Archive for December, 2008

66: Beneful? Caviar? What will it take?

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by Savannah Guy The Invisible Man

Now, baseball: maybe Frank Wren should start serving the Beneful equivalent to attract game. Seems what he’s putting out there is not attracting much. Hard to get the good critters with burgers when they’re used to steak.

If the Liberty strategy is to save money to get the balance sheet as profitable as possible to sell within a few years and, in the interim, placates the gullible fans with promises, wild goose chases and PR, then their strategy seems to be working pretty well.

If they are in a two or four year rebuilding mode, they should probably just go ahead and announce that. Reasonable and savvy fans would understand it and appreciate it. Judging from the general attitude of some hardcore fans (bloggers) around the county across the river, Liberty has already succeeded with willing or unwitting accomplices in the stewardship of their austerity program.

When fans start managing and hot-stoving to middlin’ budgets and looking for bargain basement prices and opting for Jair Jurrjens as staff ace, then we’re just contributing to mediocrity and wallowing in delusion. Methinks those fans get so caught up in the fantasy/Monopoly money side of baseball that they don’t see what’s actually transpiring in the real world.

Many things need to happen for the Braves to compete in 09.

Thing one: We need to close a deal. I don’t expect the Braves to spend like the Yanks or Bosox, but when there is such a brouhaha over a guy like Furcal… and then even HE turns us down, our bar is not set very high. I’m very pleased that we didn’t get Furcal. Never liked him or his attitude. The Peavy “negotiation” was a debacle. Braves need at least one bonafide ace.

Thing two: Did I say we need an ace? We do. Javier Vazquez is not Lowe and he’s certainly not Sabbathia. Heck, Lowe is not even Lowe any longer. But the Braves have Vazquez. Then, we all love Smoltz and want him to return healthy and able to pitch, but it is a fantasy to think he’ll solve any of our starter lineup issues. It’s a very long shot that he can even pitch through ST. It’s not his elbow this time, it’s the shoulder. Glavine is pretty much the same story, although his arm isn’t quite the problem. But either of our great (old) aces are at best a number four starter on a winning club. We currently have a SP lineup that will wear out our bullpen by the end of May.

Thing three: We seem to be getting caught on the wrong side of the door when it slams on the parity of MLB in this new economic era. With an individual owner that is willing to spend and compete, that door could be kicked open again, but it’ll take big spending. With the trend of Liberty, that door will stay shut until the team sells.

Thing four: The Braves need a big, dependable bat. The LF platoon won’t cut it. We don’t have a cleanup hitter. Kotchman isn’t my idea of the big bopper at first, and we have an outfield filled with question marks when it comes to power and average. We need a threat in the lineup behind Chipper and before McCann. Simple as that.

Personally, I’m of the mindset that the Braves will be in the lower to middle of the pack until the time comes that we can grow youngsters into aces, like in 91, or when Liberty sells to an owner that wants to win. Until then, Braves are still and always my team and I’ll always hope the hope of a sports fan… but my expectations are not for them to be playing ball in postseason.

Fantasizing about Wren and Company putting a championship caliber team together with balance sheet austerity, band-aides, tooth pics, bubble gum and second-tier players is not exciting hot stove material, not practical and not realistic by any stretch of the imagination.

Maybe I’m just jaded. Maybe I’m spoiled. Maybe it seems negative but it’s not. Just seems realistic. Spending time and getting all emotional and rationalizing about trades for mediocre players or has-beens just doesn’t float my boat when by doing so, I still can’t control the outcome. Braves will sign a few players. We’ll see what we have when it’s announced and the ink is dry. Braves will play ball in the spring. We shall see what we have when it’s time for them to suit up.

Until then, unless Wren and Liberty break the trend that’s become painfully apparent, the Braves will be haggling over the castoffs and second stringers and struggling to be in fourth place in the division this year.

~IM~

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65: What a revoltin’ development!

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by Carolina Lady

Stuffville, USA – Well, as Riley would say, “What a revoltin’ development this is!” (If you don’t know who Riley is, Google it.) High hopes and expectations thwarted at every turn, it seems.

Sheets, anyone?
Randy Johnson for one year?
Lowe? I doubt it.
Who else that would be an improvement over what we already have??

What about the outfield?
Pray for Frenchy! We need him to come storming back this year!
Who’s in left?
Center?

About the only positions fairly certain are Chipper at 3rd and McCann behind the plate.

Haven’t heard a peep about Kotchman.

Where’s Ohman? Didn’t the Braves make an offer? What’s up with that?

Will Bobby come back in ’10?
50/50, I think. He’ll hate to walk away from a challenge, but then maybe he’ll just be tired of it. Who will take his place?

We don’t even have the broadcast booth covered for this coming season!

OK – what do you think Wren will do? What will the roster look like at the end of ST? Will Smoltz be successful in his return? Will Glavine give it a go? Who is going to wash the dishes? (Never mind, I know the answer to that one!)

Don’t complain about the lead; it’s all I could come up with in :15! 😆

~CL~

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64: What In The Wide, Wide World Of Sports Is A-goin’ On Here?

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By: Voice of Reason Raisins           cupcake

Stuffville, USA – Well, here we are. It’s December 5, 2008, exactly one year from the day a certain Lady of Carolina stepped up to the plate and said, “Hello, World!” And thus the Braves and Stuff colossus began weaving its way into the cyber-fiber of our consciousness. We come, we go, we read, we comment, we laugh, we fume, we agree, we disagree, but we come. We gather. We assemble here in our own city block where we all have our own unique stories to tell in our own unique ways.

Over the course of a year, we have seen Grinches, Hillbillies, Jackasses, Journalists, Scribes, Guys, Girls, and Ladies. We’ve seen artists, musicians, veterans, pastry chefs, students, retirees, professionals and everything else you can imagine. We’ve encountered seals, flies, and blue werms. We’ve experienced the birth of a new Braves fan. There was even a report of a kilt sighting. Oh, the humanity!

We have come together from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Maine, New Jersey, and California just to name a few. We have agreed, we have disagreed. We have come together to pray for one another in times of crisis and difficulty, and we have celebrated together in times of joy.

At times, we can be very insightful. At times, we can be and idiots. We can talk about all things Braves, and we can digress as well. We began in the middle of one Hot Stove Season, and are fully engaged in the middle of a second. In between, we have experienced the hope of Spring Training and the disappointment of a season to forget.

And then there’s the Stuff…

Stuff is never in short supply here. There’s political stuff, humorous stuff, spiritual stuff, cooking stuff, computer stuff, car stuff, travel stuff, music stuff, personal stuff and stuff in general. Yes, we are full of stuff. We are stuffed to the Gils, (both in Mechanicsville and Jersey). Where would Braves and Stuff be without Stuff?

Yes, one year ago today, Carolina Lady began with these words,
“Hello, everybody!! This is the place to talk Braves baseball and other topics, meet friends new and old, and just hang out and enjoy yourself!

The rules are simple: keep it clean and no attacks.

Play ball!!!”

And thus it began.

The birthday party is over at Klobber’s saloon. There is Diet Coke on tap, and I understand the birthday cake is a red velvet masterpiece. Watch out for the Lincoln in the parking lot and don’t trip over the chainsaws. Some Guy dropped them whilst juggling. We’ll have a Minor League report, although it may be the last one we get from personal observation. There will also be an impromptu seminar on “How To Avoid The Filter”, given by Salty… although I can’t imagine why. I might bring my gee-tar for a few tunes.

Heck, we’ll just have a good ol’ time. Kinda like we’ve done for a year now…

~Raisins~

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