(For reasons of time, this post is being written at 2 o’clock on Tuesday.)
Boy, that was some All-Star Game, huh? How about when that one thing happened? And that other thing! Wow, I’m glad I’m not that guy.
(UPDATE AFTER THE GAME:Â Seriously, I wrote it then, before that thing and that guy did that other thing.)
This is a question for all the grizzled oldsters out there: did the All-Star Game, way back in the Before-time, in the Long Long Ago, used to not suck? Was it cool once upon a time, like when Stan Musial used to hit home runs to win the game for the NL?
Or was it always a wasted weekend?
Well, I’ve always thought it was cool, in my 23-year old mind. I’ve watched it every year since 1996. I heard 1995’s on the radio in Hawai’i (No joke, I stayed in my hotel room and listened to it on the TV’s radio). Of course, I can’t really relate to the old-timers, as the National League used to be so good, now they’ve lost every damn one I’ve watched after ’96! Yes, even in 2002! The NL had the lead in that game too in the eighth!
I like the All-star game, and I watch every year, so I guess I am in the minority. I also like the rule that every team must have a player. I enjoyed Brad Penny striking out the side in the first, and the HRs by Vlad and David Wright. I went to bed after the 7th inning, so I missed the excitment at the end. What bugs me is not the game itself, but the presentation. I turned the volume off during the inning-long interviews with the managers, and fast-forwarded through the award ceremony in the middle of the game. Also, while I like “God Bless America” I would rather have watched someone sing “Take me out to the ballgame.”
I too must admit that I watched the game. I like the game, but wish it was just played w/o commentary. I was screaming at the tv during the player introductions because you couldn’t hear the crowds reactions over all the FOX graphics on the screen. Seriously what is up with all the sound effects.
I also shut it down around the 8th inning so I missed the fireworks at the end. I said I watch the game, but if anything more interesting comes along I lose interest.
It’s an exhibition game and like any exhibition game it’s only interesting if the score is close. Last night’s was so I enjoyed it. The whole World Series home field advantage angle is both a bad idea and largely a sham. I didn’t see the managers doing anything different because home field advantage was at stake than they used to do. If they were really trying to win to get homefield, the rosters, lineups, and substitutions would have been much different. I hope they remove the homefield advantage from the All-Star winner and just give it to the World Series team with the better regular season record.
BTW, does anybody know if this is the first All-Star game since the streak began that the NL roster did not have a pitcher from Atlanta on it? Smoltz probably would have made it actually if the bullpen hadn’t blown so many of his games.
I watched most of the game. Occasionally something else on TV would catch my eye and I go there and forget to go back for awhile, but I think I actually ended up seeing most of it.
One of the double plays that was turned was about the worst double plays I have ever seen. Although I’m not positive, I think it was in the top of the 7th and Wells was up to bat for the AL. Whoever it was, he hit the ball to third. It was a slow chopper and when it was hit I wasn’t at all sure it was hit hard enough to turn two. The third baseman catches it and throws to second. The second baseman can’t get it out of his glove. At that point I knew there was really no way the NL would ever get two. The second baseman finally gets a hold on the ball and throws it to first…and the runner was out by like 5 or 6 steps. It was so pathetic. I know it was just an exhibition game, but if you’re going to exhibit something you might as well do it right.
Had the batter even run a little hard he would have been safe by a long shot. I just thought that was an awful play all around by the guys who are supposed to be the best in this sport. I mean, little leaguers could have done better.
It was not. In 2004, the Braves’ only All-Star was Johnny Estrada.
lists of Braves All-Stars year by year
The NL is 5 for its last 15 in the World Series
Hank Aaron’s run of 20 strait allstar games is crazy
I don’t have a link, but apparently Selig wants to put in some rule where pitchers selected for the ASG can’t pitch the Sunday before.
This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. And it’ll never go through. If it does, I hope every star boycotts the ASG next year so Selig can see just how little people care about it. What a joke.
And Aubrey Huff was traded to the Astros for 2 minor-leaguers.
Selig needs to be canned
I agree CSG, but I wonder who would replace him?
The Huff trade was reported in the previous thread.
The DP ball was hit by Glaus, and he wasn’t actuall out by 5 or 6 steps. More like .5 or 1.
Dale Murphy for Commish. Or George W. Bush. 😉
Well, his brother Jeb is/was in the running for NFL commissioner. That would be pretty cool. Two Bushes as commissioners of the two biggest sports leagues.
I can see the ASG being more interesting if you hadn’t seen some of the players before. Now we have mlb.com and extra innings and whatnot. I’d rather they go out and have fun than all the “it counts” bs. Last night’s game was pretty boring, other than watching Brad Penny try to blow out his elbow.
Oh yeah, the reason I came to the comments: if Smoltz had made the All-Star team, I wonder if Phil Garner would have considered having him close it out in the ninth. That would be the baddest thing I’ve ever seen in an All-Star game, Smoltz coming in after being converted back to a starter and mowing down the AL 1-2-3 for a save. Bad.
It would indeed have been bad. Remember, the plan back in ’02 was to go Wagner-Gagne-Smoltz in the 7th-8th-9th. Only Gagne blew it before it got to Smoltz. That was in the middle of that consecutive saves streak, too. We should give that punk an asterisk.
I laughed so hard when Guillen brought Rivera into the game. I bet Torre and Cashman were about ready to spit.
Gagne* – done, count it!
Why do you say put an asterisk? Are you… implying anything… Stu?
can anyone find Andruw in this picture?
Franco better stay in shape to catch this guy
Thanks for the Braves All-Stars link. I was almost right. Every year from ’91-’03 the Braves had a pitcher in the ASG. That they haven’t had one 2 of the last 3 years should tell you all you need to know about the decline of this club.
I’d be thrilled to appoint W to the MLB commissionership, but only if it could happen immediately. However, given his business track record, MLB would probably go the way of the WFL.
The Astros just picked up Aubrey Huff from the Rays for two double A prospects. He has struggled this year a little but was also injured for a while. I think he’ll have a pretty good second half. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Braves pick him up. Plays 1B, 3B and OF and I would rather see him than LaDouche out there every day. Seemed a pretty cheap pickup but is in the last year of his contract. Anyone with any thoughts on that?
If the shrub were made commissioner of baseball, two years from now baseball would have a smaller audience than lacrosse or tiddlywinks.
On to reality. Smoltz was a deserving All-Star this year. He is 10th in the NL in VORP, and only .4 run from 8th. The bullpen blew six wins for him; an 11-5 or 12-5 Smoltz probably makes the All-Star team.
Huff: 283/348/461 (career 287/343/477). LaRoche: 255/329/483.
That difference isn’t worth two of our prospects. The only corner player Huff’s a clear improvement on at the plate is Francoeur, and how likely is it that we’ll trade for someone to replace him?
Houston is playing Preston Wilson (284/322/424) regularly in left and Jason Lane (205/330/393) in right, so they need the upgrade. But Huff would not have helped us very much.
We don’t need any hitter per say, we need pitching!
The Braves have plenty of mediocre hitters already. They didn’t need Huff.
NY Giants 43-29
Chicago Cubs 41-36
St. Louis Cardinals 40-38
Philadelphia Phillies 35-36
Cincinnati Reds 37-39
Brooklyn Robins 33-37
Pittsburgh Pirates 33-38
Boston Braves 32-41
No blue laws in St. Louis, so the Braves could play and win in St. Louis on a Sunday. The score was 12-5.
I think, if the Phillies are making Gordon available, we ought to take a shot at him if it doesnt cost too much, he can close, and has done it in high pressure situations (see Dan Kolb)…..
I like the Gordon idea in theory, but he’s set to make 7 million next year, which is too high for a closer, in my opinion. Still, I wouldn’t be devastated if we were to get him.
Lance, that’s not a bad idea: Philly is paying Tom Gordon so much that we might be able to take him off their hands if we offered to eat his salary, and we have the money to do so since Chipper restructured his contract and we got Hampton’s insurance money…
Of course, all those things were true in the offseason when John Schuerholz decided that the best strategy for shoring up the bench and bullpen was bringing back Mike Remlinger and Brian Jordan. So maybe John isn’t in a spending mood right now. Really aggravating to me. Also, I doubt that Philly would dangle Gordon just yet, but you never know.
Is anybody as completely bored as I am and planning to watch the AAA All-Star game tonight? Where can I find a list of who’s playing? It might be interesting for the sole reason that I haven’t seen any of the guys play before.
Re: Tom Gordon
We could have absorbed the 7 million this year, but I doubt we can afford his 7 million next year. That being said I would take any resemblance of a big league closer at this point.
And Jenny yes I am bored, but not that bored… 🙂
I don’t think we can get Gordon, but if we could get him for the right price and such, I’d say go for it!
Brian J-I love your daily 1914 Updates!
DOB’s blog is good today
Jenny, have you checked out MILB.com? They usually have a lot of good minor-league info.
rosters for AAA game
What if we shipped them an expiring contract, like an NBA deal….say, maybe Thompson, or someone of that caliber. I really really believe, if we were to get a closer, we could make a lot of our problems go away.
Thanks for the compliment, Smitty! I started them last week during the discussion about the possibility that the Braves could come back from last place- and then realized that the Braves have done it before, and in fact are the only team that could say they’ve done it before.
1914 was a fascinating era in baseball. Although I haven’t gone into it much, the AL was in the middle of a wild pennant race (the top six teams are separated, as of today, by just 5 games- and the Yankees aren’t one of them), and the Federal League was the strongest challenge yet to the entrenched powers of the AL and NL. (The anti-trust lawsuit that cemented the majors’ power was still eight years in the future.)
As for the AAA All-Star Game, here is a story containing the starting lineups and pitchers, and http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com has a direct link to GameDay coverage. Richmond’s only All-Star is C Carlos Mendez, chosen to replace Scott Thorman.
The Braves got about $7 million from insuring Hampton. That can cover any reliever in baseball for half a season, and I’m not sure we need more than that given the talent coming off the shelf for 2007.
Who is Carlos Mendez? Is he any good?
Mendez is pretty much a Crash Davis type. He’s 32, was signed by the Royals as an undrafted FA in 1991, and has been bouncing around the minors for half his life- he’s been at the AAA affiliates for Kansas City, Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore, and Atlanta. His only major league experience is 26 games in Baltimore in 2003. Lifetime major league line: 222/217/267. (That’s right, one sac fly and zero walks in 46 PA.)
Better than Todd Pratt, probably, but who can’t you say that about?
Baker staying in Chicago, I bet some Cub fans are pissed
JS isn’t going to trade for an established, high price closer like Gordon. He would have signed one in the offseason if he wanted to do that. I kind of doubt the Phillies would want to trade with a division rival like the Braves anyway unless they could get players like Chuck James who the Braves wouldn’t give up.
Best case scenario is getting another Farnsworth: a medium or low salary setup man with good stats from a team that is out of contention.
I’ve heard that there might be something brewing between us and the Padres involving sending Wilson Betemit for RP-Scott Linebrink, probably with some other players as well (Ryan Klesko is part of the discussion).
As far as I can tell from the Padres website, Klesko has been on the DL all year. Why would the Braves want him?
Someone mentioned the Linebrink rumor yesterday. Does it have any legs? I dunno. Seems like the Braves aren’t really in a position to trade anyone for anyone who makes more money than them. A trade involving Klesko (who hasn’t played this year) on top of Linebrink would almost inevitably have to include at least one contract of note going the other way.
Don’t know if anyone else cares, but ESPNClassic and ESPN2 are showing the Greatest World Series challenge, or something like that. They are taking the greatest teams of all time, and through an internet poll, fans select who goes to the next round. I believe the ’95 Braves are matched up against the ’09 Pirates in the first round.
Rob J: The ASG was quite enough of the whole fans-deciding-world-series-games for me, thanks! 🙂
Klesko has missed the whole season to date with shoulder surgery, which isn’t a real good sign even if you’re not a pitcher. He hopes to return by August 1st, according to RotoWire, but cannot throw at all.
He hit a whopping 200/304/260 against LHP last year. He did hit decently against LHPs in 2002 and 2004.
At best, he is LaRoche with less power, less defense, and less ADD. And that’s if he heals, which isn’t looking likely. The Pads may want us to eat his salary for Linebrink, which brings us back to the question of the Braves’ budget.
I would guess that we’d have to eat Klesko’s contract ($8 mil this year–which I guess means $4 mil left in 2006, with $500K buyout for 2007) and give up Betemit to get Linebrink.
Basically, the Padres fill their 3B hole with an above average player and dump Klesko’s salary.
The Braves wouldn’t necessarily want Klesko as much as covet Linebrink (42.7 innings, 2.74 ERA, 0.937 WHIP, 8.86 Ks/9).
I like Betemit a lot, but if he’s not going to start regularly, I wouldn’t mind this trade. He’s pretty good, but not a permanent solution. I’d like it even more if we could send LaRoche along as well.
The Padres are not going to give Linebrink.
Their pen doesn’t have any other blowaway setup man, and Hoffman is a bit brittle these days..
That on top of the workload Linebrink has carried these 2-2.5 years makes him a bit scary to trade for..But hey, he is miles better than anyone in the Braves pen
HOffman a bit brittle these days???
Here are his numbers the last three years including this year
2004 – 41 saves 2.31 ERA
2005 – 43 saves 2.97 ERA
2006 – 24 saves 1.03 ERA (1st half)
Hmm, perhaps you should make sure you know what you are talking about before comments. One blown save in a lame all-star game doesn’t take away that this guy is one of the best closers in the game.
Speaking of hoffman, it completely kills me knowing that he is performing at this level making 4.5 million a year! Gosh, think about how many more wins the braves would have with him in our bullpen??
I think Godot’s right. I can’t see Linebrink traded. San Diego’s invested a lot in him.
For more plausible targets, I’m trying to find guys who are (1) not too young, (2) have decent peripherals, and (3) are on teams that are pretty much out of it. It helps if they’re (4) not closers right now, so that saves don’t pump up their value.
Here are some possibilities:
Damaso Marte from Pittsburgh. (Roberto Hernandez walks too many guys and has a low ERA due to 7 unearned runs in 38 IP.)
Bobby Howry from the Cubs.
Brian Meadows or Tyler Walker from Tampa Bay.
Rafael Betancourt from Cleveland.
Anyone have any thoughts on these guys or others? Think we could get one for Betemit and/or LaRoche?
Tyler Walker is out for the season, so id say not him
Marte may not have the moxie to close, if you believe that’s a necessary job skill. CWS tried giving him the job a few years ago and he failed spectacularly. Betancourt’s young and cheap, so he doesn’t fit the mold either. Howry’s not going anywhere, but the Cubs also have Scott Williamson, who might. Williamson was once very good, but the question is whether injuries have completed destroyed his arm.
Speaking of injuries, does anyone know whatever happened to Rudy Seanez?
The rumors I keep reading on various sites suggest Scott Linebrink, Scott Williamson, Roberto Hernández and Joe Borowski. I don’t know which of those the Braves are really going after, but Linkbrink is easily the best on the list.
I think that if we go after anyone out of those four guys than it should be Linebrink. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I felt that we may be able to go after Linebrink for Marcus Giles and maybe a prospect. SD could move Josh Barfeild over to 3rd and Marcus could play 2nd. Plus we would save some money.
I don’t think so. If the Braves get Linkbrink it will almost certainly cost Betemit.
Maybe Dan, but Marcus is playing much better as of late, and we might be able to hold onto WB if we throw in a prospect to sweeten the deal.
BTW the IL is crushing the PCL 6-0 in the 7th.
The Nationals could be sellers by the deadline, but I don’t really see to many pitchers on their staff that we can get of even want.
Damaso Marte had pretty good stats. Except the record and blown 3 blown saves.(0-5 2.97 ERA 33.1 IP.)
If the Braves trade WB for any reliever short of a Brad Lidge type, they’re being foolish. Over and over again, you see relievers go from good to crappy in no time. We know that Betemit is a valuable talent; why give him up for a run at the wild card that we likely won’t win? Besides, our bullpen is shitty enough that one more arm, while nice, wouldn’t really help it all that much. There are too many innings that are spread far too thin, even with a good pitcher like Linebrink to shoulder some of the load.
If we trade for ex Braves Roberto Hernandez or Joe Borowski, I will vomit. If we trade WB for either of them, I will kill Schuerholtz with my bare hands.
I don’t recomend that we trade WB either. He’s younger, cheaper and maybe more talented that Giles.
Borowski had good numbers but he is not worth WB. Roberto Hernandez is 42. I think we have tried enough of former braves close to 40.
has* not had.
Mendez flew out to center twice as Richmond’s contribution.
Hernandez and Borowski are right at the bottom of my list of pickups, even given all the constraints I put on them. Hernaandez has bad peripherals, Borowski’s a “closer” already, and neither seems a good bet to continue their current ERAs. For either of them, some random squid scrap from Myrtle Beach would be overpaying. On the other hand, JS did resist the urge to pick up Russ Ortiz and Alfonseca, so maybe his taste for ex-Braves has waned. Brian Jordan and Mike Remlinger will do that to you.
If we could get Brad Lidge that would be very cool. I like him and even though he is having a down year he is still better than anyonewe have. I don’t see Houston getting rid of him unless we give up alot of talent.
I think Betemit would only be traded for Linebrink. If the Braves get Williamson, Borowski or Hernández it won’t be for Betemit. The Padres want a third baseman, so I don’t get why they would take Marcus Giles.
I personally would take the deal. The bullpen has cost the Braves more games than Betemit has won for them. Plus it wouldn’t be a couple of months, Linebrink is signed until the end of the 2007 season.
Also Brad Lidge has sucked this year, ALMOST to the point where I wouldn’t want him for any decent player. He is a total headcase.
So Dan, are you saying that Brad Lidge is washed up after 1 bad half of season? I doubt it.
His ERA sucks but the last time I looked he has 21 saves.
Our bullpen only has 19 saves and18 blown, Brad Lidge has 4 blown.
Good points, Jay. I would take a reliever with a high ERA who can shut the door in the ninth over a bunch of relievers with high ERAs that we already have and can’t shut any door in any inning of any game.
Linebrink is a good relief pitcher, but he has had some trouble this year with the longball. He only gave up 4 homeruns all of last year, and only 8 the year before that. This year, he’s already got 8 at the All-Star break. And hitting a homer at Petco is no small feat.
This happened with Yhency Brazoban (remember him?) last year, where his fastball straightened out and/or hitters just starting waiting on the fastball, and is just another example of how relief pitchers can go from being fantastic to OK to awful very rapidly.
I think that the first priority of the trade deadline is a closer.(Lidge,Gordon, or maybe even Brian Fuentes) Then Bobby needs to switch Renteria and Giles(if we don’t go out and get a proven leadoff hitter.) Renteria is more of contact hitter and he gets on base more so he would present more scoring options for Chipper and Andruw.
Also does anyone else get the feeling that we are getting beat at our own game. And what I mean by this is teams are starting to bring up more and more rookies and they have contributed to their teams. Such as the Dodgers, Mets, Tigers, Twins, Angels, and even the Yankees are starting to hold onto the few prospects that they have.(Phillip Hughes)
Does blowing a tie game like Lidge did in his last game count as a blown save? I honestly don’t know, but it doesn’t sound from many Astros’ fans that Lidge has been good this year.
Smoltz said the Braves would “add a piece” so I trust Schuerholz to make the right move.
Jay, we have been talking about the same problem since last October. So, you will probably not see any significant acquisition made by JS until the deadline coming at the end of this month, which means another month of torture and may possibly be too late for an acquisition by then.
The key players in July will be HoRam, James, Thomson, and Ray. If those four have a good month, the Braves will have a very good July. They represents the difference between a .500 Braves team and a .700 Braves team.
We need to dig out Alejandro Pena, and Juan “El General” Berenguer. Those two guys were true gamers!
nogbogfrog, John Rocker would fit in perfectly.
I’m with Kyle. I want to hang on to WB unless we’re packaging him for Dontrelle or some other spectacular addition (read: not a bullpen arm), which ain’t happening. Remember, even if we don’t trade Giles, there’s a good chance we lose him in the offseason, so I think it would be wise to hang onto the WB. Chipper’s gotta be moving to first sometime in the near future, anyway.
Of course, if we could pull off something like this, I would consider it:
The WB and Lerew to Pads for Linebrink and Roberts
Andruw and Hudson to White Sox for McCarthy, Anderson, Fields and Jenks
That, of course, won’t ever happen. But it’s fun to make stuff up. Right, Smitty?
I thought Berenguer’s nickname was SENOR SMOKE.
Stu, How did you get Smitty’s barbers phone number?
Buster Olney on ESPN radio said the Nats may be selling off some players. I didn’t hear who, except for Soriano. Maybe we could deal for Chad Cordero. He’s not as good as last year and is giving up alot of HRs, but he’s better than anyone we have.
I don’t really see why everyone is so excited about Betemit. To me,he is a good reserve who has not shown much ability to maintain his hitting when he plays regularly. I’m afraid he is another DeRose. He is a valuable player, but not that good. As for Giles, people complain about him, but he is a very good second baseman and his offense this year hasn’t been much worse than Furcal’s was in the first half of last year. And he is starting to hit and his OBP is at least as good as Furcal’s was. He is no Robbie Alomar but I wouldn’t be so quick to trade him for a middle reliever. Betemit hasn’t proven to me that he can play everyday.
I would consider those trades Stu:
Rot: Smoltz, McCarthy, Davies, James, Ramirez (throw Hampton in 07)
Bull: Linebrink and Jenks in the 8th and 9th.
Lineup: cf Roberts
1b C Jones
Not sure what that would do for us this year. That would be quite a shake up but the future would look very bright.
I’d give the farm for Joe Nathan right now…..not serious, but sort’ve serious, considering if he is available, which I don’t see why he should/would be.
We are not trading SMoltz and Chipper is going to first. But if we could some how get Roberts, Linbrink and Jenks for Andruw I would think about it. I doubt that the Sox would give up Jenks.
Anderson would be in CF and Roberts would be in LF. Haven’t bothered to check what Dave’s contract is like, but he’d only be a short-term fill-in for KJ, anyway.
Again, no way that’s happening (I don’t know that the Sox wouldn’t give up Jenks, but they certainly wouldn’t do it while giving up their other top 3 prospects), but I like to pretend every now and then.
I think Nathan would be a great pick up. The Twins have been playing well, but they have two beast in front of them. It would send a bad message if they started trading away players now.