So it’s my birthday again

Hopefully this year will be better than the last.

St. Patrick’s Day All McTeam:

C Brian McCann
1B Willie McCovey
2B Bid McPhee
3B John McGraw
SS Roy McMillan
OF Hal McRae
OF Willie McGee
OF Tommy McCarthy
UT Gil McDougald
SP Joe McGinnity
SP Denny McClain
SP Sam McDowell
RP Tug McGraw

Manager Joe McCarthy
Pitching Coach Roger McDowell
Announcer Tim McCarver

144 thoughts on “So it’s my birthday again”

  1. Nats release a young decent OF’r – I know he’s got issues and the new GM may be getting rid of his clubhouse problems, but still, the Nats need good players

  2. Nats release Dukes. I’m sure they have their reasons but they better be damn good if you’re a Nats fan.

    Happy Birthday Mac. (Raises Guinness) Here’s to a better year for you this year, and a better year for the Braves.

  3. As Craig Calcaterra noted on Twitter, even if they didn’t want him anymore, surely there would have been some sort of trade market for him.

  4. And you can have Kevin McReynolds as your 4th OF/pinch-hitter.

    Happy Birthday Mac, hope you have many more.

  5. Happy birthday, and many more returns.

    By the way folks, if you ever have the chance to get a Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, grab it with both hands. Just recently had it at the brewery, think the only other place for it is in parts of the Caribbean.

  6. Happy Birthday Mac!

    Just to be a contrarian, the Nats releasing Dukes cant’ be that much of a shock. Volatile personality + off field issues + constant injury + he ain’t that good = release. Even the Nats have just so much tolerance.

  7. Does anyone know the Oddibe McDowell story? Drafted by five organizations starting in 1981 without signing before finally signing as the 12th overall pick in 1984 to the Rangers after winning the Golden Spikes award. Fouth in the ROY voting as a 22 year old (Ozzie Guillen won), at age 23 puts up a 106 OPS+ and steals 33 bases as a starting centerfielder. The future couldn’t be brighter.

    Somehow by age 26 he’s bouncing around with the worst teams in the league (the late 80s Braves and Indians) and drops off the map after his age 27 season in 1990. There has to be more to the story, some sort of off the field problem? That is quite a flameout.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday.

  8. They were talking about hitting Dukes 7th or 8th anyway, which suggests they weren’t happy with his performance. Reading between the lines, I think they thought he would be unhappy hitting low in the order but he wasn’t good enough to hit higher. Still, it doesn’t leave much in the way of options in RF for the Nats. He certainly has talent but I doubt the Braves want to bring in a guy like this with Heyward on the way up.

  9. The Marlins again today? Really? The 38 times we play them in the regular season aren’t enough? We have to throw in another dozen spring training games?

  10. Dukes projections

    Chone – .262/.364/.446
    Bill – .263/.359/.439
    Fans – .266/.367/.442

    Dukes is still a useful player if someone can control him. If someone would trade for Milton Bradley, his projections .262/.389/.427, youd’ve thought that someone would offer something for Dukes


    I didn’t know they drug-tested managers, much less Josh Hamilton’s manager.

    Re: Dukes
    We don’t know how bad he was to deal with. If a team like the Nats see him as beyond redemption, maybe he is. I wouldn’t want him on my team.

  12. That’s a pretty good McList. Happy McBirthday, Mac.

    I want to stay as far away from Dukes as possible until we know exactly what happened over there. But I think we have to presume that, considering his history and the woeful state of that franchise, they must have had a good reason to cut bait completely.

  13. Im not surprised that they may have had issues with him, just surprised that we havent heard about any trade offers. It appears that they cut him without trying to trade him and that seems odd

  14. I could get used to watching the Braves win. A bit chilly and rainy, but a fun day. We snuck behind home plate forthe last four innings, so that was cool.

    And Happy Birthday, Mac.

  15. Does anyone know the Oddibe McDowell story?

    Just the part where Skip called him Oddibe Youngagain during his first game with the Braves. He used to just slay me back then.

  16. SeatPainter,

    There must be a second level impermissible quote, but I think it can also be translated as “F ired J im B owden”. If that is AAR’s intent, then that does express better decision making by the Nats.

    Also wondering if the “for baseball reasons” is to prevent the contract from being vested in some manner. Clearly if not released today, he had a guaranteed contract (but, with option back to AAA that would only be $150,000), but I am guessing whatever else was going on didn’t fit the permitted release reasons (PED’s must be under the bargained for system, whatever).

  17. I thought if you were released prior to the start of the season, an arb or assigned contract was not guaranteed?

  18. A once-proud hoops program runs off the rails.

    Good thing they gave him a 5 year extension last season.

  19. I read that Dukes had a split contract that called for $41,000 termination pay (minor league rate) if released today, $109,000 if released later in ST.

  20. Still interesting – Dukes had apparently gotten better with his behavior, but not good enough to overcome his slow start. Admittedly, the guy has done some things that make Milton Bradley look like a solid citizen, but the timing of this is just odd unless there is some monetary reason.

  21. Cliff, you translated correctly. FJB is one of the best Nats blogs, and it used to stand for FireJimBowden. Once the organization finally followed through on that plea, the blog just became FJB.

    Firing Jim Bowden isn’t exactly evidence of genius, but it certainly isn’t wrong.

  22. just an update…
    the braves are leading the majors this spring in obp. honestly do you think that would have happened if francoeur was in camp? a free swinging, tongue flapping clubhouse leader doesnt bode well for a team’s obp.

    also, we’re #2 in era, but behind the freakin’ phillies.

  23. a .100+ upgrade at 1 position sure does help. Also having Yunel, McCann, Heyward, and Glaus having great springs do also. Just think if McLouth had his normal .350 or so

    but its ST and I dont get excited about a player (Heyward) and I dont get worried about any others (McLouth)

  24. It’s March 17th and I still haven’t looked at any Spring Training stats. Just a few more days!

  25. Happy Birthday, Mac!

    It must suck to only get one set of presents for your birthday and St. Patrick’s Day.

  26. About Dukes from wikipedia:
    “Off-the-field problems

    In 1996, Dukes’ father was convicted of second-degree murder. One year later, Dukes was arrested for the first time. Dukes has been arrested at least three times for battery, and once for assault.[7] According to court records, he fathered at least five children with four women between 2003 and 2006.[7]

    On May 23, 2007, it was reported that his wife filed a restraining order after he threatened to kill her.[8] On June 12, a 17-year-old foster child who was living in the care of a relative of Dukes accused him of impregnating her.[9] Police said the sex was apparently consensual.[9] When the girl confronted Dukes, he allegedly got angry and threw a bottle of Gatorade at her.[9]

    Dukes has received anger-management training.[7] When Dukes was traded to the Nationals, the team also hired an ex-police officer in the role of “Special Assistant: Player Concerns”. This person accompanies Dukes everywhere to ensure that he keeps himself free of trouble.[7]”

  27. Stu,

    This is a different organization. Jim Bowden isn’t around anymore and they really are different (I think). I’m confident they do have a reason for letting Dukes go.


    On MLB last night, John Hart referred to Mike Minor as a “quick comer.”

    I’m not sure I would really like to have that label! :)

  28. He’s no swell fella, obviously, but I thought counting his father’s crime as one of Dukes’ “off-field problems” to be pretty crass.

  29. @63

    I didn’t read that as one of Dukes’ crimes; but I can certainly see why one might consider a father’s murder conviction (Dukes was 12 years old at the time) a “problem” i.e. challenge; as in something he might have to overcome.

  30. I’m sure all the baggage and the fact that he hasn’t played over a 102 games factored into the decision.

  31. Here’s hoping all the SEC teams win today and make up for last year’s poor showing. Don’t see the Gators winning though and I’m worried about TN’s chances against SD State. Mississippi State should have made the field over Minnesota if you ask me but they can just win the NIT.

  32. So who does everyone have in their Final Four? I took Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, and Marquette, with Villanova beating Syracuse in the final.

  33. No surprise, but I have Kansas over Kentucky in the Final with Syracuse & Villanova rounding out the Final 4.

    I also have West Virginia, Marquette & Pitt in the Final 8. I’m an SEC guy, but I’ve obviously been watching too much Big East this year.

    Of course, ‘Nova’s not helping right now.

  34. I’m a Syracuse fan, and my bracket is so big east biased, I had ND/Nova in the sweet 16 with Nova advancing, and an all big east final four, that strategy is looking terrible. ESPN covered so much big east this year, not that I’m complaining, but it’s always hard to pick against the teams you’ve seen play on numerous occasions. All year I’ve been thinking the Big East is far superior to the other conferences, aside from your elite teams (UK, KU…) but the early games today are blowing that theory out of the water… I still think WVU is going to knock off UK and that Louisville may have the best chance to knock off the Dukies in that bracket, especially with ND biting the dust and Nova looking to in the first round.

  35. Apparently Chipper hit a Heywardian home run in today’s game… hit the roof of a 35ft tall building that is 30 feet beyond the 355 fence

  36. Wow… Pujols is only OPSing .500 this spring. Guess McLouth’s crappy spring isn’t that bad (not that he’s OPSing anything either… but he’s not Pujols).

  37. Nova… whew.

    How’s this for a weird stat line? Scottie Reynolds goes about 2/15 from the field, but something like 14/15 from the line. At least he was smart enough to quit gunning & start taking it to the hole.

    West Virginia is the trendy pick, but they don’t shoot that well. They rebound & get crazy finishes from Butler, but I think Kentucky beats them.

    I just hope they talk smack about Kentucky the way Tennessee did. UK is really not a team you wanna wake up.

  38. I went to the game today and met up with Parish. Awesome day for baseball and always great to meet a fellow Braves fan.

    Chipper’s homer was a beautiful shot. Heyward didn’t start but was on deck to pinch hit in the top of the ninth when Young grounded out. Ah well.

    Ready for baseball.

  39. Tough coupla losses for the SEC today—double-OT for Florida & a buzzer-beater for Vandy.

    Those 3 missed free throws in the last 2 minutes really hurt Vandy.

    And how ’bout that big kid for Saint Mary’s?

  40. I want to see Chipper hitting bombs like that left handed. Seems like his troubles are from that side of the plate. Either way, maybe some pressure is off him and McCann this year and they can relax a bit.

    I say Im not worried about Nate, but that may be changing.

    Only lost one game so far in my bracket, thanks Vandy….they were also in my elite 8

  41. Is there easier money than betting Vandy to go out early?

    My final four is Kansas, Kentucky, Kansas State, and Villanova. Couldn’t really homer my bracket this year since the Pac-10 didn’t participate in men’s basketball this season.

    Although I couldn’t resist picking Cal over Duke in the second round.

  42. I can’t resist picking against Duke any time they play a real team outside Cameron. Now, I’m not saying Cal is a real team; all I’m saying is that Duke ain’t for real. 4-5 on the road? Whatever.

  43. I took Cal over Duke in the 2nd round also…

    check out this news, uh oh

    Mike Gonzalez | RP | BAL

    Gonzalez (back) will pitch in a minor league game on Friday and appear in an exhibition game on Sunday, the Baltimore Sun reports. However, scouts have noticed a sizeable drop in his velocity, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports.

  44. 87—Sure, you could play sports at Southern Cal.

    For the record, that’s consecutive early exits, but in our two previous appearances, we made the Sweet 16 as a 6-seed.

  45. Auburn goes to the postseason far more regularly than the Mets, and actually wins most of the time when it gets there.

  46. Oh my good God, now my bracket is REALLY f’d up because of Georgetown. How do you lose a final four team on the first damn day?

  47. 89,
    I remember the organization being less than pleased with Mike Gonzalez’s velocity last spring. Same routine as every year. Rafael Soriano had a URI earlier during camp. Same routine as every year. Spring training history seems to repeat itself.

  48. Ugg. My bracket’s a wreck now. Tennessee better not lose, or I might actually have to start rooting for Kentucky to win a few games….

    I had my Gators in the Final Four. :-D They had two chances to win at the buzzer and failed. Parsons shoulda saved some of that “winning shot” magic he had mid-season. :-/ When Boyton went out, I figured it was pretty much curtains.

    Oh well. If everyone sticks around, we should have a good-looking team next year.

  49. Haha, I give up. Marquette lost, I lose two Final Four teams on the first freaking day.

  50. My two cents waiting for some baseball.

    I’ve really been enjoying the tournament today. I love seeing big conference teams choke in the first weekend of the tournament. BTW—I watched the last 12 minutes of the Robert Morris/Nova game. Typical officiating in favor of the higher seed down the stretch, Nova didn’t deserve to win.

    I’ve always loved Alex Chilton in the Boxtops and Big Star.

    I bought #1 record in a bargain bin in late ’72 because I liked the single When My Baby’s Beside Me. What a Buy!! If September Gurls and Thirteen aren’t two of the greatest songs ever, I just have no musical tastes. Won’t you be an outlaw for my love, tell em what we said about Paint It Black. RIP Alex, thanks for all the great great tunes.

  51. Randy,
    I think you were one of the original 11 people who bought that record. The only people I know who were into Big Star back then actually owned record shops. I didn’t get turned onto Big Star until I went to college in the ’80s.

    Where are you from? Was “When My Baby’s Beside Me” actually on the radio?

    But “The Letter” was always one of my favorite radio songs. When I was really little, I remember visiting my cousins in Pennsylvania when that was a hit & my teenaged cousin had The Box Tops LP with that song. I used to stare at the relatively psychedelic album cover & listen to the record over & over.

    I didn’t visit that town again for nearly 20 years. But the first day I was back there, I stepped into a corner bar, walked over to this old jukebox and, of course, there it was, “The Letter.” So I dropped in a buck & ordered up a Yuengling.

    When most folks think of Alex Chilton, they might get visions of Memphis. For me, strangely, it’s Shenandoah, Pa.

  52. Ububba, I was going to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln at the time. Both the AM Top 40 station and the top album-oriented rock station had When My Baby’s Beside Me on pretty heavy rotation, and I had friends that listened to both formats and liked the song. As I recall September Gurls got some FM play, but I know I had never heard Thirteen until I bought the album. I played the crap out of that album for years. When I went to CD’s around ’93 I kept my turntable to play that and a few others (most notably the first Emmit Rhodes album) A few years ago I was able to pick up the first two albums on CD, I’ve listened to them most of the day as I was watching basketball. Jangling guitars forever, brother.

  53. The poll question reads: “will Heyward start the season in the majors?” But I think a lot of people here are answering the question as if it were: “do you want Heyward to start the season in the majors?”

    I can’t see how 81% think the Braves aren’t going to put him in the minors for at least ten days like the Rays did with Evan Longoria.

  54. Well, if you want to get technical about it, the Wailers were a reggae band. But Marley was heavily influenced by doo-wop when he was a teenager, and in the 1960s the early Wailers did a few doo-wop and R&B covers, like “The Letter,” and “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies. This was around when they were being produced by Johnny Nash, the singer who did “I Can See Clearly Now” who spent some time in Jamaica.

    By the way, I answered the poll the way I think it’ll go, not by any means the way I want it to go. I think the Braves are going to have a hard time keeping Heyward on the farm for any amount of time, as much as I wish he’d spend the first couple months down there for Super Two purposes.

  55. Ububba, Johnny Rodgers, oh man! This cat must have incriminating pictures of Tom Osborne. When he was a freshman he robbed a gas station with a rifle. He was constantly in and out of trouble in school. I can remember when the local Lincoln Journal and Star printed a story about him in the fall of ’72 (His Heisman year) how he had a 4.0 average and had turned his life around. Turns out that football players (not sure if its still the rule—but probably) could have six credit hours redeemable in any semester just for playing football (actually fair when you consider time and money brought in to the U), he was in my badminton class, and the class before badminton he took fishing and angling (which consisted of casting towards coffee cans, and going fishing one day of the semester). So his 12 hours of 4.0 was a result of playing some tennis and goin’ fishin.

    In the years since, he’s assaulted a cable repairman, been bankrupt a couple of times, had the concession for some food article at Memorial Stadium, had his Heisman Trophy taken away for debts (big NU supporter bought it back)and is constantly appearing everywhere in the state of Nebraska signing autographs (never for free). The guy was electric on the football field, but a real jerk everywhere else.

  56. heyward’s going to start in the majors. bobby said they’re going to give him every opportunity to take the opening day job and he’s done it. i dont see how 19% says he wont start in the majors, if they’ve been paying attention to the spring games. his obp is .600, his average is .440, his ops is 1.320. from what bobby has said, he’s winning the job by a landslide.

  57. Bob Marley did not have a… doo-wop.. phase.

    Well, if you want to get technical about it, the Wailers were a reggae band.

    Well, only because I love talking about this sort of thing, I’ll take some issue with these. Ska and rocksteady predate reggae. The Wailers were founded as a vocal group, backed by the Upsetters in the studio, in 1963. The term reggae really doesn’t start to turn up until about 1968 or so. Taking it one step further, ska was heavily influenced by both American R&B and Caribbean Mento styles, so while the Wailers were never a “doo wop” group per se, they were in fact a vocal harmony band heavily informed by American music styles, including doo-wop to an extent.

  58. Happy Birthday Mac!! Wishing you many happy returns! I also hope that this year is much better for you than last…..

  59. To tack on to Spike’s post… If I remember my history the Wailers were more of a Ska band like the Skatallites initially (and there was some doo-wop influence, but there was also Chuck Berry and many others) who morphed into more Reggae.

    Back when I was running BreastFed Records and very involved in the Ska scene (man those were good times), the way I always described it was that Ska was a precursor to Reggae… and if you didn’t know what Ska sounded like, imagine if you took away the pot from the Reggae musicians. Then if you looked at more modern ska (2-tone Specials era and into 3rd wave stuff like the Toasters) it was like you not only took away their weed, but gave them high doses of coffee instead.

  60. Alex, the Wailers were a vocal group consisting of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and band leader, Bunny Wailer. Bob Marley And The Wailers was a reggae band, without Peter Tosh, or namesake Bunny Wailer.

    Spike beat me to the rest…

    And Spike, I’ve never plugged my band before, despite temptation with all of the music talk here, but check out my old band’s myspace if you like reggae, ska, and american R&B.

    Hope the spam filter doesn’t freak out.

  61. @jjschiller myspace is blocked at work, but I found samples on … I like your sound. I went to a crapload of FL Ska shows back in ’94 (moved back to GA in ’95 and went to a crapload up here till ’97).

  62. Re: Reggae/ska
    First time I ever went to Atlanta’s old Agora Ballroom, a terrific small venue on Peachtree Street across from the Fox Theater, I saw Peter Tosh.

    I was fresh out of high school, so it was the first time I’d ever been around real Rastas smoking real spliffs. (No, they didn’t share.)

    Last show I ever saw there was the English Beat. Then the place burned down.

    Re: Heyward
    In the past 24 hours, I had 2 more Mets fans asking me about Heyward.
    “Is he really gonna be that good?”
    “I don’t know, but let’s just say we like our new RF more than our old one.”

  63. Thank you ububba… you had me searching to see which 2-tone band I saw in Masquerade in ’95ish (pretty sure it was The Selecter or English Beat) and finally found something mentioning the name of the place I saw so many shows at. I knew it was right down the road from Somber Reptile (where I saw a bunch of shows too), and I knew I’d seen Let’s Go Bowling and Trick Babys (and a bunch of other bands) there… but couldn’t remember the name: Wreckroom.

  64. Man, you guys are all nerds. I love ya! Break a leg, Spike. Wish I could be there.

    (By the way, in the interest of self-promotion, I have a lot of comedy shows coming up in DC. I have an improv comedy show tomorrow night at 11 pm at The Source Theater on 14th street in DC, a sketch comedy show on Thursday 3/25 at Warehouse on 7th street, and another improv show on Friday 3/26 at 11 pm at The Source.)

  65. Wreckroom – many, many shows there. They have a fan page on Facebook with some great photos.

    Agora – just a great venue. Saw all kinds of stuff there. Waits played in ’79 I think. So few folks I know got to see shows there, that it sort of is unremembered now.

  66. Yes, the Wreckroom.

    Thanks to a fake ID that said I was a 5-9 blonde guy from Nebraska, I caught a buncha shows at The Agora between 1981-83.

    Ones I can remember: Peter Tosh; The Pretenders; The Ramones; Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes; The Plasmatics; REM w/ Jason & the Nashville Scorchers; The Band (reunion without Robbie Robertson); and The English Beat.

    After growing up in Columbus & seeing “concerts” in this big barn of an auditorium, it was kind of miraculous to be able to walk right up to the stage & see the sweat pouring thru Chrissie Hynde’s makeup 5 feet in front of you.

  67. Some of you guys have very interesting lives or pasts. Me, just an old IT guy with a wife and 4 teenagers. Dang.

  68. Ububba, As young as I am, I’m VERY pleased to have gotten to see The Ramones at Masquerade Music Park before they started kicking the bucket. Can’t imagine getting to see them in early 80s (not least because I was only 6 in ’81).

    Johnny… I’m now a mid-30s IT guy with 3 kids (one about to become a teenager)… and an aspiring writer, and puppet maker, and general geek. Have worked in construction, ran the punk/ska record label/mail-order thing, played with RC Airplanes, built websites, acted (in school)… Though I spend so much time in minivans and paying mortgages that it’s tough to think of it as an “interesting” life unless I’m trying to make it so.

    spike… Good to know, I’m going to have to steal my wife’s facebook login and find the Wreckroom page.

  69. In other action, Kansas City leads Arizona 21-0 in the 5th inning. Who stopped payment on the reality check?

    Since I’m an accountant, I’m pretty sure you’re not interested in hearing all about my life, but I’m glad to listen to your stories, folks. (Within reason.)

  70. #132
    The Moe Berg of Bravesjournal.

    Still in favor of keeping Heyward down for the 2 weeks, but that scenario may not exist at this point.

    And I gotta admit that I’m getting pretty psyched to see him play.

  71. As Pete Rose said to Stan Luzinski when he made the same claim as Frenchy, “The only way you can do that is by breaking into the equipment room.”

  72. Coach’s real name – Bond, James Bond.

    #125 – Dude chasing 4 active kids all over hell’s half acre is interesting but not in a tell it all on Braves Journal way.

    The Neyer thing on Fast and French is funny. Maybe Jeff should attend the Yunel school of base running.

  73. @126–I was there. Beautiful night and my kid scored some graphs (Heyward and Conrad and the Tigers pitcher who threw the last two innings) before the game. Head home to GA tomorrow. :-(

  74. anyone think Glaus might be the best Free Agent signing this off-season?

    stats so far (and yes, i know, i’ll call you when the games matter. but still, it’s a positive sign):

    .444/.559/1.040 in 12 games. 5 RBI. No HRs (which could become an issue) but only 5 Ks in 27 ABs (for your clean-up hitter to only K 19% of the time, well, I’ll take that).

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