Archive for the 'Eddie Perez' Category

#133: The Future Is Now

Vox O'Raisins

Vox O’Raisins

 

2015 STARTS NOW

Not feeling very good about our team this morning. Let me clarify… not feeling good about it as a whole. Sure, there are elements and players that I still am glad we have. Freddie, Jason (hopefully for more than just 2015), Simba, most of the pitching staff…

But as a whole, this team was more than just painful, they were embarrassing. At a time when the Braves faced must-win games at home, when they had to show their mettle, they were outscored 27-9 over six games. They were shutout twice. They scored in just 4 innings out of 53. 4 out of 53! They managed just 3 ER off 6 starting pitchers. In all my years of watching baseball, I’ve never seen anything like it. This was beyond collapse. Something has to be standing up to collapse. This team seemed as though they never got off the bench.

I need to qualify that statement. Our pitchers need to sue the rest of the team for non-support. We have a lineup full of dead-beat-batters. Our starters have notched a league leading 108 quality starts through game 156 to date this season. The segment that should have an excuse, that was truly decimated before pitch 1 of game 1, leads MLB in quality starts. Yet, the Braves are heading toward a sub-.500 team for only the 3rd time since 1990.

It’s mind-boggling.Upton-BJ.Wren

Things change over time, and sometimes change quickly. Two weeks ago, I advocated for Frank to be given one more shot to correct his mistakes. As recently as a few days ago, I half-heartedly stood up for Fredi in that he has been dealt a rotten hand. But the series against the Mets revealed more than just the obvious flaws we’ve discussed ad nauseum. Frank assembled a team that lacks certain necessary game elements to be effective, and he allowed the team’s leaders to leave at the same time. His inability to get along with other staff directly led to long-time and highly respected scout Dom Chiti and coveted pitching instructor Dave Wallace leaving for other teams. And it was revealed over the weekend that John Schuerholz is the one that stepped in to the breach and prevented Roger McDowell from departing to the Phillies. This team lost several strong planks and attempted to replace them with Popsicle sticks. The boat is sinking, fellas.

Fredi Gonzalez

Fredi Gonzalez

As for Fredi, yes he was dealt a rotten hand. But he looked totally lost and defeated over this last week as well. He appeared to be grasping at straws. And while he did seem to manage his pitchers better this year, his mis-handling of Even Gattis is just unforgivable to me. And let’s not forget this is the 2nd September in the last 3 that the Braves looked like they were making vacation reservations early.

No, there is much work to be done both on and off the field. We have 2 years left before we open a brand new ballpark and a new era for the team. There is no way that Terry McGuirk and John Schuerholz are going to let this bunch pave the way. This is the offseason for the foundation to be laid. Frank is and Fredi should be gone, along with Walker/Fletcher and Tosca, and likely Dascenzo. I still believe TP and EP should be safe, given their long term ties to the championship days of this team.

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves

At least John Schuerholz finally did what had to be done and canned Wren and his right hand man Burse Manno more changes are likely. My money is on John Coppolella, but with the appointment of John Hart as interim GM and the announcement of a blue ribbon search committee consisting of Schuerholtz, Hart and surprisingly Bobby Cox, anything is possible. That said, the new guy will get started with evaluating the team top to bottom.

I would have liked to see TP lead the last 7 games to see what he’s got. I’d would be nice to see if he could rally the troops and get this team to show some pride before heading to the beach or the golf course or the woods. However, perhaps his recent back trouble precluded that. That and Bobby Cox’s support of Fredi Gonzalez.  For better or worse, Bobby still appears to be willing to take a bullet for his guy.

As far as any great hope for 2014, it walked out the door yesterday. The push for 2015 should started today.

~ Raisins ~

 

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128: And It Begins Again

by Gil Elliott 'Gil from Mechanicsville'

by Gil Elliott
‘Gil from Mechanicsville’

So, here we are again, the annual rite of spring, opening day of Major League Baseball. Okay, so the Dodgers and Diamondbacks got a jump on everyone by going down under in a convoluted scheme by the commissioner to expand the brand of MLB by playing a three day set in Australia. So, the Dodgers are up by 3 and Arizona is mired deep in the cellar of the NL West and everyone else is still busy unpacking and repacking as they prepare for the 2014 season.

However, since this is a Braves site, I won’t waste a lot of time worrying about the other 29 teams in MLB, I am going to focus primarily on this blog’s namesake. So, without further ado, let’s discuss the pluses and minuses of the Braves’ 2014 addition. First the pluses. Location, location, location…. or in baseball speak, the schedule. As opposed to last season when the Braves has one of the toughest schedules to begin the year, this season, Atlanta faces one of the easiest schedules. I’m not saying the Braves will win three out of every four games but at least they should not be mired 10 games behind the Nationals by April 10th. Is that even possible?

Santana3

Santana

The Bravos who are clearly wounded by the double whammy of Kris Medlin and Brandon Beachy going down on successive days to elbow injuries, the Braves went from pitching rich to pitching poor almost over night. At least the braves were fortunate to have Ervin Santana still available for a late spring acquisition. While Santana might never be confused as a Greg Maddux level signing, he certainly may prove to be the guy who saves Christmas for the Bravos this season.

MikeMinor3

Minor

Mike Minor and his “Damn Brother, I don’t Think I would Have Told That” condition/injury which I am sure must have been both painful and embarrassing for him. I think I would have just said I got dropped kicked in the family jewels in a bar fight and been done with it. Anyway, at least it is not an elbow….. He should be back by May and along with off season trade pick-up Gavin Floyd, who is also returning from Tommy John surgery should give the 2014 Braves a much different look as far as their pitching staff goes. After all, a starting staff of Ervin Santana, Mike Minor, Gavin Floyd, Julio Teheran and Alec Wood/Arron Harrang seems infinitely more intimidating, at least on paper, than one of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Arron Harrang and David Hale.

Venters

Venters

Of course, you just never know. Every team is on small tendon away from being on tap to being an also ran. The Braves still have a potentially strong bullpen staff. One which is the main difference between them and 20 or so other major league teams. Not saying there are not so weak links but getting back a strong Jonny Venters for the second half could be a real difference maker.

UgglaDan

Uggla

And think, we have not even begun to talk about the Braves’ offense. That could be the real difference this season for the Bravos. A rejuvenated Dan Uggla appears to be set to finally be the guy Frank Wren traded away play maker Omar Infante for. $13 million dollars a season is not that big a contract these days as far as professional baseball players go but for the Braves, it is a significant chunk of coin. Along with BJ Upton who without question was the biggest disappointment for Atlantan’s since Sherman broke thru the defenses of John B Hood in 1864, Uggla and BJ both appear ready to finally pay off on Wren’s investments.

Douomit

Doumit

Ryan Doumit also looks to be a good off season pick-up for Atlanta. A guy who has power and can play several different positions as well as catch give the Braves some protection against Evan Gattis not being able to live up to last year’s storybook season. I’ll be honest, I think Evan will get off to a bit of a slow start because he has not had the opportunity to get his timing down this spring. Remember, last year Evan won a spot due to his red hot bat which had the benefit of some winter ball to get him going. This year, we learned El Orso Blanco had off season surgery on his left knee. Who knew it was a problem? No one ever mentioned it last season. Still, the Braves will miss BMac but all and all, I think the Braves will be okay at the back stop position.

Freeman

Freeman

Freddie Freeman has been red hot all spring, he looks to be finally become the Super Star a lot of us all thought he would be. Personally, I have thought Fab 5 has been overlooked by a lot of folks as far as his value to the team. A lot of balls are snagged by Freddie that go as throwing errors for the rest of the infield whenever someone else occupies the 3 spot.

 

Heyward

Heyward

Jason Heyward has looked strong this spring and is poised to be the biggest and strongest lead off man in the majors. Put that in with a gold glove defense and I think we will finally see J-Hay begin a string of All-Star appearances. The other brother from a different mother (and father) Justin Upton hopefully will play with a little more fire. He can be really, really good at times but he sure can give appearances of being lackadaisical at times.

Simba keeping up his excellent glove work as well as the improved play of Chris Johnson at third can really benefit the Atlanta pitching staff. While I think it will be really difficult for CJ to repeat his 2013 season as far as his batting average is concerned, Andrelton’s continued maturity at the plate should make up for it. Simmons has surprising power but it is his low OBP which is worrisome.

The Braves have a strong bench with Doumit, Pena, Laird, Schafer and Pasternicky. The one thing the Braves lack is an extra power bat from the left side. Did we ever think that would be the case? After being lefty heavy for so many years?

So, let the games begin! Try not to get too high or too low because as we have seen for so many seasons, things can change in the blink of an eye. Riding high in April, shot down in May…. So true, especially in baseball. 162 games of nail biting and then there are the play offs but first you have to throw out the first pitch.

Gil2

74: How’s it looking?

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

    

So. What’s going on in baseball?

Manny has his $8.5m condo in Boston up for sale. (That’ll show ’em, Manny!) 🙄

Smoltz is happy is Boston. I wish him well. (shrug)

Junior is 0-9. But, according to sports writers, the fans are ‘energized’. 🙂

The Yankees drama continues. (Their behavior and ‘drama’ remind me of a bunch of junior high school girls)

…..yawn….

What about the Braves?

I really like what I see. They are a ‘get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in’ type team – and I desperately hope Bobby will play them that way!

Look at yesterday’s game against the Yankees as one example:
Hitters got on base, Kotchman hits a 2-run double. Braves lead.
Later, Prado hits a double, Escobar hits a sac fly, Prado scores. Braves win.

The pitching is definitely there, IMHO. (Dear Lord, please don’t let them fall apart again this year!)

Kawakami needs a little more acclimation time, I think, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t wind up impressing us all.

hanson1And speaking of impressing: Hanson. Oh, wow! I want to see him in the regular rotation, but I don’t want it to be too early. Is he really ready? Judging by the comments I read from players, I’d have to say ‘yes’.

Then I read this from Cox about another young pitcher, Kris Medlen:
medlenk“”Medlen is impressive,” Cox said. “Everything that you hear about that kid, you like. He doesn’t walk anybody and he’s got three plus pitches, for me. He’s got a plus fastball, plus changeup and a plus breaking ball, with control. A lot of guys have plus-this and plus-that, but they don’t have control like he’s got.”

Continuing from Mark Bowman:
“Labeled by some as a poor man’s Greg Maddux, Medlen, who might actually look younger than Brent Lillibridge, possesses a fastball that rests between 91-93 mph and a changeup that has caught the attention of the Braves and many scouts from around the league.

Medlen’s stock began to soar after he was placed in Double-A Mississippi’s starting rotation midway through the 2008 season. In the 92 1/3 innings he worked as a starter, Medlen recorded 90 strikeouts and issued 21 walks.

Given a chance to make another solid impression during the Arizona Fall League, Medlen worked 25 innings, registered 25 strikeouts, issued just one walk and held opponents to a .203 batting average.”

gonzo1Moylan & Co in the bullpen look good. Gonzo seems ready and eager to go.

I can’t help but feel good about the pitching staff and the youngsters in the pipeline.

I like the infield. Not spectacular, but more than adequate. Steady. And that can take you places instead of always having to wait for a flash in the sun. Combine steadiness with occasional flashes and we might be pleased with the result.

The outfield. Garret Anderson. BIG, BIG plus! I’m very pleased with him as a person and a player. In centerfield, I think the team has a lot of potential with either of several players. In right? Well, I’m hopeful, I’ll leave it at that. (I read that Wrenn said something to the effect that they see improvement, are pleased with his efforts and feel that JF only needs some more time to finish putting it together’.)

andersongI also think that Garret’s very presence in the outfield will have a positive effect on the other 2 outer positions. For once, ‘veteran presence’ actually means something! There are people who can inspire others to perform at a higher level and I get the impression that GA is one of them.

Mac catching, David Ross backup. We’re secure there. (And a few days ago, I didn’t even know who Ross was! 🙄 Give me time; I’ll get there! 😆 )

Niggling things I don’t like:

~Kawakami doesn’t speak English; I read that during games, his interpreter will not be allowed to accompany Bobby/whoever to the mound. Why??

~The comment was made that Mac needs to be in ST instead of at the WBC so ‘he could learn Japanese.’ Ummm, why doesn’t Kawakami bother learn English if he’s going to play here??

~Chino is still bench coach. Eddie Perez should be in that spot and Chino should be in the bullpen.

OK – what do you think?

~CL~

 

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54: Who ARE these guys?? …part 3

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

by Carolina Lady

Bill James said of him, “He looks like a hobbit.”

Listed as 5’7″, Glenn Dee Hubbard was born in 1957 at Hahn AFB, West Germany, is married and has three sons.

Drafted right out of high school in 1975, made his major league debut in 1978 when he was promoted after being named Rookie of the Year in Richmond, Hubbard played for the Braves from ’78-’87, then signed as a free agent with Oakland for his final two playing years. (Others who debuted in the same year are Paul Molitor, Ozzie Smith, Pedro Guerrero, Mike Morgan, Dave Stewart and Terry Kennedy.)

Through 10 years with the Braves and 2 with the A’s, Glenn was better known for his fielding than his hitting, though he was an excellent bunter who led the National League in sacrifice outs in 1982. A steady glove and his willingness to stand his ground while turning a double play, even with a runner coming at him full tilt, made him a valuable asset.

A check of the records indicates that he holds the Braves’ fielding records for second basemen in all categories.

In 1981 he set a then Atlanta Braves’ record for second basemen with a .991 fielding percentage, but his most successful year was in 1983, when he hit .263, set career highs with 12 home runs and 70 RBI and was also named to the National League All-Star team.

He led all NL second basemen in double plays in 1982, 1985 and 1987. Post-Season play: 1982 NLCS, 1983 All-Star, 1988 World Series (A’s).

A couple of career-total numbers that stand out to me are:

– in the 1,354 games he played (11,206 innings)

– he had 2,795 POs (that’s more than 2 per game)

– 4,444 assists (more than 3 per game)

– committed only 127 errors in 12 years – or about 10 a year; that’s .06 per game. Or, just for fun, that’s 0.01 over the 11,206 innings he played.

– had 975 DPs

– and a .983 FP

Wow.

For that he was paid grandiose sums –

Year Salary
1985 $455,000
1986 $505,000
1987 $555,000
1988 $425,000

Before joining the Braves major league staff in 1999, Glenn spent the previous nine years coaching in the Braves’ minor leagues: Bradenton [’90], Macon [’91-’92, ’94, ’98] and Richmond.

Hubbard seems to have a gift for teaching. from an article at MLB.com:

Throughout the offseason, when they were targeting Kelly Johnson to serve as their starting second baseman, the Braves possessed a confidence that was created by the remarkable work Glenn Hubbard had done with Marcus Giles.

As Braves general manager John Schuerholz remembers, there was a time when “Marcus couldn’t catch a cold.” But Hubbard worked diligently with Giles at Class A Macon in 1999, and by the time the 2003 season ended, the young second baseman had become a Major League All-Star with Gold Glove potential.


“I think if Hubby can turn me into an average second baseman,
compared to where I was in the Minors, he could probably turn you guys (in the media) into a pretty good second baseman,” Giles said as he and his Padres teammates prepared for Monday night’s series opener against the Braves at Turner Field.


Johnson is certainly a better athlete than the media members that Giles was speaking to on Monday. But he had never previously played second base and thus it has been remarkable to see him evolve into a dependable defender, who has committed just one error in his first 141 chances of the year.


“Kelly Johnson has been brilliant there,” said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who last week said his new second baseman was playing the position as well as Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski once did.

Having seen what Hubbard, who was a sure-handed second baseman in Atlanta from 1978-87, has done with both Giles and Johnson, Cox thinks it’s time people realize the importance of his current first-base coach.


“I think Glenn’s name never gets mentioned, but it certainly needs to be,” Cox said. “He turned them into really great second basemen.”


Because Giles’ cost was beginning to surpass the offensive value he was providing, the Braves opted to not re-sign him after last season. He says that he understands it was a business decision that has given him the opportunity to play in his hometown of San Diego and with his older brother, Brian, who is a Padres outfielder.


“About the biggest thing I do miss over here is Hubby,” Giles said. “Just having him there to remind me of the tips of how to play defense and the room service (batting practice) that he throws, I kind of miss that, too.”

Hubbard isn’t very happy with the new edict that now requires him to wear a helmet on the field. This from an ESPN story:

Glenn Hubbard trotted on the field Wednesday wearing a helmet — and feeling downright ridiculous.

“You know what it feels like?” he asked before a spring training game. “Look at that kid over there.”

Hubbard pointed toward a young batboy standing at the edge of the Braves dugout, his head dutifully covered by a helmet.

“That’s what I feel like,” Hubbard said, not bothering to hide the disgust in his voice. “A batboy.”

Hobbit or not, helmet or not, Glenn Hubbard is a good man to have in your corner: unpretentious, hardworking, down-to-earth, steady. Somebody you can respect.

~CL~

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53: Who ARE these guys??? ….part 2

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

by Carolina Lady

Continuing the thought – who are these guys we see on the field and in the dugout, anyway?

Who’s next?

Chino Cadahia

Chino Cadahia

Aurelio Cadahia.

Chino.

Born in Havana, Cuba on November 22, 1957 so he’s coming up on age 51. His playing info says “Hits right, Throws right, 6’0″ and 245 lbs” – that may have changed… 🙂 Attended and was signed out of Miami-Dade New World Center Community College. Lives in Peachtree City with wife Lynn and daughter Lauren.

Chino was drafted in the first round of the Jan 1977 amateur draft by the Phillies. Played seven years in the minors, started out mostly as a first baseman, but by his 2nd year was an All-Star catcher – despite a Appalachian League-leading 17 passed balls. He spent some time in the Twins chain and was the California League All-Star backup – even with 19 errors.

Cadahia came to the Braves in 1996 after serving in the Texas Rangers organization for 12 years as a pitching coach and manager in their minor league system. He began his coaching career as a pitching coach at Salem of the Carolina League from 1984 through 1985. The following year he managed Daytona Beach of the Florida State League, and in 1987 he managed at Gastonia of the South Atlantic League. From 1988 through 1995, Cadahia managed the Rangers Gulf Coast League rookie squad in Port Charlotte, Florida.

While in the Ranger’s system, Chino was the first manager of a 16-year-old kid named Ivan Rodriguez, is the one who nicknamed him “Pudge,” and is generally credited with Pudge’s development into a first-class catcher. From an MLB article:

He just called me that name,” Rodriguez said. “Now everybody knows me from that name because of him.”

Giving Rodriguez his famous nickname isn’t the only influence Cadahia had on the 13-time All Star’s career. When Rodriguez signed with Texas in the summer of 1988, he was sent to the Gulf Coast League, where Cadahia was managing a team in Port Charlotte, Fla. Cadahia showed Rodriguez the ropes, on and off the field.

“He always took me to work out and work on blocking and throwing and things like that to make me a better player,” Rodriguez said. “He helped me a lot to become a better catcher and a better player.”


Besides learning the game on a professional level, Rodriguez had to learn a new language after coming to the Rangers from Puerto Rico. Cadahia, who is Cuban, helped him with that. Cadahia also showed Rodriguez how to adapt to life on his own, giving tips on typical household chores.


“We had him at 16 years old and he was brand new to this game,” Cadahia said. “He didn’t know the ups and downs, the everyday grind and how to prepare. He didn’t know how to live on your own or how to do laundry or anything like that. He was just a baby, so he had to go through all those hassles.”

So what is a bench coach, anyway? I liked this description from an article I found:

The number of coaches used by big league teams has evolved over the years. Base coaches often double up as infield, outfield, and base-running instructors. There is also the pitching coach, hitting coach, and bullpen coach, who often oversees the catchers, too. And now you have the bench coach, which usually can be divided among those whose decades of experience – often as former managers – make them invaluable, and those who are managers-in-training.

Joe Torre believes the first bench coach was longtime manager Don Zimmer, who for a decade sat Yoda-like next to Torre on the Yankees bench.

“It started with me and Zim,” Torre said. “(Red) Schoendienst was the closest I had in St. Louis. He’d come up to me and remind me of something from time to time. When I sat with Zim, he sort of brought me along. I was a little bit more on the conservative side and he was more on the aggressive side. We met somewhere in the middle.

“You know what’s great about a bench coach? The fact you can bounce stuff off somebody instead of laying in bed at night, second-guessing what you did.”

“You know what’s great about a bench coach?” Zimmer once told Esquire Magazine? “Not much.”
😆

From a 2006 Baseball America interview with Dayton Moore:

BA: Whenever anyone mentions the Braves, the first thing they talk about is developing pitching. But, like we all started to notice with the emergence of Brian McCann and the development of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, you guys develop catchers too.


DM: We’ve got a great catching instructor here who’s also our field coordinator in Chino Cadahia. He does a tremendous job and has been working with catchers since he worked with Pudge Rodriguez when he was coming through the Texas organization.

Atlanta Braves catchers coach Chino Cadahia (52) goes over basic positioning at the team's spring training baseball camp in Lake Buena Vista Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

Atlanta Braves catchers coach Chino Cadahia (52) goes over basic positioning at the team's spring training baseball camp in Lake Buena Vista Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

Somehow I’ve lost the link to the next quote so I apologize to the original source while I continue looking for it.

Q: When the Braves win, do you experience a particular kind of satisfaction as a bench coach who prepares these guys every day?

CHINO: Having had a lot of these kids in the minor leagues, and to see where they are and to see them play in this environment in front of 30-, 40-, 50,000 people and get it done, you know, it’s a big satisfaction. You feel like you had a little bit to do with that, you know, and not just me personally, but – what’s the word I’m looking for – the whole program in the minor leagues, you know, all the steps that they took, and the instructional leagues, the spring trainings, you know, all the things we’ve done with them.

We’ve got them not only physically but mentally ready to be able to do this, so you feel like a part of it. In general we’ve (Atlanta’s organization) been very successful doing that with young kids. We take a lot of pride in doing it. A lot of organizations try to do it the way we do it, or, you know, try and copy our system or whatever and, you know, pretty much its black-and-white, but it’s the people that make it happen: the scouts, the coaches, the managers, the instructors, the front-office people, that’s what makes it happen.

And then the end result, you know, you see Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur and Chucky James and Yunel Escobar and all the young guys that have played here, you know, get it done on this level, it gives you an awful lot of satisfaction to see them, you know, perform at this level.

Every once in a while they’ll talk about stuff they did in Rome, Ga. (where the minor-league Rome Braves play), or in an instructional league, because it takes a lot for them to be able to perform at this level, even as talented as they are. It’s a lot of sacrifice.


Q: And to get where you are today, you had to go through a lot of the same kinds of things.

CHINO: Yeah, coaches are the same way. Brian [Snitker] was a coach up here in the ’80s; it took him 20-some years to get back up to the big leagues, you know, every coach. When I started coaching, this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a Major League coach. If I would have known it was going to take 24 years, I might have gone to another profession, but not really.

Q: Is the feeling you have now just utter contentment?

CHINO: No, I think, believe it or not, it’s just the satisfaction. Once I got into it, and you put both feet into it, you know, you feel like a part of something special. I never looked at it like, jeez, I’m on my 20th year now, or I’m on my 21st year or my 19th year, you know, I just did whatever my job was as good as I could do it, hoping that one day the opportunity will come up.

For some guys, it’ll take 24 years (to make it to the Majors), for most of the guys it never happens. So you know, you got to weigh both of them. There are five or six coaches for each team, you know, that’s 180 jobs. You’re looking to be one of 180, so, you know, percentages are not with you a lot of the time. You just hope that you make a difference in the minor leagues and you help a lot of young players and you do your work, your job, and you do it real good and somebody notices.

A lot of this is timing also. It’s just like anything else, you know, you gotta pay your dues, you gotta be a good guy, you gotta be able to do your work and your job and people have to respect you for that, and I’ve always taken a lot of pride, personally doing my job. And I’m surrounded by people that are, you know – I’ve had real good role models to follow. It’s a good combination, as far as that’s concerned.

Look closely at the cart!

Look closely at the cart!

Chino. We poke fun at him (probably too often) but he obviously has experience though somehow I just don’t see him being a ML manager. What do you think?

~CL~

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52: Who ARE these guys?? …..part 1

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

by Carolina Lady

We see them on the field, we know their names, we talk about what they do or don’t do, but what do we really know about them? The coaches?

This guy for instance. Back in 2005, he ran in Miller Park’s sausage race as the bratwurst (didn’t win.) I never knew! 😆

In a ten-year career, he was a .253 hitter with 40 home runs and 172 RBI in 564 games. His post-season credits include: 1996 NLCS, 1996 World Series, 1996 NL Div Series, 1997 NLCS, 1997 NL Div Series, 1998 NL Div Series, 1998 NLCS, 1999 NL Div Series, 1999 NLCS, 1999 World Series, 2004 NL Div Series , and was the 1999 NL NLCS MVP.

He made his MLB debut in Sep 1995, the same year as Ray Durham, Johnny Damon, Edgardo Alfonzo, Derik Jeter, Jason Giambi, Billy Wagner and Mariano Rivera.

Eddie Perez

Eddie Perez

Eduardo Rafael Pérez was born May 4, 1968 in Venezuela.

Here are some excerpts from a great article about Eddie, written by Jill Lieber of USAToday in 1999:

Braves backup catcher Eddie Perez has been reduced to a plodding, slump-shouldered, knock-kneed M*A*S*H* unit.

Name a body part, and the battered and bruised Perez has injured it in some way, shape or form. His shoulders, biceps, thighs and ribs have been tattooed with large, round, black and purple hematomas, the result of being the human backstop for hundreds of foul tips.

His jaw, now chronically arthritic, snaps, crackles and pops every time he speaks or chews, thanks to all those 90-mph fastballs that have ricocheted into his catcher’s mask.

His left index finger constantly swells and throbs, a 24-hour reminder of pitch after pitch having slammed into his mitt.

And a broken blood vessel in the middle finger on his left hand kept him out of Sunday’s World Series Game 2.

His knees are riddled with painful tendinitis, and let’s not forget those spike wounds, or that stunning concussion.

“Eddie’s like a magnet,” says Braves coach Pat Corrales, who

Making the tag

caught for four major league teams from 1967-75, including a stint as the backup to Cincinnati Reds’ Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. “I’ve never seen anybody take as many blows.”

……..

Mental and physical toughness, the patience of a saint and the dutiful prayers of his beloved family have carried Perez to the top of the baseball world this season.

It was only two weeks ago that the 31-year-old from Cuidad Ojeda, Venezuela, vaulted himself into America’s consciousness in the National League Championship Series. He hit .500 against the Mets and was named the NLCS Most Valuable Player.

…….

The second youngest of Salvador and Lila Perez’s six sons, Eddie grew up in the oil-rich region of eastern Venezuela. His father, recently retired, worked for 50 years in one of the local oil refineries.

When he was 7 years old, Eddie learned to play baseball from Salvador, a longtime catcher for several of the great local amateur club teams. The following year, inspired by his father’s passion for the position, Eddie, now 8, moved to catcher.

In September 1986, right before Perez was to graduate from high school, Pedro Gonzalez, a Braves scout and longtime coach in the Dominican Republic, plucked him out of a crowd of 62 players at a local tryout. Perez signed a $15,000 free-agent contract with the Braves and a $5,000 pact with the Venezuelan Winter League’s Aragua Tigres, which were managed by countryman Davey Concepcion.

I was rich,” Perez says.

…..

For the next nine years, Perez languished in the minors, playing winter ball in Venezuela to make up for all the time he spent on the bench, right up through this past offseason.

Tragedy struck in 1993. While sliding into home plate against Class AA Huntsville (Ala.) on May 23, Perez dislocated his tailbone. He flew home to Venezuela to recuperate and did not return to the team until Aug. 27. “The first day I got back, one of the coaches told me to get dressed, that I was taking batting practice,” Perez says. “It was raining, and he thought it would be a good chance to practice sliding. I was panicked.

“He said, ‘Run and slide in front of me.’ I was so afraid to try that I kept running and running, but I couldn’t ever find the courage to slide. Finally, he ordered me to do it. When I did, and I had no pain, it was the best moment of my career.”

Well, until he fought back from the emotional devastation of having been dissuaded by coaches from going to Venezuela for the birth of daughter Maried .

Until he was named the MVP of the Venezuelan Winter League in ’94.

Until he was called up to the Braves on Aug. 30, 1995.

And until he was named NLCS MVP last week.

“That’s the biggest thing to ever happen to me,” Perez says.

The new two-story Duluth, Ga., home he and wife Marisol, his childhood sweetheart, share with their two children, Maried, now 5 1/2, and Andres Eduardo, 17 months, is filled with bouquets of flowers from friends and Braves fans.

Salavador and Lila, who have been visiting Atlanta since late September, are caught up in the whirlwind of the postseason. Marcos and Jolanda Nava, Marisol’s parents, came along, too.

This is the first time Salvador and Lila have been able to attend Eddie’s games together since their son signed with the Braves back in ’87.

“This is too much, too exciting,” says Salvador, with Eddie translating.

Says Lila, who also does not speak English: “It’s an incredible dream. I’m crying all the time.”

Adds Salvador, “I cry, too.”

And so does their son. His tears come from a much deeper place than the delight of having won the MVP trophy and playing for the Braves in the World Series. The tears mean Perez finally has made it in America.

“My family never let me quit,” Perez says. “That they’re here to share in one of the most important moments in my life means so much to me.”

from The Sporting News, 1999:

“I’m a nobody,” Eddie Perez says. “Just one of the guys on the roster, doing his job. Javy (Lopez) will be back next season, and I’ll be on the bench again.”


Yes, Lopez will return as the Braves’ No. 1 catcher in 2000, healed from the knee injury that sidelined him in July for the balance of the 1999 season. But no, Perez does not qualify as a nobody.


Perez, best known as Greg Maddux’s catcher and an able fill-in for Lopez since becoming a full-time member of the Braves in
1996, has added to his resume the past 2 1/2 weeks. Against the Mets in the NLCS, Perez went 10-for-20 and hit two home runs, the second a game-winning shot in Game 2. Perez, a native of Venezuela, hit .500 in the thrill-a-minute series, with the rest of the Atlanta offense batting a composite .194.

…………..

“I’m not a good hitter,” Perez was insisting as he rocked the Mets time and again. “I’m just hot, I guess.”


True, Perez hasn’t exactly been a hitting machine in his four full seasons in the majors–as his career average of .259 attests–but he has made significant contributions. In 1998, he batted .336 in 61 games, and his grand slam in the division series assured Atlanta a place in the NLCS. This season, he hit .266 after the All-Star break.


Manager Bobby Cox, understandably, is high on Perez.

“He’s not an out guy by any means,” Cox says. “He’s a great defensive catcher, a skilled catcher who can catch and throw and work the pitchers.”

Perez, 31, was thrilled to be named MVP–the vote was unanimous–in this year’s NLCS. “I think this is the biggest thing that has happened to me,” he says. “Winning the World Series in ’95 was nice, but I didn’t have a chance to play.”

Perez, a late-season call-up four years ago after spending nine seasons in the minor leagues, was in the lineup for Game 1 of the 1999 World Series but didn’t start Game 2.


“I’m a backup,” maintains Perez, whose humility and disarming smile make him a favorite with Braves fans. “But I have to be ready because we don’t have Javy (a close friend). My main thing is catching. I try to take at-bats as they come.


“… (Pitchers) don’t want to pitch to Chipper (Jones). They don’t want to pitch to Brian (Jordan). They want to pitch to Eddie.”


Not anymore.

Doug Glanville wrote a really funny article for the NY Times called Lovers, Not Fighters in which he wrote:

The major leagues also had its share of comedy. Take the fight I was in with the Atlanta Braves, when I was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Over the course of a week, my teammate Paul Byrd, a pitcher, had unintentionally hit Braves catcher Eddie Perez not once but twice in the back.

Perez and Byrd had once been teammates (and Bible study partners), but Perez had apparently left forgiveness at the door. When Byrd stepped up to the plate for his next at-bat, Perez hit him and then jumped him. Since I was on-deck and the closest player to the fray, I ran over to pry them apart.

The next thing I knew, I was at the bottom of a pile of players, my legs trapped, spikes barely missing my various body parts. The Braves’ Ozzie Guillen evidently decided that the best way to get out of the pile was to pull me out by the head. I had a stiff neck for three days.

What I found interesting was that instead of Perez and Byrd ripping each other’s hair out, they were locked together in a protective embrace, apologizing and praying to get out of this mass of humanity. Everyone within earshot was wondering why we all risked physical harm for a séance.

To add injury to absurdity, when our bullpen coach came running in from left field to join the fight, he pulled a hamstring halfway to the pile.

Then there is the video where Tim Hudson scares the daylights out of Eddie at the team hotel:

Just my opinion, but I think he’s a pretty neat person and I’m glad I know a little more about who is really is. Hope you enjoy it, too!

~CL~

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