Somebody must think the Braves are going to be pretty good, because Sports Illustrated just slapped them on the magazine cover.
Wait, is this good news?
Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward can be seen smiling on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. The headline reads: “The Boys of Spring. Only 21, Freddie Freeman And Jason Heyward Are The Cornerstones Of Atlanta’s Brave New World.”
Let us hope this turns out better than the S.I. cover in August of 2005, when Jeff Francoeur was pictured holding a bat, with the headline reading: “The Natural. Atlanta Rookie Jeff Francoeur Is Off To An Impossibly Hot Start. Can Anyone Be This Good?”
And then we found out. Also, the Sports llustrated “cover jinx” has become rather infamous through the years.
But I’ll take the Freeman-Heyward cover as good news for the Braves.
Here’s an excerpt from Ben Reiter’s story, “Brave New World,” which focuses on their age (21) and their friendship:
That 21 equals adulthood would no doubt come as news to the scores of Americans of that age who at this moment are contemplating which rumsoaked location might host the best spring break. But neither Freeman nor Heyward has any doubt that they have reached the age of maturity, and neither does their organization. “If you put a screen in front of them, and you couldn’t tell who was on the other side, the way they talked to you, you’d think these guys are 27- or 28-year-old men,” says Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Assuming Freeman makes the Opening Day lineup, they will be the third- and fourth-youngest regular position players in the majors—only Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro and Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton are younger—and they will become the Braves’ first pair of 21-or-under regulars. Those bits of trivia are of no concern to Wren. “When you’re talented, I don’t think anyone’s going to ask for your birth certificate,” he says. “The umpires don’t card.”
The S.I. cover story may make some nervous. But wouldn’t you agree high expectations are better than low expectations?
By Jeff Schultz