It was only a week ago I suggested the Braves’ season could be finished, at least as a vibrant entity, by the Fourth of July. Today I wrote there’s a way they can win the NL East. And now you’re saying, “There Bradley goes again, flip-flopping like a flounder on the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf.”
And I say, in my fishy defense: Things change.
The Braves are playing better. The Phillies lost six in a row. The Mets are hurting. Winning the division seems infinitely more do-able today than it did June 17. But — and you knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you? — they can’t stop playing.
They’ve split their first four games against the Red Sox and Yankees. They have five to go, and then three against the Phillies. These eight games will determine the course of July and beyond.
Go 5-3 or better and the Braves will have proved something to themselves and the watching world. Go 3-5 or worse and they’ll have given their doubters — which I, on occasion, have obviously been — further evidence. Go 4-4 and they’ve treaded water, which probably isn’t a victory this late in a season.
And I’m delighted to report I’m on-site at Turner Field, ready to report and ruminate on all tomahawk/pinstripe developments. I just took a walk through both clubhouses, and the players seem loose. (That’s a joke. Baseball players always seem loose — they do this every day.)
Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte were watching videotape, presumably of the Braves. (Pettitte starts tomorrow night.) A-Rod and Jeter were nowhere to be seen. (The big Yankees, Jeter especially, are famous for hiding from the media before games, surely because there are so many media types following the Bombers.)
I’ll head back downstairs in a bit to do some more goofing around — er, research — and I’ll keep you appraised. And I’ll be here all night, ready and willing to serve as your online master of ceremonies. So no flipping, y’hear? (Flopping’s OK; flipping’s verboten.)
A word of apology: I had to step away from this blog for 45 minutes. According to esteemed colleague Sekou Smith, the Hawks are about to trade Speedy Claxton and Acie Law to Golden State for Jamal Crawford, which I believe is a tremendous move. But I’m back to baseball now, and I’ll be here throughout the game.
A Yankee update: Hung around the Bombers’ clubhouse. A-Rod finally wandered through and plopped down on the sofa — off-limits interview area, even though it’s in the middle of the room — and chatted with Robinson Cano. Then A-Rod picked up People magazine and read it closely. Then he switched to Entertainment Weekly.
Movie night: For pregame entertainment, the Yankees started off watching “Full Metal Jacket” on DVD. Then they got bored — not enough action, I guess — and switched to “Next Friday.
Hiding as a strategy: Saw Chipper Jones by the cage and said, “You might be a great player, but you can’t hide from the media the way Jeter does.” He laughed. (He and Jeter are pals.) And Chipper said, “I don’t have the same kind of media he does.” And he doesn’t. There were 30 reporters gathered in the dugout for Joe Girardi’s pregame briefing. Bobby Cox gets antsy if he sees a half-dozen of us.