Heyward. Wait and see what he can do against full speed major leage piching especially after June. My god he is basically hittin off a tee right now

.

February 26th, 2010
10:08 am

Blindog…name explains it all. Time for BC to retire after season.

C. Tampa Ironworse

February 26th, 2010
10:11 am

I hope this kid isn’t the “Segway Motor thingy” of baseball players. There’s no way he’s as good as everybody is saying. I hope he is…really. But there’s no place for him to go but down to “disappoint-ville”. Let’s allow him to grow.

shane

February 26th, 2010
10:12 am

JS your shadow looks pregnant

I think thats another guy standing behind him

GetwhatUpayfor

February 26th, 2010
10:17 am

Wake up Jeff.

ET.

February 26th, 2010
10:31 am

This love affair with being the first post on a new blog escapes me. If you really want a challange try being last on every blog. Now that’s a feat I can admire.

Virginia "old" fan

February 26th, 2010
10:32 am

can he hit the slider?

Rod Steiger

February 26th, 2010
10:33 am

Two points to make this morning. First, while we are aware that Heywards batting exploits have been against the coaches and their 60 mph fastballs, one wonders how far it would travle if it had been in the 95mph range? Just saying…

The second point being that Heyward has not shone to be a 5 o’clock hitter in his stops at A and AA ball so I doubt he will be when he finally arrives in the majors. That said, a BA of around .250 should be a reasonable expectation until he acquires the skill set to hit major league pitching. After all, it is for good reasons the pitchers he faced while coming up are still in the minors.

Rod Steiger

February 26th, 2010
10:34 am

To be honest, nobody can hit a good slider, it’s only the hangers that you see sail into the gopher garden.

Jeff Schultz

February 26th, 2010
10:51 am

EW — Haha. Actually didn’t notice that until your comment. And yes, I’m seven months along.

All I'm Saying...

February 26th, 2010
10:51 am

Seems to me it would be safer to park your ride right up against the outfield wall on the right.

As for Jason and Freddie: Everyone needs to leave them alone, relax, exhale, and remember what Hank said the other day: nothing matters until you do it in a real game at the MLB level and do it for awhile. The list is long of minor league phenoms, spring training wonders, and woulda/coulda/shoulda’s like Steve ‘Bye-Bye’ Balboni, Sam Horn, Hensley Muelens, Brad Komminsk, Tuffy Rhodes, Jeff Francoeur, etc.

Schultz: either layoff the post-game meal spread, wrap it up when you ‘get busy’, or wear some Spanx to slenderize that girlish figure as your sillouhette doesn’t do you proud in that picture (assuming its you).

LET’S GO BRAVES!

Jeff Schultz

February 26th, 2010
10:52 am

That guy — But NOBODY wrote from LIVE! in the parking lot. (And it’s too early to answer your question until spring games start.)

Jeff Schultz

February 26th, 2010
10:52 am

Bristol — Good. Plan on addressing that in column later today.

Jeff Schultz

February 26th, 2010
10:54 am

Ted … Escobar sometimes doesn’t use a player to translate any more for quick stuff, like right after a game or something. But for longer interviews, he’s not comfortable doing it in English yet. I understand.

Jeff Schultz

February 26th, 2010
10:54 am

Walker — Bristol and I both decline comment.

Jeff Schultz

February 26th, 2010
10:55 am

E.T. — Maybe you can start a trend.

Ted Striker

February 26th, 2010
11:00 am

I have some rum and cigars for his bat, if it’ll help with hitting the curve ball or the slider.

bruce

February 26th, 2010
11:01 am

its not my car….
sounds like the joke is Does your dog bite?… its not my dog.

That guy

February 26th, 2010
11:04 am

I retract the Damn! post. I would like to thank this boring internship I’m in for allowing me the opportunity to click into ajc.com every five minutes to try to be the first post in Jeff and Mark’s blogs.
Now back to looking productive.

r durden

February 26th, 2010
11:06 am

Is Brandon Jones in camp? Seems like he has fallen off the face of the Earth since a September call up a few years back. I remember a brief Braves lineup featuring 3 Jones! He was the most feared power hitter at Gwinnett for most of last season, is that his ceiling?

r durden

February 26th, 2010
11:07 am

Never mind…i see he was dropped for Hinske and claimed by the Pirates…. Guess the Braves gave up on him.

Delbert D.

February 26th, 2010
11:08 am

Well, we now know he can hit Babe Ruth League-quality pitching. If he hits 20 HR in the actual spring games, I say put him on the roster.

Jeff Schultz

February 26th, 2010
11:10 am

All I’m saying — There are a few spaces there but not many. That wall kind of juts out and goes back in. … And hey, I’m svelte!

This is totally out of line...

February 26th, 2010
11:10 am

…re: this “prospect” – he has never played in the “show” and you dumbarses are annointing him the next “Jeff Francour” – oops, not a really good comparison – probably the next Brad Komminsk – oops, still not a good comparison (bet Schultz probably does not even know who that is/was). Give the kid a chance….

Bravissimo

February 26th, 2010
11:26 am

Svelte huh?..must not be eating the chili fries and double cb’s @ DQ?

Speaking of DQ…Clusters..does your friend Stinky have anything to do with the smelly girl scout cookies?

Have you had a chance to watch Freeman yet? just curious what you thought.

ugaaccountant

February 26th, 2010
11:37 am

To the uninformed poster at 11:10 – Who are you yelling at:
Scouts?
Media?
Bobby Cox?
Chipper Jones?
Hank Aaron?
Braves management?

Nobody was ever saying the kinds of things about Frenchy that are said about Heyward. It is 100% his time to get a chance, stop hating on people for giving their honest assessment.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

February 26th, 2010
11:45 am

Nobody looked “better” striking out than Brad Komminsk…..

Kentavo

February 26th, 2010
11:46 am

You know what? At least people are excited and talking about the Braves. We’ve got the no. 1 prospect in baseball, people! Enjoy it.

squintyeyed

February 26th, 2010
11:56 am

are you kidding? Frenchy had all kinds of hype behind him. He, like Heyward if he makes the team, skipped AAA. Here is hopeing that he can be as god as Frenchy was when he first came out. We will see, I have high hopes.

atlpds

February 26th, 2010
11:57 am

remind me to never loan any of these guys a car. If it’s not theirs, they don’t care where they park it? have some respect.

Red Clay Hound

February 26th, 2010
12:00 pm

Jeff, I hope its twins that are breach. Ouch! Can Heyward hit the old uncle charlie?

CaliGirlinGA

February 26th, 2010
12:01 pm

Our son did that last week at his high school and a woman came onto the field yelling, “Who is responsible and who is going to pay for my window?!?” My son raised his hand and said, “I hit it but you’ll have to talk to the coach about getting your window fixed.” Haven’t heard anything yet, but I sure hope we, the parents, don’t have to pay for her broken window.

AZBravoFan

February 26th, 2010
12:07 pm

r durden:

Pirates claim OF Jones from Braves: The Pirates claimed outfielder Brandon Jones off waivers from the Braves on Tuesday. Jones had been designated for assignment.
(Updated 01/19/2010).

Spellchecker

February 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

John Holland says he’s “leary”? That like “leery”?

Spellchecker

February 26th, 2010
12:10 pm

Spring-training scoring on that goes “E Schultz.”

Cronan

February 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

L
E
E
R
Y

(that’s the word)

Gwinnett Fred

February 26th, 2010
12:13 pm

Translation:

“First!” really means “LOSER”

As in you are either unemployed or will be once your obvious work ethic is uncovered by your employer.

Seriously, some folks are entertained so easily!

Vinny D

February 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

Personally, I want to know how Troy Glaus is doing the spring. Not just defensively but how is he hitting the ball? He should be bustin some car windows out too.