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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It’ll be a Brave new World

Well the Bobby Cox era came to a close this week and I have to say that while I am sad to see him go, I’m not all that disappointed with the Brave’s finish this year despite them losing in the first round. It was a good year for the Braves all things considering. They spent the better part of the summer overachieving and in first place and they made it to the playoffs as the NL wildcard team when a lot of people wrote them off after the loss of Chipper Jones late in the year.

Freddie Gonzalez will take over as Braves manager come spring training and he’ll have a lot of tough questions to answer. Who will play 3B? Who is going to be in the outfield? Who is going to close games out of the bullpen? Where are the runs going to come from in the lineup?

Surprisingly, the Braves finished the year 13th in runs scored, 14th in batting average, 18th in slugging percentage, and 4th in on base percentage. At no point did they ever look like that kind of offense to me. While those numbers are in the middle of the pack, I never saw this year’s team as any kind of offensive power. The strength of this year’s team was obviously in its pitching. (3rd in ERA, 5th in WHIP,, and 7th in BAA). Tm Hudson was a stud all year long and D. Lowe was awesome down the stretch. It’s no wonder that out playoff series was the first in history to have all the games decided by one run.

Next year has more questions than answers right now. While the starting pitching should be improved with the return of JJ and Tommy Hanson entering his third year, the offense needs to be overhauled. Only Brian McCann put up solid numbers throughout the year. Martin Prado should return fully healthy but can he put up those kind of numbers again? Will Derrick Lee be playing first base? Will Jason Heyward get it together and perform at a consistent level all year long? Who knows?

I do think that the Braves can contend next year. But, they are going to need to pick up some offense in the market because I just don’t see chipper Jones coming back and even if he does, you know he’s only good for about 80-90 games.

But, all that can wait till Spring. For now, it’s time to say goodbye to Bobby Cox. He’s been with the Braves since I was a little kid and I’ll miss seeing him get thrown out of games. I had to look it up, but Russ Nixon was the manager in Atlanta before Cox. Who the hell is Russ Nixon? Anyway, Cox managed 4,508 games (he won over 2,500 of those) and led the Braves to 14 straight Division Titles and that one World Series Championship. He won manager of the year 3 times in the National League and once in the AL with Toronto.

One of my favorite Bobby Cox quotes about being thrown out of games was this one:
"I’m like, ‘What do I do?’ He said, ‘Go have a couple cold beers and get in the cold tub or something and relax. And then you’ll probably have to write a $500 check. Or you can do what I do, write a $10,000 one and tell them when it runs out, let me know'."

Here’s to you Bobby! Atlanta will miss you!


Ma' said...

good tribute to Bobby Cox--wonder if they got his name spelled right on the cake this time.

MAC is wack said...

The end of an era. Didn't Gonzalez just get canned? I thought that situation was kind of wierd... he wasn't exactly doing a bad job. Whatever. You're right, Chipper is done. So is D. Lee. I was pulling for them in their series, but I've always held an affinity for the AL. It's not logical, I know, but it's there. Now I just don't care. The Yankees and the Rangers. That makes me want to puke.

On a nother note, your beatdown of the week for next week (not this one) should already be awarded to whomever is on KU's schedule. I'm too lazy to look it up, but it doesn't matter.

Peace out, hermano.