The Braves’ story of 2011 should have been their historically great bullpen back three:
Sadly, it was their semi-historically great collapse at the end of the season:
Nothing. They really added absolutely nothing notable to their team. They *re-signed* a couple of notable people, but they added nothing that wasn’t already on the team.
Derek Lowe, Brooks Conrad, Alex Gonzalez, Wes Helms, Scott Linebrink, Julio Lugo, Nate McLouth, and George Sherill.
Why?: I get the fact that I created this category and made its title the rhetorical question that it is, but honestly, I cannot imagine why anyone would ask “Why” I gave the Braves such a bad grade. They added NOTHING! In addition to that, their subtraction list is almost a two-liner. Sure they’re not franchise-makers that are on that list, which is why I didn’t give the Braves an “F”, but it’s enough to say they lost a whole lot more than they brought in, which is the qualification for a “D”.
That silly little self-responsive rant said, the Braves are a young team, whose starters are on the upswing. I mean Jason Heyward can only bounce back from his past season. Any worse and they would just have to replace him with a replacement-level player.Freddie Freeman showed amazing spouts of talent that could make him into a very good 1st Baseman, Tommy Hanson still has to show us what he can do with a full season of work, my favorite Braves player, Julio Teheran, still has to show us what made him their top prospect. I could go on but those are the major names.
What it comes down to for the Braves in the end is that they have the potential to have a VERY good rotation (Jurrjens, Hudson, Hanson, Teheran, and another), they already have the best back end -if not entire bullpen- in the major leagues (O’Flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel), and they can have an explosive offense if their pieces come together (Jones, Uggla, McCann, Heyward, Freeman, Bourn, and Prado). This team could actually surpass their season win-total from last season this year.
Predicted Record Range: 87-92 wins
Next Up: Los Dodgers de El Pueblo Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula
Sorry to do this to you Brewers fans, but these two guys were the biggest story of the 2011 season, even with all the additions last offseason:
Aramis Ramirez, Brooks Conrad, Cesar Izturis, Alex Gonzalez, and Jose Veras.
Prince Fielder, Cragi Counsell, Yuniesky Betancourt, Latroy Hawkins, Takashi Saito, Casey McGehee, Jerry Hariston Jr, and Mark Kotsay.
Why?: I know that considering they signed Aramis Ramirez and all, the Brewers look like they have had as good an offseason as they could with there being virtually no chance of signing Prince Fielder. However, you will see many more big MLB players on the “subtractions” list than the additions list.
Ah the McGehee trade. I don’t think we can evaluate this trade yet. If he returns to the level of two years ago, this will be a horrible deal for the Brewers, but if he continues at the level of last year, Doug Melvin looks like a genius.
There are names on both lists I could get into, but it doesn’t make any sense as the players only have an impact on the teams record as aggregate units and not as individuals. I would like to point out, however, that the Brewers are still a good team as they stand. I do see life after Prince for this club. I don’t see them slipping into the days where Jeff Cirillo was on the team and they were the league’s bottom feeder along with Detroit, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and some other team I’m forgetting (the Expos maybe?).
Predicted Record Range: 81-86 wins
Next up: The World Series Champion, St. Louis Cardinals, but what division would you like to see next?
Third and final day at Turner Field and I was very optimistic:
The first game was packed and the second game was slow HR wise in bp so why shouldn’t I have been. For those of you who don’t know, Turner Field opens 2 1/2 hours early. That means the gates were opened at 4:30 this day. I had been moving back and forth. When my mom caught up to me in a section and rightfully ask how many I had caught in forty minutes of batting practice I had to give her the second worst one-handed gesture I could have:
About five minutes later, I moved over closer to straight away left field in order to get a ball from the Rockies warming-up and en route caught a Brooks Conrad Home Run:
but let me tell you right now that I could have easily had five baseballs. I moved back to my spot where I had been standing for ten minutes now and had moved from to catch the Conrad homer when a 14-ish year old kid came down the aisle. I moved aside and he slid right in to the row in front of me. Thirty seconds later, he called out to his dad asking if the Braves had been taking bp before then. When his dad answered yes, he pulled a ball out from under a seat and said he might have found one. Oh my goodness. How could I have not spotted that earlier. Oh yeah I’ll tell you, I figured since the stadium opened 2 1/2 hours early and most teams start hitting that early that there wouldn’t be any thing there. Still, let me show you how close I was:
The lower arrow shows where the ball had been. The upper left arrow shows where I had been standing. So this seat being an aisle seat in row 21 I was in the aisle adjacent to row 22. Gaaaah! As I explained before, I did not think at all to look for easter eggs so I have reason not to be disappointed but it was right in the row in front of me. On a lighter note, notice how the seat is designed so it cannot go completely up like the seat next to it. Whoever designed the seat forgot about the curvature of the stadium and so the armrest prevents the seat from going up.
That was it for bp the Braves weren’t really stingy and it wasn’t really crowded but people were in spots so that there wasn’t a full empty row except at the back of the left field bleachers or a ways away from home plate in deep left center. I stupidly stayed in this section of left field because, as I said, it wasn’t that crowded. The draw back was that the Home Runs that were hit always took some crazy bounce or were deflected by other people. One specific example when I came oh so close was a ball that bounced off of a person’s hands came back to me and I extended as far as I could over a seat but only managed to stop the ball’s momentum as someone picked it off the ground. I extended at chest level but did not think the scenario through as I would have gotten the ball had I extended for the ball at a lower height (the ball was still going back towards me so if I would have given it more time to fall it would have come closer to me and thus right into my glove). The toss-ups I normally get were also at a low as Jim Wright ignored me for half an hour and I am always afraid that if I call out to payers from too far away they will see me as impatient and not throw me a baseball when they come close to the wall. So I kept quiet but they kept away from the wall as Wright retrieved the majority of the balls. Here is a picture that describes the last sentence perfectly:
Jim Wright is the one in the middle with the ball in his hand he is standing to Houston Street I believe. Had he stayed longer (Street) I might have gotten a baseball out of him but he left soon afterwards. I am the one in the stands with my hand and glove cupped around my mouth asking him if he could spare a baseball. You can also see the two groups of three pitchers on either side of the the picture that just stayed there. I don’t know that much about Wright but he also seemed like one of those coaches that keeps an eye out for how much the players are tossing balls into the stands and thus they don’t do it as often. Any ballhawks out there know what I am talking about? He was like a lesser Randy St.Claire this day. Kapish?
…I would also, in light of the Shannon Stone incident, like to tell any one that Turner Field, although with high walls and a gap like Ranger Ballpark, is a very safe place. In addition to the signs, like that which I am standing in front of in the previous picture, there are chains that prevent one from getting within two feet of the wall of places like bullpens. Anybody skeptical of Turner’s safety because of the gap can be assured that you would have to almost try and fall into the gap…
I then went to the Rockies dugout in hopes of an early third out ball before going back to my ticketed seat in hopes of snagging foul balls in consecutive days. I first got Mark Ellis to toss me his pre-game warm-up ball but then a guy reached right in front of me and grabbed the ball. I could have reached in front of him but I didn’t want to step on any toes, even if it was my last day (keep this in mind later). Thankfully, Ellis had another ball in his back pocket and threw it, this time OVER the grabby man:
Remember how I said I would get an early third out ball and run back to my section. I spent nine innings behind the dugout and did not get a single ball because of a variety of circumstances.
After the game, I went over to the umpire tunnel. At Turner Field, it is to the right side of the visitors’ dugout:
I went over there and waited for Home Plate Umpire, Cory Blaser, to walk over before asking him for a ball. He was about to walk right into the tunnel until he heard his name. At which point he back up out of the tunnel and rolled a ball across the dugout in my direction but then a teenager, younger than I , reached out in front of me and grabbed the ball. He said the reason he did it was that he had been at the dugout the whole game and hadn’t gotten a third out ball “Wow, what do you think I’ve been doing all game”. He didn’t say sorry or offer me the ball (I wouldn’t have taken it and already had two baseballs but still that doesn’t justify his actions because he didn’t know either of those facts). Pretty disappointing considering how the game had gone to that point.
- 2 balls at this game
- 58 balls in 18 game= 3.22 balls per game
- 43 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 8 straight games with at least 2 balls
- 13 straight games away from NYC with at least 1 ball
- 20 balls in 4 games= 5.0 balls per game on this trip
- 2 balls*26,271 fans= 52,542 competition factor
- Time at Game 3:57-9:54= 5 hours 57 minutes