Live from the ballyard: Smoltzie and I avoid each other!

I spent about a half-hour in and around the Red Sox clubhouse, and I should tell you the Red Sox have a great vibe about them. Kind of like the old Braves, only a tad livelier, and nothing like the new Yankees, who come across as spoiled and surly. The Red Sox, I can report, have a splendid mix of guys.

And now you’re wondering: Amid this splendid mix, did I encounter My Favorite Pitcher in said clubhouse? Not really. (Nor did I go looking for him, or he, I feel sure, for me.) My Favorite Pitcher and I almost crossed paths when the Sox were preparing for batting practice, but we both turned our heads. (We’re really good at this, as you may know.)

I can also tell you I’m writing a little something for Sunday print — and for posting here later today — on Red Sox manager Terry Francona, whom I see as the New Bobby Cox. (And I mean that, Larry, as the highest possible compliment.) Francona is a delightful conversationalist, and we media types got to talking with him about Michael Jordan — whom Tito, as he’s known, managed in Birmingham in 1994 — and then we got around to Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith.

And I’m thinking, “Gee, Bobby Cox never has that sort of conversation with the media.” But lo and behold, I walk across to Cox’s Batcave and he brings up Michael Jackson, and then John Schuerholz, who’s sitting there, asks Cox what was the first record he ever bought, and Cox says he never bought a record in his life and Schuerholz says his was “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets. And there we went.

I brought up the Temptations and the Supremes as my first recorded purchase. Dave O’Brien mentioned Wild Cherry. (I swear.) Then we got going on Kiss — O’Brien’s first concert, you should know — and Mark Lemke said something about Gene Simmons that I choose not to reproduce here.

And now you’re up to date on all essential baseball matters. And if you’d care to share your feelings about Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson or Anna Nicole Smith or Gene Simmons or even this afternoon’s Braves-Red Sox game … well, I’ll be happy to chat back all afternoon long.

227 comments Add your comment

Drock

June 27th, 2009
3:12 pm

So what kind of music is Bobby Cox into? Or is he a talk radio kind of guy?

NORRIS

June 27th, 2009
3:38 pm

so how bad is Mclouth? will it be lengthy?

Dex

June 27th, 2009
3:38 pm

Who Kissed who? Im confused :)

Ernest

June 27th, 2009
3:38 pm

It is amazing that the Braves are still in the hunt considering how bad they’ve played over the last few weeks. Maybe this is the ‘bad stretch’ every team has during the season and the rest will be over .500 ball? Am I being to optimistic?

SlimG

June 27th, 2009
3:39 pm

Smotzie is a putz. He always was and always will be. Is he still see a psych?

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
3:43 pm

I think he’s more a talk radio guy — and baseball. He has XM in his truck, and I know he listens to games on the way home.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
3:45 pm

According to Dave O’Brien, McLouth could play tomorrow but probably won’t.

BT

June 27th, 2009
3:53 pm

Did anyone mention the great hustle of G Anderson in left field last night. GA has to be a real inspiration in the clubhouse

BT

June 27th, 2009
3:55 pm

Enter your comments here

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
3:56 pm

As I said the other day, Garret is a glider.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:00 pm

Lineups: Varitek and Jason Bay get the day off the Sox. Blanco starts for McLouth and leads off. Hernandez stars for Escobar and bats eighth. Wakefield and Vazquez are your hurlers.

Random

June 27th, 2009
4:00 pm

SlimG (June 27th, 2009 3:39 pm): “Is he still see a psych?”

What a putz.

What’s your first language — Pig Latin?

BT

June 27th, 2009
4:02 pm

Yeah I remember. Does Bobby mention anything about the “Glider.” How is our clubhouse atmosphere?

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:03 pm

I should also report that a major gaffe on my part seems to have been averted, if only just. I contrived to spill a Coke Zero on the ol’ keyboard 45 minutes ago, and my cursor is just now reverting to midseason form. For a minute there, I was thinking the chat would be conducted via MY NEW IPHONE.

Lots of Sox fans here. You knew that already. And it’s about 118 degrees. You knew that as well.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:05 pm

What with discussions ranging from MJ to MJ to Anna Nicole to Kiss, Garret was one name that didn’t arise. But he’s playing left field and batting fifth, for what that’s worth.

Truth to tell, I sort of breezed through the Braves’ clubhouse today. But it seemed the way it always does. Not much changes, ambience-wise. Hasn’t for about 20 years.

John T

June 27th, 2009
4:07 pm

IPHONE is great MB, welcome to the club. Is Escobar feeling the heat from Bobby still? Think they’ll leave him in the 5 spot?

Rick

June 27th, 2009
4:08 pm

Really, Braves are fortunate the rest of division is playing to their level. But that said, they lost 90 last year, the pitching is better this year–might get them 8-9 more wins. but their offense can’t overcome defensive lapses & the inevitable poor pitching performance, So, how many teams make the plyaoffs with 81-84 wins ? Zero.
When Yankees were here & I saw Texiera’s numbers-lord, if he had been paid & stayed, Braves would be in 1st place this year.
But instead we wait for offense (in no particular order) from Francouer, Johnson, Kotchman, whoever that glider is in left, a semi brain dead shortstop, and some bench guys who think they should start.
So, 5 position players who haven’t contributed much. Looks like a 4th place team to me.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:11 pm

Thanks. I’ve only downloaded four or five apps, but it is pretty amazing.

And not to sound all pessimistic or anything, but it should be noted that the 2008 Braves lost 90 games and were two games better than the 2009 team to this point.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:16 pm

Pedroia leads off with a single to left, but McCann throws him out — pretty handily, actually — stealing.

BT

June 27th, 2009
4:17 pm

MB, that the clubhouse hasn’t changed in 20 years is very telling. Braves lost 97 games in 1989 and could in 2009. GA was probably still a glider in 1989 though. I bet he was constantly late for class.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:23 pm

And he probably didn’t appear to mind if he was, BT. That’s just the way Garret Anderson looks. Always has.

Two singles for the Sox, but Vazquez strikes out Drew and Ortiz. Nothing doing in the top of the first.

Chris

June 27th, 2009
4:27 pm

Mark,
I troll all the sports publications on a daily basis as I’ve recently become a drain on the working class.
I’ve never seen a writer who interacts with the fans like you and seems to genuinely enjoy it. It’s refreshing,,,thank you

Smoltzie's Whipping Boy

June 27th, 2009
4:29 pm

You should try being the Official Scorer that credits a hit on a ball that rockets off his knee all the way to left field that costs him 4 earned runs in the inning. Silly me, how could I have NOT realized that a 100mph comebacker was a “routine” play.

If you aren’t sucking up to Smoltz, you are on his black list and it shows in every aspect of his hypocritical life.

Just sayin’….

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:30 pm

Gosh, Chris. I don’t know what to say. Except thanks very much.

Top of the second now, no score.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:34 pm

Updates: Kotsay just walked leading off the inning; I’ve now risked the continuing existence of this chat by going to get a large cup of water, which I will endeavor not to spill, and I find myself writing like a broacaster: “Nothing doing in the top of the first”? Where did that come from?

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:40 pm

Bottom of the second, no score. Glidin’ Garret took an odd route to get under Julio Lugo’s fly ball, but he got there. And two more strikeouts for Vazquez, who it seems I’ve underrated hugely. He’s a heck of a pitcher.

APGuy

June 27th, 2009
4:45 pm

How do things look down on the front row?

sidslid

June 27th, 2009
4:47 pm

Ican’t let the Anderson play go this flippantly. That was disgusting and a watershed disciplinary moment. If Anderson is still on this team in a week, Cox has lost all control and that should be it for Bobby.

Boribrave

June 27th, 2009
4:51 pm

Oh God! When are we going to get rid of Frenchy?!!!
He is doing absolutely nothing in this team. I know he aint worth nothing in the trade market right now, but having him in our team doesnt help at all.

Mark, have you heard something about possible trade for a new right filder before the trade deadline?

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
4:52 pm

About the same as on Row 2, Mr. Newberry. (That’s Paul Newberry of the Associated Press, folks. Great writer but something of a wise acre.)

And Sid, I don’t know what to tell you. I know esteemed colleage DOB — he’s sitting in Row 1 to my right — had a particularly damning phrase in his game story: “Garret Anderson didn’t bother backing up [the play].”

But Glidin’ Garret’s in the lineup today. So apparently the manager isn’t too upset.

Tom from Charlotte

June 27th, 2009
5:00 pm

I went to a Braves-Red Sox game the last time Boston visited Atlanta. Red Sox Nation was in the house — numerous, vocal and having a blast. I was hoping Braves fans would rise to the occasion and vie in the spirit of friendly rivalry to out-cheer the Bosox faithful. Alas, it was not to be. Most Braves fans instead sniped at the Sox fans and booed them. Disappointing. Please tell me it hasn’t been like that this visit.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:00 pm

Nothing much seems to be happening, trade-talk-wise. And that’s all over baseball, not just here. It’ll heat up, figuratively speaking, after the Fourth.

Michael

June 27th, 2009
5:00 pm

Does Cox have different standards for Anderson (trusty veteran) and Escobar (young guy who needs to be put in his place)?

StingerSplash

June 27th, 2009
5:02 pm

Red Sox radio crew just savaged G. Anderson. Talked about how slow he looks now and how he appears to have lost the ability to judge balls. Got onto him about the play in last night’s game.
And welcome to the iPhone world, Mr. Bradley. It’s … awesome. Just wish AT&T had better coverage in less, shall we say, metropolitan areas of the world.
With other Dave O’Brien in the booth, Red Sox radio crew has talked a lot about Georgia football today. Really.

StingerSplash

June 27th, 2009
5:04 pm

Paul Newberry can thrash you, Mr. Bradley. Not that he would. He’s far too nice a fella.
Ask him about the Thunderbolt Patterson Cadillac match and the missing hubcaps.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:04 pm

Officially, I’m told Escobar didn’t start today because his hip flexor is bothering him again. Unofficially, I’m told not to buy into that too much.

And Michael, I think your point is the proper one: Anderson, at this age, is what he is. (Not to sound like Frenchy here.) Escobar is still, theoretically speaking, young enough to learn.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:09 pm

Thanks, Stinger. Are you listening to the Red Sox broadcast via the Sirius XM app on your iPhone?

And Mr. Newberry has told me the Thunderbolt Patterson Cadillac match story. It involves wrestling at some old place off where the Glenridge Connector is today and is much too long to get into.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:11 pm

Back to baseball: Red Sox have had four consecutive leadoff men aboard but haven’t gotten one to second base. Braves have more stolen bases than hits. Nobody has a run. Bottom of the fourth now.

Henry

June 27th, 2009
5:12 pm

I have been a fan of the braves since ‘66 thru good and bad but I have one word for the braves now and that is “pathetic”

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:15 pm

Pathetic? They’re tied with the Red Sox after four innings and are only 4 1/2 games out of first place!

I know. That’s not much of a case I’m making there. But it’s the best I can do at present.

sidslid

June 27th, 2009
5:18 pm

Now I have it figured. With McLouth and Infante out, Anderson has to play. I am now OK with a release after McLouth is back (remember Bob Wickman-it doesn’t matter if it’s a veteran).

StingerSplash

June 27th, 2009
5:19 pm

Not listening on iPhone, though that is the next app to get. Will look sweet next to urbanspoon and The Masters app (Billy Payne thinks of everything! Except for transportation and getting street vendors out of the way. But that’s an old story.)
Nope, listening on mlb.com on my other computer.

Ken Stallings

June 27th, 2009
5:22 pm

Mark, trust me, I’m a pilot. It isn’t a glider if it can’t get off the ground! What Garrett did on that play wasn’t gliding. It was staying tied up on the ramp, grounded!

That lack of hustle was the type of play that got Andruw Jones benched. If you recall, Cox stood on the dugout steps and ordered him to run in as his replacement was running out to the field. It was in the middle of the inning, in front of 40,000 fans, and it was a message in public.

I’m shocked Cox didn’t do the same thing to Anderson, and he should have.

This tells me Cox might be getting frustrated with this team to the point of thinking they are beyond help. Cox has always had a willingness to dicipline those who did not respect the game. Failure to run in on a grounder is a failure to respect the game.

The Braves aren’t giving their pitchers good defense and worse offense. They are losing close games against quality opponents because of these mental and physical breakdowns. I find it hard to accept why Cox hasn’t sent a stern message already. He needs to.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:23 pm

Mr. Newberry, you should know, is curious as to your secret identity, Stinger.

Bottom of the fifth, scoreless.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:26 pm

I covered the game when Bobby pulled Andruw. Nobody seems to remember it was a hugely hyped pitching match — Maddux against Kerry Wood.

And it was stunning that night, Ken. And I don’t really know what more to say about Garret. I can only tell you he has always had that languid air about him. But he was a really good player for an awful long time with the Angels.

StingerSplash

June 27th, 2009
5:28 pm

Mr. Bradley, I will send you an email … maybe (it is mbradley@ajc.com, no?). I figured that would stir Mr. Newberry.
But he truly is as good as they come, as a person and a writer.

DidTheyCall

June 27th, 2009
5:30 pm

MB, are you hearing anything on the possibility of Brandon Jones coming up and getting some starts in LF? One of the talking heads on ESPN Radio last week seemed to think that may be the Braves approach since trade talks have died down a bit.

All I'm Saying Is...

June 27th, 2009
5:31 pm

Is that all we’re going to talk about today? Garrett’s lack of hustle from yesterday’s game? Like that’s the reason we lost that game. Like that’s the reason we are a mediocre team. GA is back starting today because people who know baseball like Bobby Cox know that in baseball unlike any other sport, you have to have a short memory to be successful — remember if you fail 7 times out of 10, you can still make it to the hall of fame. I’m sure Bobby pointed out GA’s mistake to GA and it won’t happen again.

Mark Bradley

June 27th, 2009
5:33 pm

I haven’t heard anything about Brandon Jones. Sorry.

I will say this about professional athletes: They’re paid to hustle. Performance can wax and wane, but effort should not.

sidslid

June 27th, 2009
5:35 pm

Why doesn’t SunTrust and the other corporate types ever have hot babes in the SunTrust Plaza? It’s always full of fat old guys. The national TV audience must think the ATL is Phoenix East