If Braves send message to Phillies, it will be done nicely

The Braves and Philadelphia meet for the first time since last year's final regular season game, which the Braves won to make the playoffs.

Braves and Phillies meet for first time since 2010 finale, when Atlanta won to make playoffs.

The Braves and Phillies don’t conjure up thoughts of a great rivalry, probably because the teams generally involved in great rivalries usually have a certain degree of contempt for each other. They think the other brags too much or whines too much or is too arrogant or is just kinda dumb.

Do you ever get that sense when the Braves and Phillies meet?

“We have a healthy respect for the Phillies,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.

“I think of them as a model club,” Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro said.

Group hug.

The 1 and 1A of the National League East Division meet for the first time this season in Friday’s home opener at Turner Field. It’s chapter one of 18 for the mutual admiration society.

It seems difficult for Braves’ fans to work up a good hatred for the Phillies. The problem with the Phillies is, they’re just good. They’re not really obnoxious when they win. They’re not all that much fun to mock when they lose.

They almost don’t belong in Philadelphia. Maybe somewhere closer to Lancaster, with the Amish.

Little did the Braves realize after this division-clinching win over Colorado in 2005 that it would be their last East title for a while.

Little did the Braves realize after this division-clinching win over Colorado in 2005 that it would be their last East title for a while.

When the Braves were battling the New York Mets for the N.L. East, that defined a rivalry. Chipper Jones loved tormenting the Mets and their fans so much that he named his son Shea. (Jones was a career .313 hitter with 19 home runs at Shea Stadium. When it was demolished, it was a wonder he didn’t hold a candlelight vigil.)

When Tom Glavine went to New York, the reaction was, “Of all the teams, he signed with the Mets?” But when Glavine went 9-14 with a 4.52 ERA in his first season as a Met, it was much funnier than if he was a Brewer.

Even Wren, who’s not one to take shots at opponents, contrasted the Mets’ rivalry with the Phillies. And he put it so nicely: “I would say in our head-to-head rivalry with the Mets, the teams were not as mutually respectful as in this one.”

Why?

“I just think it always was the tone. I don’t know why. It predated me, starting back in the ’90s. There was a little additional animosity there.”

The Braves won 14 straight division titles, the last nine coming after realignment moved them from the West to the East. The Phillies have won the last four. The Mets had one sandwiched in between in 2006 — kind of like the off-ramp connecting two interstates.

Nothing will be decided this weekend, any more than the results from the Braves’ first week of games in Washington and Milwaukee mean  they’re going to be a .500 team (being two-hit by Yovani Gallardo in Milwaukee was not on anybody’s radar). But even Amaro said, “It’s a great gauge for us as far as seeing where we think we stand against the elite clubs in our division. We play each other so many times that there’s no surprises, but obviously both clubs have made some changes. We understand it’ll be a difficult series. They understand it’ll be a difficult series.”

The Braves are 18-18 against Philly in the last two seasons. They won the regular-season finale at Turner Field last year to win the wild card berth. They would rather not make that a habit.

They will officially unveil a wild card banner against Philadelphia, but that doesn’t nearly carry the same weight as if they were unveiling a division title flag. Actually, it’s a little strange, given the team that beat them out will be in the other dugout. The Phillies also have stolen a page out of the Braves’ past by building one of the greatest starting pitching rotations in history — Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt — possible positioning them to extend this streak of division titles for years. But the Braves probably have a better lineup, with the Phillies missing the injured Chase Utley and departed Jayson Werth and the Braves adding Dan Uggla. Amaro acknowledges Atlanta’s bullpen probably is better.

“They have some great young arms,” Amaro said.

“They are the reigning division champions,” Wren counters.

Not expecting a bean ball war.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

143 comments Add your comment

Tep

April 7th, 2011
3:29 pm

JSS

April 7th, 2011
3:39 pm

Well, we know that mutal respect doesn’t extend to the blogs! And infantile trash talk starts in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

JSS

April 7th, 2011
3:39 pm

“mutual”

Luke

April 7th, 2011
3:44 pm

I usually want to give Ryan Howard hugs on a daily basis.

T-Bone

April 7th, 2011
3:49 pm

Personally I hate the Phillies.

dawgsfan1990

April 7th, 2011
3:57 pm

Ph*** the Phillies.

Juan

April 7th, 2011
4:03 pm

I would’ve expected an obnoxious blog if this was from a Mets blogger, so as a Phillies fan I can acknowledge a mutual respect.

Chris

April 7th, 2011
4:03 pm

I’m sorry, but this entry is way off… Every Braves fan I know absolutely hates the Phillies and everything they are about. They’re the Yankees of the National League. Philadelphia has the worst fans in all of sports. The Braves/Mets days of the 90’s might have been grittier, but don’t think for one second the Braves/Phillies rivalry of this decade is all fun and games.

kenny b

April 7th, 2011
4:05 pm

I can’t hate them as much as the New York team’s espn of course think the only 2 teams in the american league is Boston a–holes an the New York pri-ks

Brotherly Love

April 7th, 2011
4:05 pm

You had to get in the comment that “they almost don’t belong in Philadelphia”. What are you trying to say? BTW, I lived in Lancaster and people there are not any friendlier than in our great city. Everybody has to be a hater……lets see, Atlanta…..the Tomohawk Chop….really? Isn’t that racist? Also, John Rocker, Mickeal Vick (pre-philadelphia), 1996 Olympic Bombing…..plenty of incidents you could name that might have nothing to do with the people of Atlanta, but could easily be mistaken to be so. We in Philadelphia are sick and tired of the abuse we take for being “the worst fans”, when we are actually the best and most loyal fans (see stats from Facebook). We travel well and always support our teams, win or lose…..just because we don’t like losing and we boo doesn’t make us bad people, it simply means we are passionate. Isn’t that the true definition of a phan? And for the handful of idiots that get into trouble now and again, every city has them….LA for instance leads the country in beatings after games over the last 5 years. Cleveland throws bottles on the field, Detroit has melees in the crowds between players and fans, etc. So Mr. Schultz I would greatly appreciate that you refrain from insulting the fans of Philadelphia in the future and report on the games.

Kashi

April 7th, 2011
4:11 pm

Freeman should bat 7th. Have Alex back him up. Freeman isn’t getting any good ball to bat at 8th hole and this being a first year, it is looking aweful for him.

KC Frenchy

April 7th, 2011
4:22 pm

Would have been ok to split with Brewers if ump didnt blow the call at the plate Wed. night, Fredi didnt raise enough stink, replay showed McCann taggged him, a shame to lose on a blown call

Joe Tess Fish House

April 7th, 2011
4:27 pm

WOW….Braves R loosing…Again. This is what hapens win U hire a loosing managar with a loosing record. I no you heard me say this B 4

Joe Tess Fish House

April 7th, 2011
4:31 pm

How stoopid R the Braves? Why hire a managar with a loosing record?

Guess what? They loose again. 4 – 2

Joe Tess Fish House

April 7th, 2011
4:32 pm

At this rate, Braves will be 40 games out of fist place at teh all star brake.

Kyle

April 7th, 2011
4:36 pm

Loosing 3 out of 4 to the Brewers and really shouldn’t have won the one they did……You can say it is the first week of the season if you like but I hardly think the Phillies are going to have to give a second thought to this bunch like I thought they might have a week ago.

braves

April 7th, 2011
4:38 pm

they cannot beat the worst team in the league, how can they send a message to the best team in the planet? Oh yeah, braves sux.

10,000 losses and we still care

April 7th, 2011
4:38 pm

Phils and Braves are too far apart to have demonic hatred for each other.
Besides, ATL people care more about NASCAR and college football than 14 division titles.
It’s almost like the Braves should be in Milwaukee instead of Atlanta.

Matt

April 7th, 2011
4:40 pm

loose vs. lose. joe went to a goverment school didn’t he?

Matt

April 7th, 2011
4:41 pm

Shoulda focused on the Brewers first. Many pick them to be in the playoffs this year and we just dropped three of four… Time to right the ship against another playoff caliber club.

Joe Tess Fish House

April 7th, 2011
4:41 pm

Matt I am hear 2 talk Braves. No need 2 pick on me. U got sumtin 2 say about the Braves then say it oterwise but out.

Matt from MN

April 7th, 2011
4:41 pm

The Braves need to worry about themselves and not the Phillies. It’s been an underwhelming start to the season and “McLousy” needs to go right now!

Matt

April 7th, 2011
4:42 pm

Kyle,

The Brewers are a playoff caliber club.. I don’t think it’s that awful to lose three of four to them, it will happen, but we must rebound tomorrow. Come on Huddy!

PMC

April 7th, 2011
4:44 pm

At the moment I’d settle for a few wins.

ab initio

April 7th, 2011
4:45 pm

The only message these bums will be sending to the Phils, is that if the Phillies’ pitchers throw anything that bends, they will flail away like drunken women in a mud wrestling contest. These bums just can’t hit a lick.

Portcity

April 7th, 2011
4:45 pm

The Braves/announcers should have been more focus on the Brewers series than Philly. Hitting looks the same as last season. They can hit against the average pitchers, but have problems with good pitchers or pitchers they are facing for the first time. Inconsistent offense.

The Grinch

April 7th, 2011
4:46 pm

We have a healthy contempt for the Mets, sure, but “hate” against a team like that is perhaps too strong. What have they done to deserve enough of our attention for “hate?” It’d be like hating a kid with Down Syndrome; that’s just cruel.

One thing I DO hate is the unveiling of this Wild Card banner. We made endless fun of the Mets for being pathetic enough to do it, and now we’re playing the Mets to the Phillies’ Braves (yes I know that’s an awkward sentence) by renewing our rivalry this way right in front of them. That’s just straight up ammunition for any low-life Phillies fan or sportswriter to bring up anytime they want and we can’t refute it. What in the world were the PR people smoking when they came up with this idea? Epic fail.

Brotherly Love…really? A Phillies fan coming on here and telling our sportswriter what he should and shouldn’t write for Braves fans? That’s rich. I’m sorry your feelings were hurt that that mean old Schultz mentioned the same thing about Philly fans that everyone else in America does. If you want to change the stereotype you have to do it from within. Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.

Memphis

April 7th, 2011
4:46 pm

OMG the sky is falling. The end of the world is coming! After the first week of the season maybe we should call up our whole Gwinnett roster and let those guys play. Uggla sucks, Chipper sucks, Prado sucks, Mccann is awful, Freeman is garbage, Gonzalez shouldn’t start, our bench sucks. Damn people give it a rest.

Tucker T

April 7th, 2011
4:47 pm

“They almost don’t belong in Philadelphia. Maybe somewhere closer to Lancaster, with the Amish.”

I can see all the players coming out of the dugout with long Amish beards. That would be awesome.

Joe Tess Fish House

April 7th, 2011
4:47 pm

I disagre ab. The Braves bigest problems is win they hired a managar with a loosing record. He dont no how 2 win. Now is si spreading that mess 2 the Braves.

braves

April 7th, 2011
4:48 pm

braves are playing like girls.

Swaga1

April 7th, 2011
4:48 pm

I don’t understand how anyone can blame Freddy G for the braves not hitting. Freddy calls the shots but the players have to go out and perform and as of now the only people that are performing is the pitching staff. We lost 3 out of 4 to a Brewers team that didn’t have all of their players. we made their pitchers look like the phillies pitchers and chipper has the nerve to say they’re getting their feet wet as an offense….that was a bunch of BS….you had over a month of spring training your feet should be all in by now.

ab initio

April 7th, 2011
4:50 pm

Joe Tess, this team is sleepwalking. There’s only two players in the lineup even remotely close to .250 and Fredi can’t do anything about that except move these bums around.

Swaga1

April 7th, 2011
4:53 pm

and I’m already predicting that Freddie Freeman will be back in Gwinnett soon. He looks clueless and aweful at the plate. I understand it’s the first week but the offense looks lousy and these guys should have lost the 1st game of the milwaukee series as well. Lets hope the phillies take it easy on us this weekend. Our pitchers can’t throw shutouts every time out guys we have to score runs.

Mitchell

April 7th, 2011
4:57 pm

I definitely respect the Phillies as a team. I don’t really like their players individually but it’s hard for me to say I really hate the Phillies as a whole.

I thought the Braves were better than them at this time last year and I was almost right in predicting they would win the division but until the Braves actually step up and take it, there’s no real rivalry.

Personally, the team that his risen to the level of Met hatred of years past is the Giants.

There’s some serious revenge in order from both teams.

Bruce Mac

April 7th, 2011
4:58 pm

Braves are already sending message to the Phils. Here is the message “Take it easy boys, we are all hat and no cattle”. Hanson, Minor, and Beachy wow, those Phillies are shaking in their boots.

ab initio

April 7th, 2011
5:02 pm

I admire the Phillies as a team. They are a reflection of a management and ownership that is going to any lengths to put fans in the seats and win ballgames. The Braves are treading water; have been doing so for years; and, it appears that shooting for the wildcard is the best that management can target. Agree about Hanson, Bruce Mac. He’s a bust. Hasn’t learned a thing about pitching since the Braves called him up.

NorCal Brave

April 7th, 2011
5:07 pm

I still think the offense will prove better than last year, but the message we got from the Braves in spring training was they were ready and couldn’t wait to get regular season started. Other than Chipper and Mac, that hasn’t been the case. So far, this does not look like a team that will put any pressure on Philly. This weekend’s series suddenly looks bigger than it ought to.

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 7th, 2011
5:11 pm

The difference in a .250 hitter and a .300 hitter is one hit a week. 5 for 20 as opposed to 6 for 20. At this stage in the season, your average can easily go up or down .50 points, in a day.

DawgDad

April 7th, 2011
5:13 pm

Pitching is not really the problem, offense is the problem. The Braves were a streaky offensive club last year and they’re picking up right where they left off, in a down streak.

I wonder which will last longer, Heyward in the six-hole or the manager penciling him in there. His OBP is being wasted ostensibly because McLouth offers superior speed in returning to the dugout after making another out in the two-slot.

ab initio

April 7th, 2011
5:19 pm

Sure, Hillbilly Deluxe, I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. But the division has improved in its pitching, and the Braves haven’t done enough with their offense to offset that. Nate McClouth is not a good part of any sample size no matter how anyone looks at it.

LY

April 7th, 2011
5:27 pm

Your columns have been awful lately. No insight, no real opinion, no new information, nothing. I cannot believe you get paid to do this.

Matt

April 7th, 2011
5:31 pm

How can you criticize the Phillies fans when it seems you guys haven’t had a sellout in years.

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 7th, 2011
5:39 pm

Pitching nearly always dominates hitting, in April.

Rock Star from Mars

April 7th, 2011
5:41 pm

Heres the message….we cant hit, we dammn sure cant field, and our pitching is really suspect.

Einsteindawg

April 7th, 2011
6:08 pm

Please relax folks…it will take a little while for our players to respond to a real hitting coach (I thought you learned this in the minors). TP was a great player, but unfortunately, a sorry coach. We’ll be fine.

Stinger2

April 7th, 2011
6:10 pm

Like noses, everyone has an opinion. So be it. Bottom line: Bloggers opinions mean nothing. Braves start 3-4 on the road. Why panic? The Boston Red Sox have not won a game yet. Calm down Braves fans and get a life.

clay

April 7th, 2011
6:10 pm

i dont know if its just me, but it seems like the braves start this way every freakin year. I know its just the first week but wouldnt you like to see them be 6-1 or 5-2 putting up some offense. The offense is the same as it was last year. Perfect example was today 10 hits 2 runs. with that many hits you should have atleast 4 runs. It is just frustrating because it seems like no matter who you put on this team it turns out the same exact way. we get on base but cant knock anyone in. we scored a total of 8 runs that whole series agianst 2 guys that are not even that good. like i said though they still have 155 games left so……..

The Grinch

April 7th, 2011
6:12 pm

Matt, nobody criticizes their habit of ticket purchase…just everything else about them. You can have a loyal customer at your bar that’s still an obnoxious jack@$$; doesn’t always make it a net gain.

grammy

April 7th, 2011
6:12 pm