Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

Spring Training Odds & Ends ……

David Letterman’s Top 10 List of  Things you Don’t want to hear During Spring Training!

Pablo Sandoval "Before"

I’m not a huge fan of David Letterman, but still ……. this was kinda sorta funny.   I’ve been following Spring Training this year,  more than in the past and I’m seriously thinking about running down to Arizona next year to see what all the fuss is about!    One of the things that struck my funnybone this year was all the

Pablo Sandoval "After"

hubbub that’s going around about Tim Lincecum‘s In ‘n Out Burger runs.  When one of the  analysts asked him today if he took the Panda with him,  Tim assured him he always went solo, at least during spring training.  Panda, if  you’re not from the Bay Area, refers to Pablo Sandoval who, at the end of last season, weighed in around 289 pounds much to the dismay of management.   At the threat of being sent back to the Minors this year if he didn’t get back into serious shape, Panda Pablo managed to drop 38 pounds, while adding some muscle,  and looks and acts fit as a fiddle.  Good news for Giants fans, that’s for sure!   But the conversation about Timmy’s lunch relates to his daily routine of three double-decker burgers, two orders of fries and a vanilla/chocolate combo milkshake.   That’s about 3,400 calories just for lunch each day and Tim only weighs 165 pounds!    Sure would be great to have a metabolism that could burn that off!

Luis Salazar

One thing that always bothers me about spring training is how many players get injured.   I’m pretty sure the reason for spring training is to get back in shape after the three months “vacation” from regular and postseason.   One of the injured this year is Chase Utley, who’s always been a powerhouse for Philadelphia.   But a real casualty this year happened not to a player, but to a spectator.  Actually, he’s  Luis Salazar,  a Minor League Manager for the Atlanta Braves and he was hit in the face by a line drive during a Spring Training game on March 9.  Salazar, 54, was leaning up against the railing on the top step of the dugout when Brian McCann slammed a foul ball directly towards Salazar, who didn’t see it coming.  He ended up losing his left eye, a real tragedy in any ballpark.    I know, I know, accidents happen, and this was indeed a tragic accident, but it’s still really sad when we hear about them.    We still have a few more weeks of Spring Training left and let’s cross our fingers we can get through without any more casualties.  A big hug and a “get well soon” to  Luis!

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An Overdose of “Philly-Itis”…….

Hank Aaron, Wikipedia Image

Philly Schmilly …….Don’t you just love it when someone in the know has the guts to speak what’s on his mind instead of jumping on the eternal pundit bandwagon?   That’s just exactly what Hank Aaron did yesterday.   Hank’s predicting a 2011 World Series between the Giants and Red Sox.   Whew ~ where did that come from?  Hasn’t he been listening to the pundits and bloggers and baseball experts? Could it be that Henry knows something the rest of the baseball world doesn’t?   Could it be these so-called experts have fallen into the same trap they did last year and have totally overlooked the obvious?  In other words, they didn’t learn a thing.  I’m not talking about the regular season.   I mean, for pete’s sake, I’m a Giant’s fan and there’s no way I would have imagined, say, in August,  the Giants would end up taking their Division.  So what do you think Hank Aaron might possibly be thinking?  

For one thing, Aaron’s predicting 2011’s going to be  a hitters year, unlike the pitcher’s year of 2010.   Well if that’s true  it sure takes the wind out of the sails for that $120 Million contract the Phillies signed Clifton Phifer “Cliff” Lee to in the off-season.   I’ve never understood the reasoning that  the Phillies are now unbeatable, invincible, the next undisputable World Champions, just by virtue  of having Cliff Lee on their roster.    Uhhh, seems to me the unbeaten Cliff Lee was beaten TWICE by the Giants in this year’s World Series.   So please tell me what Cliff Lee has done recently that would make him now “unbeatable”?   It just doesn’t make sense.     He was unbeatable last season and the Giants whooped the stuffing out of him, not once, but twice,and now he’s wearing a Phillies uniform, and he’s once again unbeatable?  

Is it possible the Phillies might be able to pull it off and win the Division?  Oh sure.  Is it possible they might go on and win the World Series?  Maybe.  But it’s not a foregone conclusion.  Thank you,   Hank Aaron,  for bringing some good old fashioned  common sense to the subject.   It’s a lot more fun letting the teams play out the season instead of  letting the self-proclaimed pundits and experts crown the Philadelphia Phillies  the anointed ones in February.   It’s obvious the only reason Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies is he sees it as his only chance to vindicate himself from the embarrassment he obviously felt (or should have felt) of not only being outpitched in the World Series, but of being so “mouthy” about it before hand.  

Philly Phanatic

 To say the Phillies might be my least favorite team is probably a huge understatement.  Go ahead, ask the teams and  players who’ve had to endure the wrath, anger and profanity of the Phillie phanatics on and off the field.  I’m just saying, when it comes to baseball, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely NOT the city of brotherly love. 

Bobby Cox Going on a Cruise! …….. A Player’s Manager Retires.

I never knew much about Bobby Cox.  Oh sure, I heard a lot about him through the years.  After all he’s been managing the Braves since 1986 and it seems his name was always out there, usually for arguing with the umps or being ejected from a game, not necessarily what you want to be known for.  But during this last playoff series and especially during his last interview, I was struck by one comment he made.  It referred to a controversial call by an umpire at 2nd base.   The play was a head-first slide by Giants’ Buster Posey into 2nd and a safe call by the ump.   Replay shows Posey was clearly out, and it ended up being a deciding factor in the 1 run win by the Giants over Atlanta and eventually eliminated Atlanta from the series, ending Cox’s career.  Yet Bobby Cox didn’t utter a peep! Why?

On August 14, 2010, Bobby Cox broke the  MLB ejections record with 131 career ejections.   He’s a player’s manager.  Just getting ejected certainly doesn’t make one great, but when Bobby Cox got ejected he was doing it for the right reason.  He wasn’t just arguing a call to get the ump to change his mind, or to grandstand, or slow up the game.  He was always arguing in defense of his players.  Always!   He was out there every game defending his players, trying to even up the playing field making sure the other team wasn’t getting an unfair advantage.    When he felt his players had been treated unfairly by a call, he never, ever backed down.  That is his legacy. 

In an interview after this last game Cox was asked about that call at 2nd base.  He was told the replay clearly showed the runner was out and was asked why he didn’t challenge the call.  After all, his career and reputation was built on challenging umpire calls these past 32 years.  His response surprised me.   The reason he didn’t challenge the call was simple.   He was watching his 2nd baseman and outfielders and they showed no reaction.  Had any of them reacted as though they thought the runner was out, he would have been out on that field immediately in protest of the call.  Cox said it’s impossible to see what’s going on from the manager’s viewpoint so he’s always trusted his player’s reactions on how the play should have been called.  That’ s how he managed his entire career and his players loved him for it.   Of course, some players could easily have taken advantage of Bobby’s trust in them and I’m sure they did, but they always knew he had their back and that’s how loyalties are made.

I could write pages and pages about the career of this man.  It might surprise you that he only played in the major leagues for two years, as a 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees.   And did you know he ranks 4th on the Baseball All-time Managerial “Wins”  list?    It goes on and on.  Check out the  Related Articles below.  They’ll keep you reading for days.  

The team got together and gave Bobby and his wife a going away gift.  It’s a cruise and they’re leaving next April!   April?   That’s the beginning of another baseball season!   You don’t retire from baseball.   No one retires from baseball.   Welcome to Baseball Fandom Bobby Cox.   The only thing that’s changed is the players!