Chipper Jones

The key to the season, in my opinion, is getting Chipper back in the lineup and producing. He doesn’t have to be the Chipper of old — old Chipper will do. He’s lost much of his power, and has hit for a poor average the last two seasons (in which he’s put up all but identical slash lines, with the largest difference being because of fewer intentional walks) but all the walks mean that he’s on base nearly 40 percent of the time, and that’s huge. Actually, he seemed to be reviving in the last few games before he blew out his knee on August 10; in nine games in August, he hit .400/.471/.833. I think it’s safe to say that you can’t expect that on a full-time basis, but if he can hit .300 or so that would be great. I’m not sure what adjustments he made, though he reportedly did make some; he rejected the obvious one, to go to a lighter bat.

I don’t know how Fredi will play him; sticking to a catcher schedule with Chipper sitting out at least one game a week would be wise, but the bench is so weak right now that I don’t know if he can. Before blowing out his knee, Chipper had actually been a lot healthier the last two seasons, or maybe he was just playing through injuries more.

Played a little better defensively than in 2009, and some metrics (notably Total Zone Rating) actually had his defense as a plus. The actual quality of Chipper’s defense is something I don’t think that the stat guys have ever got a handle on; my estimate is that he remains pretty much average to slightly below… Stole five bases in five attempts, and is now 31 of 35 since 2004.

Chipper Jones Statistics

164 thoughts on “Chipper Jones”

  1. I totally agree: Chipper is one of the keys to 2011. It affects not only the Braves’ play on the field, but organization options as well. If Chipper can return to the ‘old Chipper’, for 2011 and lets say 2012, then the Braves will not have to start trading or looking for expensive options for a 3B.

    The best case scenario would be for Salcedo or Leonard to work their way up (and quickly) and replace Chipper. This is highly unlikely–so the Braves must develop some options. The failure of Erik Campbell to develop into a solid prospect is huge and soI wonder if Mycal Jones will see time at 3B to get ready for the transition ahead…..

  2. Hoping against hope that Chipper can go out with a bang. Hard to overstate how much he has meant to this team.

    Wonder if Michael Young might be available? If anything goes wrong at 1B or 3B we are escrewed.

  3. I just hope Mycal can figure out a way to hit enough to stay in AA. Despite the fact that they promoted him from rookie ball to AA in two years, he hasn’t hit well at any level. Before they teach him a new position, I’d love to see if they can teach him to hit.

  4. #3–At Rome Mycal Jones was awful during the first month of 2010. However, throw out that first month and he was a monster at Rome. I think that he should anticipate spending the year at AA, because he should find it challenging–to say the very least.

    Still with Uggla now at 2B for the forseeable future, I wonder if the Braves will turn him into a SS or even an LF….

  5. I’m sure Michael Young is extemely available as he’s owed $16 Million a year for the next three years. Not interested though I agree some insurance would be nice. If Chipper has a setback Prado can do 3rd and LF may be the place we need to look.

  6. I think the Chipper dilemma is what made the Uggla deal so beautiful.

    The team had two obvious needs, primarily a left fielder, specifically a righty, and Chipper insurance, short and/or long term.

    Considering the existence of Prado,regardless of wearing he’s standing, Uggla provides the righty LF.

    And should Chipper fail, or retire, despite our inability to prove it, a league average LF remains easier to find than Chipper Jones. So again, regardless of where he’s standing,Uggla is your replacement for Chipper.

    So if you ask “how will we replace Chipper Jones?” The answer is, with a Left Fielder.

    A much easier task.

  7. $16 million? Wow. Rangers must be doing better than I thought. (Either that, or we now know why they were in bankruptcy …)

    Yeah, some good insurance in left would help. Someone who hits right-handed for average and some power and plays a decent outfield. Good thing we still have Diaz. Oh, wait …

  8. Stole five bases in five attempts, and is now 31 of 35 since 2004.

    And 41 of 49 since ’02. That’s one of my favorite stats about Chipper — he had pretty good speed when he was young, then chalked up a 9-19 SB year in 2001, and adjusted his thinking accordingly. He’s been a 84% basestealer since.

  9. @9
    That’s my buddy. We remain close, but live in different states. He is one funny guy. Buy his book, God and Football.

  10. In some ways, Chipper’s last couple of seasons are similar to Mickey Mantle’s (not that I’m comparing Chipper to Mantle in their primes because obviously Mantle was better). Mantle was perceived to be over the hill in 67-68, but he was actually a productive hitter in the context of the time. He still got on base a lot and, though he lost a lot of his power, his OPS+ was more than respectable. And Mantle was physically in much worse shape than Chipper, although he was actually a couple of years younger than Chipper is now. So, I’m reasonably optimistic that Chipper can be a productive, albeit probably not dominant hitter. That role will hopefully be filled by Jason Heyward.

    But, damn, Mantle was awfully good in his prime. His numbers just blow me away. In some ways, as Jane Leavey suggests, he has actually been underrated in recent years.

  11. Another thing–Roberto Clemente. There has been a lot of talk about how underrated he was and some have said he was the best RF in baseball. IMO, he is a bit overrated; a fine player, certainly HOF worthy, but not in the same class as Aaron/Mays/Mantle. Much less power. The only advantage over Aaron, I think, was his arm.

  12. From years of playing APBA, you remember odd stats like stolen-base percentages from guys who were never considered speedsters.

    Chipper had a lotta recent years where he’d steal 5 of 6, but there were also a few of those crazy spike years (like 1999’s 25/28). Although his career SB numbers weren’t overwhelming, Paul O’Neill also had a few (like 1998’s 15/16).

    But the guy I always remember was Johnny Bench. In the Reds’ 2 title years (1975-76) he went 24/26, including 11 for 11 one of the years.

    And what an arm.

    Clemente was terrific, but certainly a notch below those power guys. Not a perfect comparison, but he was a bit like Ichiro—less speed & more power, of course, but really fun to watch.

  13. Great arm, but the throw they always show-in the 1971 World Series-hey guy was safe. I don’t mean to pick on the guy, but he wasn’t as good as Frank Robinson either. Clemente was obviously a fine human being and died a noble death, but I hate how, as a baseball player, he has been elevated above better players.

    Chipper is like Dale Murphy or Hank Aaron; they didn’t run that much, but when they did, they almost always made it.

  14. Do you really think Clemente is thought of as the equal or better of Mantle, Mays and Aaron? I’ve never gotten that impression. You’re quite right about Frank Robinson, though. The perception that he was surly during his playing days has diminished his rep in a way that it didn’t for Aaron. That and the lack of a signature stat.

  15. Re: Diory from the last thread

    Sure, he only has 100 PA in the majors, but they’ve been really bad to the point that you can say he’s probably not going to hit in the majors. He’s hit .138/.190/.234

  16. @16,

    I agree that no one really compares him to Mays, but I’m not so sure about Aaron. I think people sort of forget how good Aaron really was, aside from the home runs. Maybe I’m just overreacting to watching the showing of the 1960 and 1971 WS and hearing the Pirate people and Bob Costas go bananas over Clemente. I think Clemente gets a lot more credit for being a great RF because of his arm than maybe he deserves. I always felt Aaron made the same plays without making them look hard, but, then again, I am a Braves fan.

    I assume OW% is offensive winning %. Maybe I don’t know how it works, but wouldn’t that hurt Aaron (and Clemente) who were on lesser teams for much of their careers?

  17. Clemente gets a lot of the “what if” folks going too. I am just going off the top of my head, but in Clemente’s prime, there weren’t very many HOF right fielders.

  18. I’m pretty sure that, even then, there were more right fielders in the Hall of Fame than at any other position (not counting pitchers). Clemente was the first Latin American elected to the Hall, I believe.

  19. To me Clemente was one of the great players. If you get into the discussion of who was better, Mays, Aaron… then you are talking about the cream of major league players. Clemente has a place there somewhere.

  20. IMO, Clemente was in the tier below Mays/Aaron/Mantle/Robinson. If you look at the numbers, Clemente is similar to Al Kaline, again with considerably less power and higher batting average. That’s damn good and certainly HOF-caliber.

    As for “what if”, Clemente was already 38 when he died. I don’t think he would have done much more to enhance his numbers the rest of his career, other than move up his hit totals; certainly, his power wasn’t going to increase.

    At the same time, it may be fair to recognize that, during at least part of this time, the NL was stronger than the AL and the pitching was certainly better. Off the top of my hand, you had Robin Roberts, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn,and Juan Marichal; I can’t think of anyone in the AL of that caliber during that time period. So Mantle, for example, probably benefitted from playing in the AL.

  21. 1962 Mets: W-29, L-80. I think you have to give Mantle some slack. He didn’t get to face those guys.

  22. @31, yeah, but by every account I’ve read, that home run was an all-timer. I was alluding to sansho’s mention of Frank’s lack of a “signature stat” with his “signature moment”

  23. Well he did win an MVP in each league. I think that is pretty good.

    Plus, he did make the Expose not totally terrible the whole time he was there.

  24. Think of the outfields the NL had in the ASG in the early 60s–Mays, Aaron, Robinson, Clemente. No wonder they won all the time.

  25. Sure, the bench isn’t as good as last year, but there’s still no reason at all chipper shouldn’t get one extra day off per week. Move Prado to third that day and Hinske can play left. done.

  26. IMHO Chipper will hang it up after this season if he can ‘go out on top’. Maybe not as a world champion but after putting up a Chipper Jones season.

    I agree that a lot of how successful the Braves will be depends on how much Chipper has left in him.

    I also agree that the Uggla acquisition over an outfielder is brilliant because theoretically it is easier to find a LF than a 3b. Thank goodness Martin Prado is such a versatile player. Its that versatility that makes the whole thing work.

    If the Braves draft according to organizational needs they are drafting every outfielder than can get their hands on.

  27. I loved this passage in a recent story about the Washington Redskins:

    During a forum at The Washington Post, Snyder was asked by the panel’s moderator to identify the biggest bust during his tenure. Snyder said: “You know. I don’t need to answer this. You all know.”

    Was he referring to himself?

  28. Mays, Aaron, Robinson, Clemente.

    Those Mantle/Maris/Kaline/Colavito OF’s weren’t that far behind.

  29. Clemente has always been in my top five. I was pretty young when he was in his prime, but I just remember those ringing shots to right center and he’d be standing on second with that wonderful smile on his face.

  30. the marlins, quickly turning into the royals, signed 3 ex-braves today: joe thurston, clint sammons, and dewayne wise.

  31. Yeah, his trying to make it seem as though his most recent mistake was the most egregious just papers over the fact that this is how it’s gone all along.

    Also, by asking that rhetorical question, he narrows the list of 3 RECENT terrible mistakes (Haynesworth, McNabb, Shanahan) down to a presumptive 1 — whichever one it is he’s referring to….

  32. It’s hard for me to believe that the biggest disaster during the Snyder tenure occurred during the past year. That’s like blaming the downfall of the Third Reich on the Battle of Berlin.

  33. ooooh potential WWII thread derail! One of the funniest things I ever read on the interwebs was “Every man is unfailingly convinced of two things – that he is an excellent driver and something of an expert on the history of WWII”.

  34. That’s intriguing actually, Bethany – right after I posted that, I thought it might be a generational thing (not the driving part, obviously).

  35. As has been pointed out, the ’11 Braves don’t need the ’99 Chipper, the ’09 or ’10 Chipper would probably work. I think the Braves will be thrilled if he gives them anything more than 3 WAR next year.

    Chipper being my favorite athlete of all-time, I really hope he comes back and puts together another couple of decent seasons just to further cement his first ballot HOF status. I really felt horrible for him not being able to play in the postseason last year for Bobby, you know that had to kill him.

    Chipper’s 2nd half from last year: .307/.391/.533 with a .924 OPS. Call me crazy, but I think Chipper has another 2-3 years in him with the rehab work he’s put in.

  36. Ugh. Good win for Vandy tonight. The post player is nifty, and the other two guys are good too. And Chain Gang, can’t forget about him. There, I said nice things. Hmph.

  37. 60—I’m just relieved. We’re already down one starter in the post, and Tchiengang”s at about 50% because of a balky achilles tendon. Needless to say, UGA is not a great opponent when you’re short-handed down low. Not looking forward to the game in Athens.

    Also, how about that Taylor slam off the inbounds lob? Just sick.

  38. Mark Fox is beginning to learn what “Memorial Magic” means. It’s the SEC version of “Cameron Magic”.

    Though it’s a decided advantage to the home team, I think the unique gym arrangement is a charming anomaly and though I dog-cuss it when we play there, hope it remains a long time.

    So the team that can’t beat Auburn can beat Duke. Guess that proves the SEC is clearly the best basketball conference …

  39. @55,

    There is so much written and produced about WW II (and the Civil War) that almost anyone with some interest can become a quasi-expert. I would guess most men have some interest in WW II (and geopolitics generally). And it’s a lot more satisfying talking about World War II than Viet Nam. (And it creates such great analogies–what would Bobby Cox have said after Pearl Harbor is my favorite, although I guess you could equally well ask what would he have said after the Tet Offensive).

    It’s not much different, though, than sports. Most guys think they are an expert on one sport or another. At least, we act as if we are. It’s especially amusing in football where we try to break down what’s happening when, in reality, you often can’t really know unless you are the coach.

  40. I am shocked Auburn can beat anyone. I went to the LSU game, where they scored 6 points in a half.

    Spike, I have known men of all ages to fit right into the WW2 thing. I think research should be done on it.

  41. Actually, I readily admit I know nothing about WWII, well, other than what I learned from “Inglourious Basterds” obviously.

    I am an excellent driver though.

  42. Well, the History Channel used to run nothing but WWII stuff. When we first got HC here, my friend’s 4-year-old would Goose Step around the house.


    Are you going to the game Saturday? Remember when this was going to be the ‘Battle of the Titans’?

    Now, if we hold Vandy under 90, I’ll consider it a a victory. Ugh, how the once mighty have fallen.

  43. The History Channel effect is probably real. It was around back when there were under 100 cable stations on most systems, and it showed WWII shows in the middle of night when all of the other channels were in infomode. At some point it switched to paranormal and alien drivel, but there’s a solid decade of Hitler Channel that influenced America’s young insomniacs and Ritalin abusers.

    There might be a gap of self-appointed WWII experts, but anyone 20-35 years old are victims of the cable experience and Greatest Generation marketing, and those over 45 start to fall into the kids of vets range. (Average marital age gap was around 5 years after WWII.)

  44. @70 Yeah that’s why I didn’t want to give any examples.

    Regarding the History channel, I’m not sure… You all would know better than me, but I don’t know anyone my age who watches it outside of history buffs and Aamerican Pickers fans (that’d be me!)

  45. Okay, so maybe my 20 year old lower bound was a little loose (unless you’re a really young college graduate).

  46. I am a History Buff and am with JoeyT on the Hitler stuff (BRING IT BACK!) but I also watch Pawn Stars and even went to see the pawn shop when I was in Vegas (it is tiny)

    I can’t stand the end of the world and Nostrodamus stuff they have on of late, but never fear, they are still trying to sell me Buffalo Head, gold struck, dollar coins with a limit five per caller.

  47. @74 Those commercials are telling you the average age of their audience is probably higher than the 25-30 range.

    I do love Pawn Stars too. All the things I watch on that channel have very little actual history. They are more like outlets for historical trivia. I suddenly feel incredibly shallow.

  48. I suspect that “Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers” probably had an effect as well. The Civil War is another period that is still extremely popular (especially stuff on Lincoln if you consider that Civil War-related)and, obviously, there is no generational issue there.



    your implication is that knowing about WW II is some sort of silly fetish that men have and I object to that idea.

  49. @76,

    Nothing in anyone’s comments could be read as saying that knowledge about WWII is a silly fetish.

    You seem needlessly combative about a fairly innocuous comment that wasn’t even Bethany’s to begin with.

    In case anyone was curious, I’m a male who is a lousy driver whose WWII knowledge is probably about average, with the exception of the development and use of the atomic bombs, about which I probably know slightly more than average based on a book I read ten years ago.

  50. I apologize if I came off as condescending in any way to men who have a fascination with WWII. It’s always been curious to me that so many men know, or think they know, so much about (and are extremely confident in that knowledge). So I guess in a roundabout way I view it as some sort of fetish due to the sudden passion with which guys will dive into a conversation on the subject, but it’s certainly not silly. Just interesting.

  51. I’ll be walking a think line here, but:

    WWII is arguably the last American involved (non Cold War) war where it was a clear good vs. bad. At least that was the thought.

    Most everyone in America supported the effort. Almost everyone was forced to sacrifice and had a part in the conflict, both here and there.

    Like my grandfather (who was in Germany) says, “It is just what you did. All your buddies were going and if you didn’t they were going to make fun of you (He refuses to call it peer presure). Plus, if you didn’t pick how you wanted to go (Army, Navy…) the president would send you a letter.”

    I mean we can have the whole “Made America a Superpower” dicussion as well.

    I think I may have just proven Bethany’s point…

  52. Are you going to the game Saturday? Remember when this was going to be the ‘Battle of the Titans’?

    Not gonna make it. Gonna hang out here and then watch the Falcons game with a buddy that evening.

    And I remember when you thought it was going to be a clash of titans. Remember, I’ve never been high on this year’s UT team. We should win, but that doesn’t mean much. I’m extremely nervous.

    And I’d say you stepped well over that line at 82, FWIW.

  53. In my never-ending quest to find a power-hitting right-handed first baseman, I can’t help but wonder why Barbaro (the hitter, not the horse) hasn’t been given a chance.

    I mean, we let McLouth flail away and even let Melky approach the plate more times than reason would dictate, so why not?

    Look at his numbers. Hits for power, hits for average (especially against lefties). His OBP is outstanding. He can’t be so bad defensively that we’d shrug off his offensive potential, can he?

    Hell, with those numbers, I don’t much care if he fields like the horse.

  54. @83
    Very appreciative than you understand this much about men and still haven’t given up on us yet!

    Go Braves!

  55. I’m something of a Great War expert myself. I despise sequels. Did you know that the original name of World War II was “Great War 2: Greater and Warrier!”?

  56. It’s hard to figure out the Braves organization. They are able to find good hitters at positions where they should be hard to find (catcher) and can’t at positions where they should be easy. It’s weird. How many teams get more production from their catcher than from their left fielder or first baseman?

    World War III would have been even greater and warrier still but no one would have been around to appreciate it.

  57. Has there ever been a scenario where a team meets their needs by trading their top prospect for another team’s top prospect?

  58. Snowstorm cancelled my flight until today, so I was happy I got to see the UGA/Vandy game.

    Vandy did a good job on defense with Thompkins last night. They roughed him up a little (and were allowed to do it, IMO), and UGA doesn’t have a good enough outside game to compensate when he’s not getting off. I’m sure Stallings drew it up just like that. It’s a perfect strategy.

    Was nice to see Leslie get a little more involved in the half-court, but Ware was terrible last night. And the inside foul trouble spelled disaster.

    Right. World War 3D might’ve made an entertaining film, but that’s about all.

    FWIW, I really liked Howard Bryant’s recent book, The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron.

  59. #95 – if only he didnt carry that iron glove. No way you put him and Uggla on the same side of the infield.

  60. Back when he was readable, Tom Clancy wrote a really fascinating wwIII novel. Red Storm Rising. I highly recommend.

  61. 96—Thompkins was no more roughed up than Ezeli was, by Price, who could’ve fouled out 10 minutes into the first half. He literally shoved Festus — as in, two hands, arms outstretched, into the small of his back — twice (that I saw), as Fez was trying to establish post position. And Thompkins got away with a couple of egregious offensive fouls in the second half, by the time VU and the officials had gotten into his head.

    I thought the game was officiated incredibly poorly — they’d “let them play” for long stretches, then they’d start whistling everything, which made for a really awkward flow — but not to the advantage of either team. Pretty standard in this conference, unfortunately.

  62. My point was that, because Thompkins is so integral to the offense, Vandy did what it could to disrupt him. Whenever he ran to a spot, they bodied him. Whenever he did catch the ball, they doubled & bodied him. Very little was called & it established a bad pattern for UGA, which doesn’t have an easy Plan B. By the second half, Thompkins began to force shots.

    I don’t think the refs determined a victor or loser, despite the disparity in free throws (35 to 15). Vandy shot well enough to win & UGA really didn’t, plus they turned the ball over in crucial moments.

  63. I feel like SEC officals are ver inconsistant. They let home team crouds in their heads, especailly pumped up ones. Everyone knows UK gets a buch of calls in Rupp. I have seen Vandy get a lot of calls in Memorial (second toughest place to play in the SEC)
    Of course, I have also seen the the Vols get some calls in big games in TBA. But no one gets ref home cooking like the Cats.

  64. 101- FT discrepancy UK @ UGA this past Saturday: UGA shot 34 free throws, Kentucky shot 16. Kentucky had three players foul out.
    It’s not just Rupp or Memorial; everyone gets home cookin’ in the SEC.

  65. 100—FWIW, that free-throw discrepancy isn’t that out of line with what both teams had done so far this season. VU has been one of the top teams in the country at getting to the foul line, ranking 23rd, whereas UGA has been pretty average, ranking 134th.

    102—UK’s only been 192nd, so again, the discrepancy can’t just be explained by home cooking, as it’s not far off what you’d expect on a neutral court.

  66. I think WWII is popular because it was our last war fought as discrete engagements over control of land. It’s football essentially—yardage lost, yardage gained. Strategies to gain more yardage or avoid losing anymore. Land wars like that are satisfying and easier to wrap the mind around than wars revolving around counter-insurgency or the hold the line (don’t piss China off) trudge of Korea. Vietnam involves all the multi-dimensional CI stuff–economic aid, pacification, propaganda—the “hearts and minds” campaigns. WWII is a great tight thriller. Vietnam is a depressing Russian novel with three generations of characters and a section on collective farming. The most engaging (as in non-demanding) stuff I’ve read about Iraq/Afghanistan have been books about individual battles which have an inherent beginning, middle, and end. Or, shorter, guys like competitions, explosions, and resolution.

    I met a guy once who was in Desert Storm who said it was like a football game where the other side didn’t show up. He said it in a depressed way which always struck me as odd. If 91 Iraq hadn’t been a Big Ten team we probably would have had some more cool books to read.

  67. The Bryant book is very good. But, honestly, if you haven’t read Henry Aaron’s autobiography, I Had a Hammer… read that. Bryant’s book leans on it heavily, and it’s still terrific.

    Speaking of Built to Win, are we happy that JS wasn’t able to trade for Barry Bonds, or are we sad?

  68. The 91 Iraqis did show up better than the 40 French. I think some of the Iraqis used their guns.

  69. Vandy’s winning percentage at Memorial – 78%.

    Vandy’s winning percentage away from Memorial – 47%.

    Toughest place to play in the conference, imo.

  70. @106 – We are VERY happy, because signing Bonds would have meant not having $$$ to sign Maddux. The thought of growing up watching a Madduxless Braves makes my gut wrench.

  71. The cyberworm that was sent to disable Iran’s nuclear efforts strikes me as what warfare is morphing into. An EMP explosion (rather than a nuclear explosion) is probably the next Hiroshima.

    In a way, the opposite of the neutron bomb.

  72. @112 I think you’re right. More drones too. It’s going to start to appear more remote and antiseptic.

  73. On the plus side, we will eventually get to read historical accounts of massive robot battles.

  74. I’m really really not trying to get political here… I know we’re talking about war and stuff. But #103 just kinda made me queasy.

    Can I just point out that in WWII, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, real living, breathing people ceased to be living, breathing people?

    It’s very different from football, and novels, and video games, and anything else you’ve ever known. Lives, just like yours and mine, ended. Lots of them. Like. Lots of them. It’s definitely important. It’s necessary to remember, and to study. It is not, however, cool.

  75. The SeaHawks beat the Saints. Does anyone believe they are the better team?

    If you support a college football playoff, does it bother you that it is likely that the two best teams won’t be playing for the Championship.

    Because matching the two best teams and having a playoff are dramatically different exercises.

    Duke may (may) have been one of the two best teams in CBB last year, but Butler was nowhere close to that.

    I don’t mind the argument that a playoff is somehow more fair (Devil is woven into the details, however), but to argue that we’ll have a “truer” champion is just not logical, imo.

  76. My goodness. I posted something as a lark and see that 70 comments later there are WWII comments. Then again, spike’s comment at 55 became and probably all along intended to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so I guess the blame lies elsewhere.

  77. @121 I have a problem with this type of argument. It’s like Alabama fans who claim they still feel like the best team in the SEC, despite the fact that they lost 3 games. The “best” team is the one that wins on any given day. The end. If the Saints can’t get it done when it matters, then what right do they have to claim they were the better team?

  78. I just looked at what the RedSox gave up for Adrian Gonzalez and got sick.

    We could have beaten that easily and given them a legit replacement at 1B. At least Freddie had some big-league experience.

    Which is why I’m always bitching about trying to go after McCutchen, etc. It’s like my dating philosophy in college – “The worst she can say is no.” (Or, laugh in my face and say no, but hey …)

  79. There was an article by Howard Bryant on this morning (I will link it but you probably have to be an Insider) talking about the city of Atlanta used pro sports to promote a better image of the South and that Hank Aaron was integral to this. He had expressed a lack of interest in playing in the South because of segregation, but was prevailed upon by, among others, Martin Luther King, that he would make a great contribution.

    I thought it was an interesting story and reflected very positively, not just on Aaron but on white business community (obviously not including Lester Maddux)in Atlanta.

    Most of the comments were positive but, not surprisingly, there were a depressing number of comments from people who either (1) didn’t want to mix “sports and politics”; (2) didn’t understand the significance of the story; or (3) were out-and-out racists. There are a lot of people in this world that need to go sky diving without a parachute.

  80. justhank-

    If there’s a better way to pick which teams play for the championship than by making them WIN to get there, then why not just pick who IS the champion, without making them win to get it?

    I know the Giants just wouldn’t lose last season in the play offs, but does anyone really think they were better than Philly? Or New York?

    It is here decreed that the best baseball team on earth in the year 2010, was the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Giants are still the champions, though.

  81. What’s the point of even using the label “Best”? The Phillies obviously were not the best team in baseball because they failed to meet the requirements of the league and becomes champions. So if you don’t get anything for supposedly being the “best” then what value does it have?

  82. That’s kind of what I was alluding to, Bethany.

    The champion is the team that wins. There’s nothing more true than that. The team that wins the final game of the series, season, tournament, what-have-you, is the champion.

    Best team is irrelevant.

    The argument for a playoff is not “It would ensure the best two teams play for the championship.”

    The argument is “No one will be barred their chance to prove themselves.”

    The Saints can’t say ‘We deserve to play in the Super Bowl because we’re better than the teams that made it.’ They had a chance, and they failed to prove it.

    TCU… not so much.

  83. @123, I would certainly accept as arguable that Alabama as currently constructed is the last team you’d like to see on your schedule, for whatever that’s worth.

  84. It seems that my brilliant hoops commentary at what would be comment 103 is not showing up. A little help, Mac?

  85. It’s inarguable that if X beats Y, X is the better team. That day.

    When Boise beat Oklahoma with those delicious trick plays, it was a lot of fun. But did anyone truly believe Boise was the better team?

    Look, I’m a basketball guy and I’m perfectly fine with the Butlers and the George Washingtons having that one shining moment and eliminating teams that would beat them 8 out of 10 times.

    But all I’m asking is: do you football guys feel the same way?

    Kinda obviates the “SEC is a Bataan Death March” argument, doesn’t it?

  86. Hank, I can see your point, but have to disagree with your example of Butler last year. They were an experienced team, with a go-to player, that excelled at playing half-court basketball, which is what the NCAA Tournament always comes down to. My own personal shining moment in NCAA history is that I actually picked last year’s finals in both of my pools, unfortunatly I picked Butler to win it all. It was still good enough for one win and $640. I haven’t decided who this year’s Butler will be, but I’ll look for a senior-dominated team that plays strong defense, and has the ability to score in the lane.

  87. Kinda obviates the “SEC is a Bataan Death March” argument, doesn’t it?

    I’d say it rather supports some parts of it. IF you can successfully negotiate the season undefeated, would you not have satisfied both the “better team on a given day” requirement, as well as assembled enough data points to support the “better team period” side of the equation?

  88. So does anyone have any tattoos they regret now that the Zodiac signs have changed? I know Chipper has a tattoo of a bull because he was a Taurus. I went from Aries to Pisces. A badass Ram to a freakin’ fish.

  89. I like the word “obviate”, but I made the mistake of working it into a couple of conversations a while back and it brought both of them to a screeching halt. It’s best left in written form.

    Another thing I’ve stopped saying is “You can’t swing a dead cat in here without hitting a (something plentiful)”. I think there’s a reverse-practice effect to spoken idioms…they lose their power as they become rote.

    Also flipping off motorists in the Gainesville, GA area — I’ve had to stop that as well.

    OK, that’s all I’ve got right now.

  90. MLB Network has Martin Prado as the 7th best left fielder on their Top 10 Right Now show. I was surprised by this, he was ahead of Ibanez, Carlos Lee, and Jason Bay FWIW.

    Those WAR grids on Fangraphs are badass. From ’00 to ’10 the Braves had a TOTAL of 19 WAR at 1B and 17 in LF. That information was not badass.

  91. Congrats to Cam for going pro, it’s the best decision for him, and I think he’s going to be successful.

    @146 That’s pretty awesome about Prado! I’m expecting him to come down to earth a bit this year.

    @147 $35 mil for 3 years?!

  92. Has Alabama improved a lot as a basketball team or is the SEC just horrible? Winning on the road against MSU and then at home against South Carolina is something I wouldn’t have expected a few weeks ago.

  93. Pomeroy has them at 4th in the conference, 49th in the country. Being the best defensive team in the conference (8th in the country) helps.

    The SEC’s not very good, though. Only two teams in the top 20 and four in the top 50. Auburn may have the worst team in the history of the conference.

  94. @151 They did a favor for the Braves once by taking Javy, there were not about to do two, ha.

    What on earth are the Angels doing?

  95. 103 – UGA is 179th on KenPom’s FTRate ranking. UK is 192nd. I would never expect a 18 FT discrepancy on a neutral court for two teams that close. Home cookin’ – a way of life in the SEC (and yes, UK most definitely gets heaping bowls of home cookin’ in Rupp).

  96. #68–Too much history–but our two year also does the goosestep–in the house, malls and in his school….

  97. Damn Yankees. They keep distorting the salary structure and it’s going to end badly. Or at least put yet more stress on all the other teams not named RedSox.

    I’m sure there’s a website for this, but at what level does Revenue Sharing kick in? Thanks.

  98. All the Soriano and Hoffman news this week has me thinking about our closer situation. We all *know* Wagner is done but I am wondering… Since a lot of people are saying Hoffman retiring makes it harder for Wagner to get in the HoF, could that possibly be the last bit of nudging Wagner needs to stick around for one more year? If he pitches this year then presumably he would get his shot at the HoF the year after Hoffman gets in and maybe that makes his chances of getting in even better since Hoffman will “pave the way”. Deep inside I know it’s wishful thinking but maybe, just maybe…

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