A Triumphant (Kind Of) Return to WaB

I meant to write this post last year and never did. Then I meant to write it this Spring and never did. Now PTI has stolen my thunder by talking about it on their show last week. Since I have an evening at home by myself with nothing to do, I’m finally getting around to answering the question that I know everyone on the internet has been wondering since right around 2008.

But before we get to that, don’t expect this to become a regular thing. I might write something every couple of weeks, but I’m still retired.

Now back to the burning question that no doubt has you on the edge of your seat:

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A Playoff Problem

I have a problem.  I suppose it’s a nice problem to have, but it’s a problem nonetheless.  Let me explain.

I grew up as an Atlanta Braves fan – no – I was born an Atlanta Braves fan.  I love them.  I have this hat that my mother bought me while I was sitting in the front seat of the shopping cart at K-Mart.  I wore it everywhere right up until I turned 21 years old.  That’s when my roommates bought me a new one because “the old one makes you look dirty.”  I couldn’t disagree.  People didn’t recognize me without the hat.  If you look at my Facebook pictures, probably 85% of them have the hat in them and the other 15% are from college graduation when I wasn’t allowed to wear it.

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Some Playoff Predictions

As promised, I’m coming back this offseason with some real posts.  Since I haven’t done that since like August, this is a big step for me.  First up will be the Major League Baseball playoff predictions.  Luckily, I’m really good at this so you won’t even have to watch the games and you can just jump right into hockey season.  I can’t wait for hockey season.

Let’s get started:

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Opening Day Almost, Kind Of

Major League Baseball starts tonight when the Red Sox and Yankees face off tonight on ESPN.  Shocking that ESPN would open with the only two teams that it thinks exist, but that’s a different post for a different day.  (Okay, one more thing, couldn’t get a look at Minnesota’s new ballpark, Target Field or something?  No one cares about the Sox-Yankees.)  Anyway, regardless of teams, I’ll be watching and I’ll enjoy every second of it.

There’s something about Opening Day that’s just magical.  I feel like every sport has at least one thing that it does better than every other sport.  Hockey is the best live sport, the NFL has the best draft, soccer has relegation (European leagues, anyway), college basketball has a gigantic single elimination tournament, the NBA has….tall…people?  Never mind about the NBA.  But baseball has Opening Day and they do it right.

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Winter Meetings – The Rich Get Richer

Curtis Granderson

Baseball held their annual Winter Meetings in Indianapolis over the past three days which are always interesting to the Hot Stove crowd.  This year’s edition featured a blockbuster trade and a few free agent signings, plus just enough rumors to make us all want baseball to come back.

Let’s review.

The Yankees acquired Curtis Granderson, the D’Backs acquired Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy , and the Tigers acquired Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson in a three team trade.

The World Series Champs made their team even stronger by acquiring the speedy lefty Granderson to man center field for the next few years.  Granderson mashed 30 homers last year in Detroit, so there’s no telling what number he’ll reach at the new Yankee Stadium.  Than lineup is actually scarier now than it was last year.

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Friday 5 – Switch Hitters

After last week’s time off, I’m back with today’s Friday 5.  Since baseball season just ended and I’m not ready for it to be over, I’m dedicating today’s list to switch hitters.

During my brief and generally forgettable baseball career, I toyed with the idea of switch hitting.  It lasted for a practice before I got tired of striking out.   Since then, I’ve always been enamored with the idea of it.  So let’s take a look at the Top 5 switch hitters in the game today starting with:

5. Kendry Morales – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Can one season make you one of the top five switch hitters in the game?  Sure it can.  Morales was given the full-time starting job for the first time this season and he didn’t disappoint.  The 26 year-old put up .306 batting average, 34 long balls, and 108 RBIs.  For years we heard of his potential and it finally came to fruition.  Morales hits for right around the same average from both sides of the plate, but he has markedly more power from the left side where he hit 30 homers.  If Morales can do this for a few more years he’ll become one of the premier switch hitters in the game.

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Bobby Cox to Retire From Baseball

Bobby Cox

Bobby Cox

Word came down yesterday that the longtime Atlanta Braves manager, Bobby Cox, would retire following the 2010 season.  As a lifelong Braves fan, I have always dreaded this day.  Similar to the Tennessee Volunteers and Phil Fulmer, Bobby Cox is really the only Braves manager I have known.  My manager will step down next year.  Someone else (Terry Pendleton, I hope) will take his place and one of the last remnants of those 14 straight division titles will be gone.  It’s kind of sad.

But I knew it was coming.  This isn’t like Fulmer where an icon hung around too long and it was time for a change.  That was a messy divorce and has somewhat divided the fanbase.  In this case, we have an icon going out on his own terms.  The Braves would have let Cox stay on as long as he wanted to stay and I certainly would have been fine with him managing until he died.

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Fixing the Baseball Draft

Former Vanderbilt pitcher Mike Minor

Former Vanderbilt pitcher Mike Minor

Yesterday my Atlanta Braves inked their first round pick, Mike Minor, to a contract that contained a $2.42 million signing bonus.  This is the largest bonus ever given out to a Brave, besting Jeff Francoeur’s $2.2 million in 2002.  This got me thinking, which is generally a bad thing.

I can’t claim to have ever seen Mike Minor in person, so everything I know about him is based off of internet reports and his college stats.  Most everyone seems to agree, however, that Minor’s ceiling as a prospect is a number three or four starter.  I don’t know about you, but when one of my teams has a top 10 pick in any draft, I’d like to see them try and find a superstar.  Some examples of #7 picks from past years:  Prince Fielder – 2002, Nick Markakis – 2003,  Troy Tulowitzki – 2005, Clayton Kershaw – 2006.

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Excitement for Braves and White Sox Fans

Gordon Beckham

Gordon Beckham

Last week, new Orioles fan Weller got his wish when Matt Wieters was called up to the majors.  Today, long time Braves fan, me, got my wish when it was announced that Tommy Hanson would start Saturday’s game for the Braves against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Around the same time, it was announced that the Braves had also gotten help for their powerless outfield when they acquired Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

After all of this, the Chicago White Sox announced that their number one prospect, Gordon Beckham, would be in the lineup on Thursday.

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2009 Baseball Previews – NL East

Baseball begins one week from today with a showdown between the Atlanta Braves and the defending champions Philadelphia Phillies.  So with that in mind, we’ll take a look at the very competitive NL East.  For the AL previews check here: East, Central, WestContinue reading

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