Tim Hudson: Braves were too ‘passive’ in past seasons

Tim Hudson, who been the Braves' best pitcher this season, sees something in this year's team he hasn't seen before: grit. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Tim Hudson sees something in the 2010 Braves that had been absent. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

There’s something about sports teams that don’t impress you on paper but wow you on the field. It’s what made the story of the 1991 Braves so special. Well, that and just playing a meaningful game after Memorial Day seemed cool.

But for too many Octobers in the 1990s, the Braves seemed just the opposite: They impressed you on paper but not on the field. Some considered the team good but robotic, lacking passion. This year’s team is different. They are playing above their depth, certainly when you consider the “stars” who aren’t performing. We’ve all noticed it. Tim Hudson has noticed it.

In fact, the Braves’ pitcher had some remarkably candid comments late Thursday night following his win over Tampa Bay. While praising this year’s team for it’s passion and aggressiveness, he pretty much indicted Braves teams in the past few years for being “passive.”

Here’s a Q-and-A with the pitcher.

Question: You’ve been able to beat a lot of great teams in this stretch. What is it that stands out?

Answer: “On paper and out there on the field, I don’t think people look at us with a lot of fear. You know, ‘Gosh, here come the bombers to town.’ But I think after we play anybody and after somebody sees us for a while, they know that we’re no pushovers. The way we pitch. We love to play defense. We don’t throw away many at-bats. We’re a tough, gritty team. To be honest with you, that really wasn’t the personality of the Braves in a few years past. Now we have a little bit of a different personality on the field. I think it shows in the games that we play and the games that we win.”

♦ Question: How did that change?

Answer: “It’s amazing. You get a few pieces in here, and all of a sudden your team can take on a different personality. Whether it be from a couple of guys coming off the bench, keeping everybody ready. Or sometimes it’s just winning. That can change your attitude a lot, realizing you can play and win these kind of dirtball games.”

Question: In past years, did you realize at the time that the team wasn’t tough and gritty?

Answer: “It seemed a bit passive. It seemed a little bit passive and not a real aggressive type of baseball. You come in now and you’ve got guys who are really ticked off when they get out, really ticked off when they give up a run, really ticked off when they don’t do the little things to win. I’m not saying you have to tear down the dugout and tear down the bat rack and go nuts. But it’s nice to see somebody with a little fire up under him and not take it well.”

Some pretty revealing stuff. We’ve all speculated about this being a Braves’ problem in past seasons but it means more when a guy like Hudson says it. Do you agree with him?

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123 comments Add your comment

Hankie Aron

June 18th, 2010
8:38 am

J-MAN

June 18th, 2010
8:43 am

Big Hitter

June 18th, 2010
8:44 am

STONECOLD STEVE AUSTIN

June 18th, 2010
8:45 am

1eyedJack

June 18th, 2010
8:45 am

There you are.

J-MAN

June 18th, 2010
8:45 am

I did it yesssssss!!!!! First I wanna thank god, my mom and Al Gore for inventing the internet using twigs and stones in the Jurassic age. Thank you!!!!!!!!

STONECOLD STEVE AUSTIN

June 18th, 2010
8:45 am

GOSH!!! I WAS WAY OFF!!!

STONECOLD STEVE AUSTIN

June 18th, 2010
8:46 am

OMG CONGRATS J-MAN. COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EMOTIONS RIGHT NOW???

sawweeet

June 18th, 2010
8:46 am

last?

Great to see some grit

F-105 Thunderchief

June 18th, 2010
8:47 am

I wish Hudson had surgery three years ago, it really brought him back to what he had been. Tough, gritty and fiery. I like it.

leland

June 18th, 2010
8:49 am

And the gritty, emotional leader of the whole shebang? Yunel Escobar.

F-105 Thunderchief

June 18th, 2010
8:52 am

Off topic, but re: Derrick Morgan’s arrest – what is it with college football players that they can’t keep a current drivers license? Geez.

DJ

June 18th, 2010
8:56 am

In years past alot of players would say that we just stay at an even keil (probably not spelled right) but anyway i also think that cost the team. You have to play with emotion. If you strike out with runners on or in a key situation Im glad to see guys getting fired up maybe break a bat!! that shows that they care.

0-9 Kawakami

June 18th, 2010
8:56 am

why am i still starting for the Braves i am sure they could call someone up from triple A and get a better performance than they get from me,

Navigator

June 18th, 2010
8:56 am

The Braves of the past had the attitude that they had been there before, and frowned on emotion (BCox way), instead of being jubilant about wins and good plays. Cox and Mr. Cool are leaving so lets hope the next manager and team leader have some passion about what they’re doing out there.

DP

June 18th, 2010
8:57 am

I find Hudson’s comments to be complete nonsense. You can talk about grit and intangibles all day long, but the Braves started winning this year when Prado was moved to leadoff and Glaus started driving in runs.

And Hudson is also a big difference. He now looks like the pitcher he was in Oakland for the first time since he’s been with the Braves. I heard yesterday that prior to last night he had a 1-12 record with the Braves against American League teams. Was that a lack of fire or effort or whatever it is he’s talking about?

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
8:57 am

OK, we’re going to have to go to the video tape on first.

Jason Foster

June 18th, 2010
8:58 am

I would agree with Hudson’s comments. For too many years, the Braves seemed to lock into that notion that the playoffs are a “crapshoot,” the notion that says it’s up to the baseball gods whether you win or lose, that you can’t do anything to make your own luck. The business-like approach doesn’t really seem to work in the post-season. I remember Gary Sheffield saying one time that he was shocked to find the Braves didn’t get any more fired up for the playoffs than for a regular season game. I get the idea that “it’s just another game,” but it’s really not. I like the attitude of the current bunch, though.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
8:58 am

Stone Cold Steve Austin — I think you’re ready to replace Erin Andrews as sideline reporter.

J-MAN

June 18th, 2010
8:58 am

I also need to thank you stone cold…………. I mean when you came to the ring in a beer truck and sprayed The Rock and Vince down…….. Good times

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
8:59 am

Thunderchief — I’d like to know what the license was suspended for. Just multiple tickets?

Dawglasville

June 18th, 2010
9:00 am

I love Bobby. I’ve always thought that part of the reason the players love him so much is because he lets them play in their comfort (money) zone. I thought we didn’t steal or run a lot because of the risk of injury, the wear and tear on the body, and because it would force the big bats to do the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. He let them save their bodies and produce in ways that made for bigger contracts. We needed a Jeter during that stretch. Maybe we needed Bobby to push someone into being a Jeter. That said, I still love Bobby.

JSS

June 18th, 2010
9:00 am

Hudson said the following: “To be honest with you, that really wasn’t the personality of the Braves in a few years past. Now we have a little bit of a different personality on the field. I think it shows in the games that we play and the games that we win.” Mr. Hudson, it ain’t been a few years. Ever since the Florida Marlins you know what slapped the Braves out of the playoffs; this team has been as soft charmin! I’ve said nasty things about this team and its personality; however if they are now self-aware and leaving the Deer Hunter behind then “Katie Bar The Door!” Only that Charlie Liebrandt trotting out HOF manager might keep them from glory now…

@ Jeff Schultz…
Please go back and check out the last 8 or 9 comments on your Poll Time blog… Happy Father’s Day!!!

J-MAN

June 18th, 2010
9:01 am

Well this team needs to get to the playoffs first or this “New” attitude won’t make any difference remember last year we almost got in but in the end we might have well have been the Nationals.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:01 am

DP — I think Huddy’s comments are right on target. Never mind Prado moving to leadoff. It was Prado moving into the lineup, period. He’s the kind of gritty player Hudson’s talking about.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:03 am

Dawglasville — I know Cox often has been criticized for not playing enough “small ball” and being aggressive– steal bases, hit and run, etc. But I think part of that goes to the hand he’s dealt. This team hasn’t been blessed with a lot of speed in past seasons.

1eyedJack

June 18th, 2010
9:04 am

F-105 Thunderchief

Yeah. And shouldn’t he be also arrested for not having insurance? I mean don’t the two go hand in hand?

lanier

June 18th, 2010
9:05 am

Question Jeff; what do you do besides write 1 or maybe 2 blogs a day and a newspaper column. Dont get me wrong I think your stuff is heads and shoulders above the rest but you must have alot of free time
Yours must be a great job if it pays much.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:05 am

JSS — Hudson can only address obviously the teams he played on. I think we all know this was a problem throughout the 90s. And I’ll check out the “poll” comments. (Am I going to regret this?)

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:06 am

1-eyed Jack: Did he not have insurance? I didn’t read the whole story.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:06 am

Lanier — Free time? You’re kidding, right?

JSS

June 18th, 2010
9:09 am

@ Jeff Schultz
Hey, they out did me for vile, that’s saying something!

TONE

June 18th, 2010
9:11 am

No real speed since the days of nixon and prime time furcal was quick but not scary , oh yeah big SID would steal you a base once in a while.
Sid had deceptive speed he was already in his slide to 2nd before the other team believed what they were seeing

lanier

June 18th, 2010
9:12 am

Smart boy thats the answer

DP

June 18th, 2010
9:19 am

Jeff, where would the Braves be if Glaus was still hitting .200 like he did in April, and does the fact that he started hitting the ball have anything to do with the attitude and personality of the team? Where was all the attitude and personality earlier this year when the Braves lost 9 in a row?

DJ

June 18th, 2010
9:29 am

Jeff, did you see the reversed call between Houston and Kansas City?? Just read about it. How can the umpires reverse a call like that but yet the call that cost a pitcher a perfect game could not have benn reversed????

TrueDawg

June 18th, 2010
9:30 am

I have to give a shout out to Brooks Conrad. His play this year defines gritty and passionate. Just watching him lay down that punt last night on the first pitch, when everyone knew he was punting. He’s not the most gifted player, but you can tell he plays hard and works hard. The Braves are a better team with guys like that on the bench.

rekingball

June 18th, 2010
9:32 am

Prado, Hinske, Conrad, are 3 of the reasons for the reasons this team has finally gotten some personality.

DJ

June 18th, 2010
9:32 am

TrueDawg what down did conrad punt on??? LOL

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:33 am

JSS — It was more than “8 or 9″ comments. It was about 50. Thanks. Primarily between 2 chuckleheads, both of whom now share a jail cell on the banned list. This is why I went to J school?

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:34 am

DP — They were battling early in the year. They just weren’t playing well or hitting.

F-105 Thunderchief

June 18th, 2010
9:34 am

Yeah, JSS is right, those poll blog comments got really, really bad.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:35 am

Didn’t see it but I’m guessing it wasn’t the same umpire.

An Adult

June 18th, 2010
9:35 am

Hankie Aaron, Big Hitter and J-Man… glad you slipped away from your day care activities to surf the web, wait to sniff Jeff Schultz jock, and be FIRST… how embarrassing for you. Get a life and grow up! Comment but stop this childish behavior. But make sure you tell you Mommy and Daddy that you were first… maybe they would be impressed.. no one else is

rekingball

June 18th, 2010
9:35 am

Speed definitely helps, but you can still play hit and run, and squeeze plays with average speed aka small ball.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:35 am

TrueDawg — Conrad has to be one of the players Hudson is referring to. He defines “dirt” player.

Jeff Schultz

June 18th, 2010
9:38 am

JSS — You can be a flamethrower, like a lot of folks, and that’s great. But you know where the line is. Some people just don’t have that filter between their head and their finger tips. Maybe I need to start a 12-step program for recovering commenters.

Gumby

June 18th, 2010
9:38 am

I think Huddy is correct, or at least this team does have a fire like we haven’t seen since ‘91 when Ronnie Gant threw everything but the bat boy out of the dugout. I think part of it is team chemistry and timing though. This is a gritty team that believes in each other, believes in their manager and is starting to play up to their potential. I don’t recall ever seeing a player (Hinske) happily slapping his boss on the back for calling a squeeze? They are having fun and so am I just being able to take it in.

Sonny Clusters

June 18th, 2010
9:40 am

This team hasn’t been right since they cut off Ted Williams’ head. Imagine being a ballplayer and that becomes a trend.

confucius

June 18th, 2010
9:40 am

confucius say : the only people that complain about the FIRST ! competition are ones that have never won it
grasshopper !!!!