Bradley’s Buzz: Griffey, Frenchy, Knowshon, Vick and Kiffin!

So exactly what is it the Braves aren’t getting?

Ken Griffey Jr. — great guy, right? Not according to Gregg Doyel, who’s both a friend and a frequent contributor to these Buzz festivities. On CBSsports.com, Doyel tears into Griffey, calling him “unlikable” and “full of crap” for choosing to play in Seattle, which is 3,000 miles from the family on which Griffey claims to dote. Doyel also accuses Griffey of throwing a water bottle at him in the Reds’ clubhouse. (Griffey missed, prompting the eloquent Mr. D to write, “Gold Glove, my ass.”)

You’re free to agree or disagree with Mr. D’s opinion of Griffey, but I think we can all agree: As rips go, this one’s world-class.

As for Griffey the player … well, he’s not so hot, either. So writes Keith Law of Scouts, Inc. (I don’t know Mr. Law, but seeing as how I’ve linked to his stuff a half-dozen times now, I feel as if he lives next door. So, if you’re reading this, Keith: Howdy, neighbor!) Law believe Griffey has little left and thinks the Mariners’ move to re-sign him was “a cynical, insulting ploy to try to get fans into the park.” Whoa, Nellie!

So now you’re asking: Does anyone have sympathy for Junior? Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports does, in a wistful sort of way. He hopes Griffey as a Mariner won’t turn into Willie Mays as a Met, the memory of which remains among baseball’s saddest.

Meanwhile, back at Lake Buena Vista …

For all the teeth-gnashing Wren-bashing that has gone on this winter, you’d think the Braves have become the worst team in the history of baseball. I was beginning to think I was alone in my contrarian view, and then I came across a host of postings on FoxSports.com, which always does a nice job on baseball.

Ken Rosenthal was at Disney on Tuesday, and he left thinking the Braves look pretty darn good. In the pre-Grapefruit League power rankings, Fox rates the Braves No. 8 — no, not in the NL East, but in all of baseball. And yet another Fox nugget credits general manager Frank Wren as having had the fourth-best offseason — again, in all of baseball. And these assessments were written before the Braves signed Garret Anderson, which seems a much sounder acquisition than Junior Griffey would have been.

And now, for a contra-contrarian take, Ted Keith of SI.com quotes an unnamed scout as saying of the Braves, “I don’t think they’re that good a club.” But it should be noted that Mr. Keith — not to be confused with Keith Law, or Keith Richards, or Keith Moon — gives the Braves a “B” for their offseason moves.

OK, OK. But what about Frenchy?

On ESPN.com, Eric Karabell poses the $3.3 million question: Will Jeff Francoeur have a bounceback season? Karabell says yes, projecting Francoeur to hit .266 with 18 homers and 90 RBIs, but then he writes, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he tops those numbers.”

Me, either. As I tried to write last week, Francouer’s new stance looks pretty spiffy.

Enough about baseball. What about Michael Vick?

Glad you asked. According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, the quarterback/felon has commanded little interest as a trade target. A subsequent Associated Press story by Cliff Brunt suggested the 49ers and Vikings might be in the market, but esteemed AJC college D. Orlando Ledbetter — D-Led to those of us in the know — knocked down the San Fran half of that.

Enough about Vick. What about the combine?

Knowshon Moreno might just be the first running back drafted after all. Tony Pauline of TFYdraft.com lists Moreno among those who improved their stock in Indianapolis, and Clifton Brown of the Sporting News has Mike Mayock of NFL.com calling Moreno his No. tailback.

Meanwhile, Don Banks of SI.com claims this year’s top quarterbacks — Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez — don’t quite compare to Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco because Stafford and Sanchez are leaving college early. But, as I recall, nobody was saying, “Matty Ice is a sure thing because he completed his eligibility” last spring. As I recall, some folks were saying the Falcons should have drafted Glenn Dorsey.

But enough about the NFL. What about Lane Kiffin?

The new Mouth of the South hasn’t had much to say in the past 24 hours, but that didn’t stop an enterprising satirist on 3rd Saturday in Blogtober from posting this (fictional) account of the Tennessee coach dining with AD Mike Hamilton at the Sevierville Waffle House. If you’ve followed the exploits of young Kiffy — and who among us hasn’t? — you’ll appreciate this.

55 comments Add your comment

TommyP

February 23rd, 2009
10:29 am

As always, great job, Mark. Easily my favorite on AJC.

I will play the contrarian role, however, with the LF signing. The Braves want Matt Diaz to play vs. lefties as he mashes them about as well as anyone. They needed someone that did the same vs. righties. Say what you want about Griff’s overall stats but his splits vs. righthanders show that he still pounds the ball in that situation….the situation he would’ve played in had he come to Atlanta.

Anderson is an alright signing…just not as good as Griff would’ve been.

Tron5000

February 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

Mike Mayock must not have much game tape on Michael Johnson (at the bottom of the D. Led article).

And I’d rather have Garret Anderson that Griffey anyway. Have fun in cold, rainy Seattle, thousands of miles away from your family, Junior. I promise I won’t be thinking about you when I watch, from the Turner Field bleachers on a 90-degree June day, Anderson hit one over the right-field fence.

Ken Stallings

February 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

Doyel’s column was vicious and unprofessional. First, a reporter should keep what happens in the locker room to himself. It was his issue between Griffey and him, not our’s. By writing the events from his perspective in his column, he used his professional status to grind a personal axe. An abuse of his position.

Everyone knew why Griffey chose Seattle. He chose Seattle because of the fan connection he developed there. I don’t begrudge the man that whatsoever. Further, it is for Griffey to determine what is best for his family and not some scribe who frankly doesn’t care one iota about Griffey’s family! He’s just using the situation as a further effort to trash the man.

A water bottle? Frankly, Doyel should consider himself lucky! Next time, after that personal trash, perhaps a 90-mph fastball in the small of his back will send the right message!

And yes, Bradley, to a limited extent, shame on you for referencing that diatribe in your own column. You’d have been better served to keep yourself as far away as possible from classless journalists like Greg Doyel. You’re better than that, my man!

Tron5000

February 23rd, 2009
10:53 am

TommyP, Anderson hit 21 points higher than Griffey against right-handers (0.293 to 0.272), and he hit 88 points higher against lefties (0.290 to 0.202). Anderson also had a higher at-bat-per-RBI ratio against righties (6.28 AB/RBI to Griffey’s 6.81). Griffey did walk more and hit homers at a better clip (barely) than Anderson. I take Anderson based on his age in relation to Griffey, his ability to hit lefties and his lower likelihood of injury.

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
10:58 am

Another reason to like Garret Anderson: He drove in the winning runs in Game 7 of a World Series. He knows something about playoff performance.

VolManBill

February 23rd, 2009
10:58 am

Nice to see thet UT is still on everyone’s mind. I have a feeling that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
10:59 am

Oh, and thanks to you, Tommy P.

Anonymous

February 23rd, 2009
11:00 am

Tron5000

February 23rd, 2009
11:03 am

I meant, “LOWER at-bat-per-RBI ratio.” HIGHER doesn’t really help my case at all.

NRBQ

February 23rd, 2009
11:15 am

Doyel’s your friend?

Damn, I don’t believe I’d a told that one.

Everybody and his cousin hates Doyel.

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
11:23 am

Gregg’s a nice guy in real life. It’s just when he sits down to write that something comes over him.

Terrible Truth

February 23rd, 2009
11:23 am

Losing out on Ken Griffey is a lot like finding out your annual PSA exam is all clear; It’s a good thing. Even at his age and decline, he would not have accepted a platoon situation quietly.

No team in their right mind would trade for Michael Vick and assume that hideous contract and it’s gonna cost the Falcons dearly if they release him so I propose the Falcons keep him. Every team needs someone to pick up the jocks and dirty towels from the locker room floor. Anyone know if he picked up some experience with a floor buffing machine while incarcerated? I would say he could be a practice arm for the receivers but they are finally used to having the ball thrown reasonably close to them. I know he’s a bit pricey for a strong back and a weak mind but he could still be useful to the team.

MountainDawg

February 23rd, 2009
11:35 am

Griffey wasn’t worth the pricetag. I hope Anderson pans out. No team in their right mind would pay mega-bucks for Vick…he was overrated in his “prime” & will be subpar (at best) upon release from the pen!

Poorbrave

February 23rd, 2009
11:36 am

Great Job Mark. I’m will to give Wren a little slack and see what happens coming out of S T. Really hope Josh Anderson wins CF positin and gets a chance to prove he can play. Shafer (sp) needs another year in AAA as he’s only played half year in AA and has options. I don’t care for Frenchy at all, can’t stand to watch him but I’m a Braves Fan from 1961, so I hope he does well .

The above **One of them seems nice!** Man, Layla is beautiful! Good eye Mark…she looks PG?

Agree with Tommy P, Your are my favorite at AJC. Keep up good work.

Tommy P are you from Thomaston,Ga? I know a TP from there buts its been 20 years since I’ve heard from him.

3volpaul

February 23rd, 2009
11:38 am

Kiffin stays up nights worrying about Bradley.

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
11:45 am

Thanks, PoorBrave.

As I understand it, Layla Kiffin was indeed named after one of the three greatest recordings of the rock era. Not that you asked.

richbrave

February 23rd, 2009
11:57 am

With all the new working parts, I believe the BRAVES will have an early shaky shake-down cruise then begin to settle into the BRAVES club we all grew to know and love starting in 1991. By next year this time, we’ll all be wondering if the WORLD SERIES is within our grasp and not simply a play-off berth.

jimmy a

February 23rd, 2009
12:09 pm

DREAM ON fire WREN

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
12:12 pm

Shouldn’t we wait until the season starts and see if the team’s any good before we go dumping the GM? Just a thought, mind you.

jimmy a

February 23rd, 2009
12:12 pm

DREAM ON FIRE WREN

TommyP

February 23rd, 2009
12:13 pm

PoorBrave: Not me, my friend.

Tron: You quoted how Anderson is better vs. lefties than Griff. Again, the Braves weren’t signing Griff as an everyday LF but a platoon LF. (and Anderson’s slugging vs. lefties goes way down…he’s basically a singles hitter vs. lefties)

OPS vs. righthanders over the past 4 years:

Griffey: .841, .943, .869, .975.
Garret: .774, .834, .796, .719.

Garret’s best year is Griffey’s worst year.

Not saying Anderson isn’t any good by any means. Just saying that Griffey was the better guy for the situation.

This Gets Old

February 23rd, 2009
12:18 pm

l missed your original column on Jeff but I had to laugh when he stated “In this day and age, it’s, ‘What have you done for me lately?” He’s 24, what other “day and age” does he know? To quote from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ “Youth is wasted on the wrong people!”

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
12:24 pm

To be technically correct, Jeff Francoeur is 25.

jimmy a

February 23rd, 2009
12:26 pm

WREN lost SMOTZ played with around PEAVY FURCAL and GRIFFY then overpaid for LOWE traded for asub 500 pitcher VAZQUEZ signed a unknown JAPNISE pitcher it goes on and on fire WREN now

Given Up In Atlanta

February 23rd, 2009
12:46 pm

Is it Lane Kiffen or Lame Kitten?

marseilles mutt

February 23rd, 2009
12:48 pm

Enter your comments here

marseilles mutt

February 23rd, 2009
1:03 pm

Whoops! Got a little excited on your lead picture of Mrs. Kiffin, and my finger got away from me! Sorry.

Right on re GA; I agree with you MB that he is a far better fit than KG would have been, especially since the “What has he done lately?” stats are far better than KG’s. Did not think KG handled that very professionally, and that, his professionalism, was supposed to be one of his long suits. I must also agree that in my opinion Wren has done a more than adequate job of improving a team that really just needs a little more ‘age’ on it to be really competitive. Just because he didn’t ink some really’big’ names’ is no cause to get on his case. For goodness sakes, let ‘em play before you start with the hate mail!

Good column. We’re having a heat wave here- going to 24 or 25 above today. Want to trade places MB? Oh, and how much DO you pay them?

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
1:06 pm

No, I’ll stick around here, Marseilles. And I have to pay them a lot.

TommyP

February 23rd, 2009
1:27 pm

People…stop looking at their overall numbers and look at the splits when comparing Anderson and Griffey.

Matt Diaz is going to hit the lefties….

ATLWILL

February 23rd, 2009
1:46 pm

It’s funny that Gregg Doyle writes about someone being “unlikeable”, he is the pure definition of the word. I haven’t read a column of his in years and will never again. Doyle is simply Bush League. Oh, and if Griffey missed him with the water bottle, it’s his arm in question not his glove.

leland

February 23rd, 2009
1:54 pm

Dear Mr. MB–what were the other two? Your pal, Leland

gp295

February 23rd, 2009
2:17 pm

I think M. Vick should be release to sign with another teams, he have learn a important lesson about friends and family. He will do good with a second chance. The brave should let some of it young talent play ball as seatte played KG when he was younger, might have a diamond in the rough.

frank

February 23rd, 2009
2:47 pm

Enough about all of the above. How about some Kentucky Basketball!

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
2:58 pm

I knew I could count on my buddy Leland. So here they are, in no particular order, the three greatest recordings of the rock music era:

“Walk Away Renee” — the Left Banke
“Ceremony” (7″ version) — New Order
“Layla” — Derek and the Dominos

leland

February 23rd, 2009
3:00 pm

Dear Mr. MB–one out of three ain’t bad. Your pal, Leland

Realist

February 23rd, 2009
3:10 pm

Add the name “Realist” to the list of people who refuse to even click on a link to a story by Gregg Doyell. The guy is pure trash. If he dumps on Griffey, then Griffey is OK in my book.

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2009
3:13 pm

Thanks, Leland.

Nativebird

February 23rd, 2009
3:16 pm

what “Buzz” about Stafford on the combine. Doesn’t one of to participate at the combine to have a true “Buzz” at the combine? Hate to say it, but Matthew Stafford strikes me as the bust in waiting. Once again, all the tools, yes, but all the signs are buyer beware.

This guy has proven over and over again he doesn’t have the “it” factor when it comes to winning the big games against good teams; FL, AL, SC, TN, (GT last year)…

Beats up on Hawaii, Kentucky, Georgia Southern, etc. etc.

But when the stakes are on the line…in the games his team needs…he folds more often than delivers. Contrary to his own self-assessment, There is NO, ZERO, NADA, NOTHIN, in a comparison of this guy to someone like Ryan or Flacco; Both 5th year SENIORS who chose to return to college, pass up draft, money, hype, money, popularity, money, avoid injury risk, money….etc. etc. All of which Mr. Stafford is all too “good” to bother with, (except for the money). Please.

Both Ryan and Flacco , both being high on QB draft radars also, chose to work out in ALL Combine drills….and chose also to work out in additional Pro Days.

I may be wrong…who knows, maybe this kid is the next Dan Marino, but all signs are pointing to this guy being the next Alex Smith. No, I’m sorry, Alex Smith is a pretty decent guy, I meant the next Ryan Leaf. NO way I draft this guy, even if I’m picking for Detroit, or the Chiefs. I go Sanchez. NFL qb’ing is all about guts and the will to win, sprinkled with a necessity of the physical capabilties.
Sanchez is showing the “it” factor that Stafford is so transparently trying to cover up.

Ted Striker

February 23rd, 2009
4:03 pm

Mark: Doyel has some interesting observations, but he’d be wise to avoid advocating such iron-clad opinions about motives — without intimate knowledge. As for the water bottle (non)incident, if Griffey didn’t hit Doyel, he likely wasn’t aiming at him.

p.s. The Linda Ronstadt/Ann Savoy cover of ‘Walk Away Renee’ is strikingly good. And I’m not one for covers.

mbradley1445

February 23rd, 2009
4:08 pm

The Four Tops’ version is also tremendous, and Rickie Lee Jones did a nice slow burn on a 10″ LP named “Girl at the Volcano.”

JSS

February 23rd, 2009
4:44 pm

I normally only post about that absurdity (AKA Benny the Beaver, AKA Jeffrey “The Gesthapo” Schultz), but the photo that I saw from the Rocky Top introduction of Lane Kiffin shows he at least knows how to pick a wife…. And she’s not a toothless SEC hag!!!

Mac

February 23rd, 2009
5:09 pm

Walk Away Renee? I love that song. But anyway, to my point, Lame Kitten’s wife is way hot, which makes me hate him even more. I cherish my petty jealousies.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 23rd, 2009
6:55 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — nobody is going to trade for Vick, because a) everyone knows the Falcons will just release him if they don’t trade him, and b) nobody has any clue whether Roger Goodell will reinstate him. Not to mention nobody is going to give a straight answer about him at this point in time to avoid violating NFL tampering rules.

Once he’s a reinstated free agent, there are at least 8 or 9 NFL teams that would be foolish not to consider bringing him in to play quarterback.

Gregg Doyel is an embarrassment.

This Buzz column is getting better every week. Props.

Ken Stallings

February 23rd, 2009
7:01 pm

Mark, I’ll take your word for it. I can only evaluate what I read from the man. But that was one of the worst pieces of journalism I’ve seen in sports. It crossed every line. We wonder why athletes are often withdrawn. A lot of it comes from people treating them less than human.

Frankly, they are humans. And being professional athletes doesn’t justify anyone probing negatively into their family life. I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate someone doing to your family as so many in your profession do to the athletes.

Falcons Lost in space

February 23rd, 2009
8:45 pm

Vick is still the man and the best qb in Atlanta, hope he does well with the 49er. I hope he get’s #7 with the 49er. alot of fans still love you vick here in atlanta .
I loved being a season ticket holder when you played. we can’t wait to see you play . When you do come back we will be there to cheer you on bank that mr. Blanks!!!

spotts

February 23rd, 2009
8:50 pm

Very nice, Mark….thanks.

And I don’t remember reading your defending Frank Wren, but at times it felt like I was the only one who didn’t think he was a moron. I don’t know what people expected him to do. Maybe….
-Guarantee more than $5 million for a 42 year old pitcher coming off arm surgery who won’t pitch until June?
-Offer more than $80 million for 4 years of an injury-prone pitcher?
-Shoot an extra prospect out of his butt while bending over for Towers?

I think given the budget and the many unfortunate circumstances he’s done a fine job.

Sir Stealth

February 23rd, 2009
10:23 pm

I’m thankful for the ability to read this blog/article while able to skim past the link to yet another Greg Doyel screed. I have no opinion whatsoever on Griffey’s character, but why should we read crap by somebody who just makes a living cynically ripping people up, usually either because he has some prior hidden beef or is just craving attention. Any jerk on an internet blog can conjure up hack hater pieces, no reason to click and waste time with this stuff just cause Mark Bradley is his “friend.” Other than that Mark, appreciate the blogs (minus legitimizing Doyel), articles have been solid lately.

Mark Bradley

February 24th, 2009
8:24 am

Thanks, Sir Stealth. Thanks, Najeh. Thanks, Spotts.

And it seemed — to me, if to nobody else — that I spent two weeks in January doing nothing but defending Frank Wren.

willdave

February 24th, 2009
9:04 am

Regarding Ken Griffey, I won’t bad-mouth the man for making the decision he made. In the end, he had to do what was right for him. He is one of the greatest players of all time. I hope he closes out his career in Seattle in a style worthy of a future Hall of Famer.

Yes, I do agree that Garret Anderson is a much better acquisition for the Braves at this time than Junior would have been. The former Angel probably has more productivity left in him than the injury-prone Griffey. Look for big contributions from Anderson.

Regarding the lack of interest in Vick, perhaps now his few diehard fans who have continued to post irrelevant comments of support for him on these blogs will now begin to see what the rest of us have been saying all along. Most NFL teams will not have any interest in signing a convicted felon with so much baggage. What little talent he’d have left after not playing for at least two full seasons would be overshadowed by all the negative attention he would draw. A pure public relations nightmare.

Of course, as a lifelong Falcons fan, I was hoping that some other team would be foolish enough to want his services so that the Birds can get something–anything–for him. But it now looks like that might not be the case. What a huge disappointment and waste of resources Vick turned out to be for my beloved team.

Regarding Lane Kiffin, the photograph of the lovely Layla that you included shows that the man is doing all right for himself.

Terry Forshee

February 24th, 2009
9:29 am

I’ll agree with Layla if only for Duane Allman’s guitar.