We have a winner, of sorts

Our 2011 Braves Journal Whipping Boy will be — to start with — Alex Gonzalez! No, not Alex Gonzalez, Alex Gonzalez!


AAG outpolled Nate McLouth 99-92. He will hold the Whipping Boy title until we get totally fed up with George Sherrill. New poll.

297 thoughts on “We have a winner, of sorts”

  1. In his honor I will curse in frustration over something I do constantly. Fucking! Stupid! Typing!

  2. I got a 40 on the sample wonderlic test and took it in 4 minutes. You’re alloted twelve. The ability to get a 10 is impressive. Missed 2 because I went too fast.

    Edit: Actually the real test is 50 questions and the sample was only 20 so with twelve minutes it could be hard to finish for many, but still, 10?

  3. Did I miss something? At the very least though, it makes me think Fredi might have gotten the pictures back:

    “If it’s not here, then there are 29 other teams,” Proctor said. “I know I can pitch at the big league level again. I think I have proven that.”

  4. Proven he can pitch again at the big league level? I would like to know what he is talking about. Has this been “behind closed doors?”

    It’s like he’s that kid from the movie Mystery Men. He can turn invisible as long as no one is looking.

  5. “I know what I’m talking about,” said Proctor. “I asked Tim Hudson, and he told me that pitching involved throwing a baseball off a mound towards the catcher. I asked him to watch me throw batting practice to the Mets, and told me that what I was doing was technically considered pitching.”

  6. I couldn’t even finish the test but I did as well as John Elway. I guess that means something.

  7. 37.5 on the wonderlic. Had $2160 as my answer for #11. Should have read the question better.

    My next question – What the does this test prove and why is it needed for a football players?

  8. From an article on ESPN:

    Charlie Wonderlic Jr., president of Wonderlic Inc., says, “A score of 10 is literacy, that’s about all we can say.”

  9. Braves news…

    The Braves will retire former manager Bobby Cox’s No. 6 jersey and induct him into the Braves Hall of Fame on Friday Aug. 12, which they are dubbing “Bobby Cox Day,” the team announced on Tuesday.

  10. Was there a reason someone would ask Chipper Jones about his theory of the Kennedy Assassination? Should we ask Gerald Posner about who should be the back up centerfielder for the Braves? :)

  11. @20, haven’t we had about a dozen of those already? I don’t mind, and he’s certainly earned them, but it seems like this is becoming a recurring theme.

  12. He’s talking about ceremonies to honor Bobby Cox.

    It probably gives a small bump to attendance. We could make it a monthly deal.

  13. Oh I certainly wasn’t yelling at you, csg. I sincerely apologize if that’s how it came across.

  14. @15 Single gunman theory is more pausible than hitting a 90+ mph fastball squarely with a round ball over the fence.

  15. #16
    People love to shoot melons.

    All you gotta do is actually watch the Zapruder Film (horrible as it is) to see that the blast isn’t from an exiting bullet. It’s initial impact.

    I don’t know that much about hunting rifles, but I’m with Chipper on this one.

  16. @28

    I agree. I don’t know about the whole U.S. government part, but with his (sometimes cloyingly reported on) hunting background, I’ll give Chipper the qualifications to intelligently opine about rifle capabilities.

  17. Having also used rifles my entire life (and being about 6 mos. older than Chipper) I wonder how that has anything to do with the plausibility of the lone gunman.

  18. In the context of being able to accurately fire the requisite number of shots in the specified time with the gun in question.

    IMO, this is a zero sum game to the extent that if one doesn’t believe that the aforementioned is possible, there has to be another shooter.

    I think Chipper is probably more qualified than most to make this type of determination…or at the very least, have an intelligent opinion on the subject.

  19. The Warren Commission found that the rifle used could be fired in just over 2 seconds and that the two shots that struck a target were about 5 seconds apart. This time is consistent with either a two shot or a three shot scenario. I can certainly fire a bolt action rifle, work the mechanism and fire a second round in about 2 seconds. I’m sure a skilled marksman can do the same or better.

  20. to add my 2cents worth to the wonderlic test question. If I’m going to give $50Million to 1 of 2 guys and am having trouble choosing between them, I might just give the cash to the guy who does better.

    Note that doesn’t necessarily mean the smarter guy, but the point is that one test, whether the wonderlic or the 40 or the 10yd shuttle, cannot stand alone. IMHO stats in general are so misunderstood because either they are non relatable or people look for the exception to disprove it without realizing that any one stat is just one part of coloring in a larger picture.

  21. Sure, getting three rounds off in six seconds is possible. But getting three rounds off in six seconds and two of them hitting a moving target is extremely unlikely. And I don’t think Oswald was ever considered a skilled marksman. He barely qualified as Marksman (lowest designation) in ’59, so he’s honestly not much better than a lot of new recruits and I’m going to assume that most recruits would not be able to hit a moving target twice in six seconds using a bolt action rifle.

  22. @39 – Yes, this is taking it too far, but I offer the following from the Warren Commission Report summary of expert testimony on Oswald’s skill and the difficulty of the shots. Now I’m done.

    “In accordance with standard Marine procedures, Oswald received extensive training in marksmanship. During the first week of an intensive 8-week training period he received instruction in sighting, aiming, and manipulation of the trigger. He went through a series of exercises called dry firing where he assumed all positions which would later be used in the qualification course. After familiarization with live ammunition in the .22 rifle and .22 pistol, Oswald, like all Marine recruits, received training on the rifle range at distances up to 500 yards, firing 50 rounds each day for five days.

    Following that training, Oswald was tested in December of 1956, and obtained a score of 212, which was 2 points above the minimum for qualifications as a “sharpshooter” in a scale of marksman–sharpshooter–expert. In May of 1959, on another range, Oswald scored 191, which was 1 point over the minimum for ranking as a “marksman.”

    “Major Anderson concluded:

    I would say that as compared to other Marines receiving the same type of training, that Oswald was a good shot, somewhat better than or equal to–better than the average let us say. As compared to a civilian who had not received this intensive training, he would be considered as a good to excellent shot.

    When Sergeant Zahm was asked whether Oswald’s Marine Corps training would have made it easier to operate a rifle with a four-power scope, he replied:

    Based on that training, his basic knowledge in sight manipulation and trigger squeeze and what not, I would say that he would be capable of sighting that rifle in well, firing it, with 10 rounds.

    After reviewing Oswald’s marksmanship scores, Sergeant Zahm concluded:

    I would say in the Marine Corps he is a good shot, slightly above average, and as compared to the average male of his age throughout the civilian, throughout the United States, that he is an excellent shot.”

    On the use of the powered scope:

    “Four marksmanship experts testified before the Commission. Maj. Eugene D. Anderson, assistant head of the Marksmanship Branch of the U.S. Marine Corps, testified that the shots which struck the President in the neck and in the head were “not … particularly difficult.” Robert A. Frazier, FBI expert in firearms identification and training, said:

    From my own experience in shooting over the years, when you shoot at 175 feet or 260 feet, which is less than 100 yards, with a telescopic sight, you should not have any difficulty in hitting your target. I mean it requires no training at all to shoot a weapon with a telescopic sight once you know that you must put the crosshairs on the target and that is all that is necessary.

    Ronald Simmons, chief of the U.S. Army Infantry Weapons Evaluation Branch of the Ballistics Research Laboratory, said: “Well, in order to achieve three hits, it would not be required that a man be an exceptional shot. A proficient man with this weapon, yes.”

    The effect of a four-power telescopic sight on the difficulty of these shots was considered in detail by M. Sgt. James A. Zahm, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marksmanship Training Unit in the Weapons Training Battalion of the Marine Corps School at Quantico, Va. Referring to a rifle with a four-power telescope, Sergeant Zahm said:

    … this is the ideal type of weapon for moving targets … Using the scope, rapidly working a bolt and using the scope to relocate your target quickly and at the same time when you locate that target you identify it and the crosshairs are in close relationship to the point you want to shoot at, it just takes a minor move in aiming to bring the crosshairs to bear, and then it is a quick squeeze. I consider it a real advantage, particularly at the range of 100 yards, in identifying your target. It allows you to see your target clearly, and it is still of a minimum amount of power that it doesn’t exaggerate your own body movements. It just is an aid in seeing in the fact that you only have the one element, the crosshair, in relation to the target as opposed to iron sights with aligning the sights and then aligning them on the target.

    Characterizing the four-power scope as “a real aid, an extreme aid” in rapid fire shooting, Sergeant Zahm expressed the opinion that the shot which struck President Kennedy in the neck at 176.9 to 190.8 feet was “very easy” and the shot which struck the President in the head at a distance of 265.3 feet was “an easy shot.” After viewing photographs depicting the alinement of Elm Street in relation to the Texas School Book Depository Building, Zahm stated further:

    This is a definite advantage to the shooter, the vehicle moving directly away from him and the downgrade of the street, and he being in an elevated position made an almost stationary target while he was aiming in, very little movement if any.”

  23. The Wonderlic is a failure at predicting NFL success across the full range of positions, except where a negative correlation is found:


    It’s a long pdf file, but the money table is on page 37.

    QB .03

    RB .12

    WR .04

    TE -.28

    DL .03

    LB .04

    DB -.21

    The first number is correlation coefficient, which ranges from 1.0 (perfect positive correlation) to -1.0 (perfect negative correlation), and it describes the correlation between Wonderlic score and eventual NFL success (defined in the study). The second number is the number of subjects for each position in the study.

    Given the number of subjects, none of the positive correlations shown are statistically significant (that is, it can’t be said that the results were not the result of random chance). The ONLY statistically significant correlations found were the negative ones found for TE and DB.

    So it either helps to be stupid if you’re a TE or DB, or else the Wonderlic does not effectively measure what it purports to measure.

  24. @39 shot #1-2 sec.-shot #2-2 sec.-shot# 3. There are 4 seconds between three shots. He has 0.5 seconds to aim for shots 2&3. Does anyone know the timing of shots in film? How hard would have been for second gunman from different angle to co-ordinate his shot with Oswalt?

  25. ESPN is advertising 30 MLB games in 30 days, featuring 30 teams.

    Do the Yankees and Red Sox really play that many different teams in such a short time frame?

  26. People confuse “unlikely” with “impossible”. A successful three-quarter-court shot to beat the buzzer in basketball is unlikely, but sometimes it happens. When you think about it, everything that happens is extremely unlikely. The existence of Homo sapiens sapiens at all is amazingly unlikely.

  27. 23 — I think it just seems that way because both Maddux and Glavine have had their numbers retired in the last 2 years. There are only 7 retired numbers for the Braves franchise, which is pretty old. The last 2 decades were really successful for the Braves, of course.

  28. OL was left out of the above table, but the authors reference adding them to the study somewhere in the pdf file. No time to re-read it at the moment.

  29. @43. If test scores helped determine where someone was drafted or even drafted that means all things were not equal. Paper does not attempt to address that.

  30. If any of you can honestly get through this book and still feel you can muster a winning case for something other than a single gunman, I will treat for dinner near the ballpark to hear it.

  31. @50

    Except that it does, as mentioned in the very first paragraph of the abstract.

    “In terms of efficiency, results indicated that GMA (Wonderlic) was unrelated to: (a) future NFL performance; (b) selection decisions during the NFL Draft; and (c) the number of games started in the NFL.”

    So, we have a test that predicts nothing and doesn’t impact the decision it’s being used to impact. But we all get to call AJ Green and whoever else morons, so by all means, let’s keep it.

  32. Just reading book reviews of Bugliosi was enough to convince me that a) there was one gunman and b) I really, really don’t want to read that entire book to have to find out why.

    Rusty wins the comment thread with #38, I think.

  33. What kind of hold does Bonds have on this man? Is it just a case of Bonds giving him an obscene amount of money? I can’t really think of anything else that doesn’t defy credibility

  34. Heaven forfend he’s just someone who won’t lie for the Feds in order to save his ass. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen

  35. and this from CBS sports (which I have no idea if their stuff has any legitimacy):
    “Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that, while the Braves haven’t announced it yet, SP Brandon Beachy is expected to be named the team’s fifth starter soon. His main competition, Mike Minor, will start the year in Triple-A.”

  36. Spike, I know it’s trendy to imagine “the government” as complicit in grand conspiracies, vendettas, and all other sorts of nefarious acts, but doesn’t it strain credibility to suggest that Anderson is knowingly committing multiple felonies (contempt) and serving jail time just so he can avoid the perceived threat that he’ll be charged with perjury if he “tells the truth”? I mean, seriously, no one actually believed Susan McDougal refused to testify because of fear of a perjury charge.

  37. Thanks for the link to the passing of Pinetop Perkins, Mac. A late bloomer but was still making music long after most of his contemporaries where gone!

  38. I went to the Braves site and looked at Minor and Beacy’s numbers. While they are both having a good spring, it appears taht Minor’s number are a little better.

    I haven’t really paid attention, but how is Beachy beating out Minor?

  39. Smitty, it looks like Beachy has a few more Ks, one less BB and two fewer ERs in the same number of innings. I wouldn’t say that Minor’s numbers are better, but he is having a really good spring and he’s the only lefty vying for a SP position. I wouldn’t be surprised if Beachy made the roster as a reliever, but SP would surprise me.

  40. IIRC, Beachy has outperformed Minor in “b”, simulated, and/or Minor league game starts by quite a substantial margin. These stats are obviously not calculated in his Grapefruit League stats.

  41. @62

    No clue. The only two semi-feasible arguments I could come up with would be:

    1. Beachy’s 3rd pitch is more developed than Minor’s
    2. The Braves want to keep Minor in the minors a half season for the same reasons that they did with Hanson.

    Both those seem kinda weak though.

  42. doesn’t it strain credibility to suggest that Anderson is knowingly committing multiple felonies (contempt) and serving jail time just so he can avoid the perceived threat that he’ll be charged with perjury if he “tells the truth”? I mean, seriously, no one actually believed Susan McDougal refused to testify because of fear of a perjury charge.

    So in the absence of any evidence to support this line of thinking, just because the actors are not behaving as you think they should is proof enough of their guilt. Heads you win tails I lose.

    And speaking of losing, the Feds are getting their collective asses kicked in pretrial, and seem desperate enough to do anything at this point, up to and including muscling a nobody to get the testimony they want. If you are looking for motivation in re bad behavior, there is plenty to go around.

  43. Spike, the internal contradiction of the behavior and the rationale are evidence enough that fear of prosecution for perjury is not the motivating factor. To believe that line of thinking you’d have to conclude that Anderson (and McDougal, etc.) have an irrational fear of being accused of lying, so much so that they’ll commit equally serious crimes repeatedly and serve far more jail time rather than face the perceived threat of a perjury claim. It’s just, well, silly thinking.

  44. Again, if they say anything other than what you already “know” they must be lying. Nice work if you can get it.

  45. Umm, I didn’t say Anderson is lying — he has refused to answer questions after all. I said that your rationale for defending Anderson’s contempt is silly.

  46. Based on your infallible foreknowledge of what Anderson has to say, and why he isn’t saying it, I concede.

  47. I think you’re looking at it backwards. Let’s say the truth is different than the prosecution’s narrative, and it looks like a jury believes that narrative. Why on Earth would you answer questions? You’ll be convicted anyway, and you’ll get more of a penalty for “perjury” than obstruction.

  48. @73 – ????? Anderson is committing civil contempt — he isn’t otherwise charged by the prosecutors and therefore can’t be “convicted” of anything unless future charges are brought. Bonds is the one being prosecuted on counts of perjury and obstruction, not Anderson.

    Anderson has no idea whether the jury believes a narrative or not, since they have not heard a narrative. The jury had not even been empaneled or heard opening arguments when Anderson refused (I think on three separate occasions) to testify.

  49. I don’t know why you are so hung up on Anderson anyway. Is there ANYTHING Anderson could get up there say that would sway you? Anderson’s testimony is only useful in order to force the rest of the world to agree the Bonds is history’s greatest murderer, and for those folk who already subscribe, I suppose I understand the need for vindication.

  50. Right, but we aren’t allowed to drive a stake in his heart until after the successful completion of the show trial.

  51. Kafka would feel at home on this thread. I’m not hung up on Anderson, geez I just responded to your post about him. Time to move on.

  52. So MLBTR says the Braves are looking to trade Rodrigo Lopez. What could we possibly expect to see in return? I’ll start the bidding at a bucket of pine tar.

  53. @52 How can they calculate (b)
    In terms of efficiency, results indicated that GMA (Wonderlic) was unrelated to: (b) selection decisions during the NFL Draft;

    They have any way of knowing where players would be drafted without drafters knowing results of test. If they did not the study is bogus.

  54. The Bonds case reminds me of when a team I don’t like gets hammered by the NCAA for some infraction that shouldn’t be an infraction.

    Can’t decide whether I dislike the cop or the criminal more.

    There is no baseball player more distasteful, ungrateful and surly than Bonds (who remains the best hitter I’ve ever seen). I’m convinced that he (along with nearly every one of his contemporaries) used PEDs that were not against the laws of the land.

    Why the Feds were involved enough to even get lied to remains a mystery to me.

    A plague on both their houses.

  55. @87, I would think that refers to a non-correlation between high scores and selection rank.

  56. “Can’t decide whether I dislike the cop or the criminal more.”

    Good line, justhank. I think you’ve captured my feeling on the subject.

    Watching all these people I don’t like makes me just wish this whole circus would go away.

  57. @89 (Noncorrelation without causation? It does not answer question of whether high/low Wonderlick scores has impact on draft status.
    That would imply that scores are not used in selection process. Does not prove the hypothesis.

  58. And so kickstarter ends at $27,000 raised. Thanks to everyone here who spread the word and contributed, and for being awesome in general.

  59. PaulV, do you have some skin in this? Perhaps you could defend your right to know the intelligence test results of football players beyond getting a few yuks out of it. The study was peer-reviewed and published, which speaks to its validity to a far greater extent than your knee-jerk dismissals (the first of which clearly occurred without having even read the abstract).

  60. Anyway, the impact the test has on draft results is secondary to the finding that the study finds no positive correlation between test results and future on-field success. To the extent that it might be used, the authors have a fairly solid claim that it shouldn’t.

  61. So the Braves are going to go with a closer by committee with Kimbrel and Venters. I like it. The L-R combination of Gonzalez and Soriano worked well; and I think Kimbrel and Venters have equally good or, in Kimbrel’s case, better pure stuff.

  62. @88 – Anabolic steriods have been schedule III controlled substances since at least 1990. It is illegal to distribute, possess or use schedule III controlled substances without a prescription issued by a physician with a DEA license.

  63. @89 (Noncorrelation without causation?

    I sincerely hope this is a joke.

    It does not answer question of whether high/low Wonderlick scores has impact on draft status.

    It certainly isn’t evidence that it DOES, which is what I was suggesting. I am not sure how anyone can prove that it is evidence that it DOES NOT – the whole proving a negative thing and all. But as sansho noted, you seem to have some attachment to the idea, so by all means carry on.

  64. Hm. This will be an interesting demonstration of Gonzalez’s grasp of late-inning situational tactics. On the one hand, it’s potentially awesome, because we have two relief aces of opposite handedness, and he can deploy them strategically to shorten the game to 7 innings. On the other hand, Bobby Cox never got much more strategic than the consideration that righties don’t like hitting righties and lefties don’t like hitting lefties. I hope Fredi can bring a little more intelligence to the issue of who throws when.

    Also, in 2009, for what it’s worth, Rafael Soriano had 27 saves and 6 holds; Gonzalez had 10 saves and 17 holds. So even then, there was an effective bullpen hierarchy, even though it was far less rigid than usual.

  65. That’s not really what happened, though. Bobby started out using one of them, I think it was Gonzalez, briefly, as the closer. Then for a few weeks, in which they were very successful, he used both as matchups indicated. But for some reason, he then started to use Soriano exclusively.

  66. Wasnt Gonzalez hurt during part of that season though?

    edit: – nope, looks like he wasnt

  67. Actually, if there was a second shooter, I’m sure it was Barry Bonds. The fact he wasn’t born then is just a small detail. He thought that JFK was going to send a bill to Congress outlawing steroids in baseball starting in 1997. Bonds may also have been involved in the McKinley assassination because McKinley was known to be in favor of a larger strike zone.

    I don’t want to go into the Warren Commission, but just because Chipper Jones shoots rifles doesn’t mean he’s qualified to determine whether Oswald acted alone. There have been numerous studies (whether you believe them or not) in recent years suggesting he did. But, even if he didn’t, that’s a long way from saying someone in the U.S. Government was involved. There is no proof–other than what Oliver Stone and other conspiracy lovers assert–that the CIA or whomever was involved. Basically, the intelligence community thesis rests on the premise that JFK was going to pull out of Viet Nam and that the military/intelligence/right wing community killed him to stop this. IMO, it’s pretty far-fetched in the first place, but the entire theory rests on the assumption that JFK had decided definitively to withdraw and, while there is evidence both ways, it’s far from conclusive. If anything, it makes more sense that Castro would have had him knocked off because of how the administration was trying to kill him–that’s what Bobby Kennedy thought–but I doubt Castro would have risked the consequences if the U.S. found out about it.

    I don’t think the Zapruder film proves anything. Most of the suggestions that it shows second shooters and so forth have been disproven.

    As for the Wonderlich test, a friend and I discussed and we concluded that it was more a measure of test-taking strategy and reading comprehension skills more than anything else, which I guess is true of any standardized test. How that correlates to playing football I don’t know.

  68. How that correlates to playing football I don’t know.

    If you’re interested in finding out, please scroll up to #43!

  69. I think the real question we’re all afraid to ask here is:

    What does Francoeur know about a second shooter, and what would he make on the wonderlic?

  70. Let’s change the subject to something we can all enjoy – Ned Yost’s thoughts on Melky Cabrera –

    “Cabrera can bat second,” Yost said, “but, from what I’ve seen, there’s more value in having him behind our boppers. I think he’s going to be more of a run-producer.

    “He does a lot of things well offensively. He’s a switch-hitter, so you can’t negate him from the right or the left. You get guys on, he’s going to put the ball in play — and he’s going to put the ball in play hard.

    “And he can run the bases; he can create scoring opportunities in the middle of your lineup, which we didn’t have last year. We had guys who were cloggers. We can keep the offensive sequence going with him in the fifth spot.”

    Yeah. You can rest assured Melky will never be accused of clogging the bases.

  71. 104—I don’t even understand any of what Yost is saying, there. He’s talking about Melky Cabrera, right?

  72. @104 – I actually like and respect Ned Yost, but that is the silliest thing I have ever read about Melky. How many times did we see him staggering breathlessly around second base? I think Sid Bream would win the foot race, even today.

  73. @99 – I recall being a little frustrated when Bobby started using Soriano pretty much exclusively in the second half. Braves pretty much knew one or both guys were not going to accept arbitration. I wonder if Bobby was asked to increase one guy’s saves total? Couldn’t prove it, of course, but I wonder if things like that happen, especially for a premium position like closer.

  74. lineup today probably reflects OD lineup…
    1.Prado LF
    2.McLouth CF
    3.Chipper 3B
    4.McCann C
    5.Uggla 2B
    6.Heyward RF
    7.Gonzalez SS
    8.Freeman 1B

  75. I know heyward’s spring hasnt been discussed that much here but his OPS is a gaudy 1.216.

  76. @ 93 The lack of correlation between draft rank and test scores does not mean that test score is not taken into account when drafting. That would involve an unproven assumption that all other thing are equal. The history of boxing champions had Jewish, Italian and other immigrant groups domination. Now boxing is dominated by Latinos and African Americans. If one lacks opportunities elsewhere people work harder to do well in sports. High scorers may put less time in training for a reason.
    @98. I have an interest in stastics. I am shocked how poorly it is applied. From AGW to studies on gun control it it used to prove thing it does not prove.

  77. Paul — if I can please get you to put aside for a moment the question of whether teams use it to determine whether or when to draft a player. The main question is, does it work? Does it correlate with success? What is your position on that, and what evidence can you marshal in your defense?

  78. I assume teams use the test for something–otherwise why bother giving it. It must have some bearing on how teams evaluate players even if it’s a small one. I would imagine (with no evidence at all to support) that it is used primarily with players at the margin–guys that aren’t glaringly outstanding but might be useful players. It’s not going to outweight physical talent. Also, I assume that, for the top picks, teams perform in-person interviews. But they don’t do that for every player they draft so they want to have some measure of mental processes, albeit imperfect. It’s probably like any other standardized test–it give some measure of likely future performance but it isn’t perfect and there are obvious mistakes.

  79. I am shocked how poorly it is applied.

    We eagerly await your instruction on how it ought be done. Perhaps a link to some of your earlier work so that we can get up to speed before the lesson starts.

  80. BTW,

    Has anyone here had an MRI? What was your experience in terms of claustrophobia? I have to get one on my knee and my wife is telling me I should be sedated because it is so uncomfortable.

  81. Yay Bethany! I’m looking forward to getting my scorebook and poster (I’m cpillsbury at gmail on Kickstarter)… I just wish I was going to a game earlier in the season so I could use it.

  82. An open MRI isn’t so bad — my problem was falling asleep, then jerking awake and hoping I didn’t move so much as to destroy the scan. They wouldn’t put you into the full body tube just for a knee, would they?

  83. MRI’s arent bad, unless your clausterphobic. You can usually ask your Dr. for a prescription of Valium to take before if its an issue. I usually fall asleep during, but I’ve had so many I’m used to it.

  84. I did a bunch of fMRIs in college for cash. It’s not bad, and what sansho mentions is really the only major problem — unless you’re really actually claustrophobic, and enclosed spaces like closets literally terrify you, in which it could be a bad experience. If not, it’s annoying to have to stay still for so long, but otherwise no big problem.

  85. I have had 5 knee, 1 back, and 2 shoulder MRIs. For the knee and back MRIs they stuck me in the tube. They are noisy and if you have a problem with claustrophobia then the closeness of the tube might bother you. For me, no big deal.

  86. @115 Obviously if tests were properly used in draft there would be little correlation. Since the article gave no information on whether they were used I can give no opinion. If they study have information on which teams used results of test and which did not it would be different. I agree with @116 that teams meet with higher round draft picks and base decision on that meeting. I think desire may be more important than intelligence. Would a really intelligent person destroy his body playing football? Many mistakes are made with draft choices and big signing bonuses may be counterproductive. Trading down for lower draft choices and veterans may work.

  87. “Cabrera can’t bat second,” Yost said, “but, from what I’ve seen, there’s also no value in having him behind our other scrubs like Francoeur. I think he’s going to be more of an out machine.”

    “He does nothing well offensively. He’s a switch-hitter, but he can’t hit from the right or the left. You get guys on, he’s going to strike out or hit into a double play.”

    “And he can’t run the bases; he can’t create scoring opportunities in the middle of your lineup, which we didn’t have last year either. We had and have guys who suck. We can’t keep the offensive sequence going with him in the fifth spot.”

    I fixed it for ya, Ned.

  88. Sherrill and Proctor are woeful — and, apparently, have spots in the Braves’ ‘pen locked down.

  89. I just have to say that this thread is a perfect example of why I love BravesJournal; Wonderlic, Bonds trial, Kennedy theories, Melky and Frenchy jabs thrown in for good measure, even some actual Braves discussion.

    On a related note, I find it creepy that Frenchy and Melky will be in the same outfield this year. Their career trajectories are similar in terms of organizational movement: starting out with top-tier organizations and ending up where they are now, both having passed through Atlanta. Should be interesting to see how it plays out in Kansas City…and by interesting I mean hilarious.

  90. Yeah, I’m thinking George is going to take over the BJWB title the first time he pitches in a game that counts.

    Don’t forget Danny in Sherrill’s family tree, AAR.

  91. @133- assuming that baby was fed from birth only deep fried cheese curds dipped in ranch dressing.

    Listening to these terrible announcers makes me appreciate how lucky we were to have Skip and Pete all those years.

  92. Proctor doesnt have the bullpen spot locked down. The Braves will only be on the hook for about 150k if they cut him before the start of the season.

  93. MRIs-I always ask them to blindfold me as I am extremely claustrophobic but it doesn’t bother me as much if I can’t see how small the space is they are putting me in.

  94. The Nats’ formula: Sign and overpay for one good player, develop a couple of good players, fill out the other 22 spots of the roster with everyone else’s crap, finish last, rinse and repeat.

  95. I had an MRI done with the full body tube once. Wasn’t too bad. The first pounding of the magnets or whatever happens in that thing was really loud and scared the crap out of me, but after that I was fine. I got to listen to The Eagles Greatest Hits while I was in there too.

  96. Proctor and Sherrill are going to age me prematurely.

    On another note: Hmmm… deep fried cheese curds…

  97. I often get a good chuckle when I come here, but today’s rating is Full Bucksnort.

    And string theory is like Picasso. At some point, the geniuses (ok, genii) just throw shit out there to watch us lap it up.

  98. 124 – 60% of celebrities are insane. I think someone should have a reality show where they produce fake supernatural/absurd events (alien landings, Big Foot, ghost sightings) with celebrities and then watch them eat it up and call US Weekly the next day. Think Punk’d meets Scare Tactics. Pilot episode to include Gary Busey, Tom Cruise, Henry Fonda and Matthew McConaughey.

  99. @118,

    Just had my first MRI experience.

    The one my doctor uses is about a 6 foot cylinderopen on each end. The inteerior is about 4 to 6 inches of clearance over the nose. I could angle and see light.

    The “be still” problem didn’t get bad until the third series of scans (spine) and I couldn’t lie still because my lower back was hurting too bad.

  100. almost forgot about this guy…
    “Beau Torbert, the 27-year-old Alabaman who signed minor league deal with #Braves out of an independent league this winter, hit a homer off Tommy Hanson today for Double-A Miss.”

  101. 156 — It may mean Ed Lucas has made the roster, so that clears one of the two spots for him.

  102. Never had an MRI, but it seems to me it would be a vaguely unpleasant experience. Getting an MRI while listening to the Eagle’s greatest hits, however, probably violates the Geneva Conventions.

  103. Have the Braves decided that Mather isnt the guy? per mlbtr…

    Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would like to add a right-handed hitting backup to complement Eric Hinske, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). Back in December, I considered some options that fit that description.

  104. F*** Mike Anderson. As it’ll come out in the next few days, the guy is a two-faced lying coward. Less than a week ago, he was quoted publicly saying he wanted to retire at Mizzou. He’s ditching 6 seniors he recruited, and the two kids of his college roommate. This is how they found out.

    Here are the 12 top paid coaches in men’s college ball:

    John Calipari ($4 million), Tom Izzo ($3.4) Billy Donovan ($3.3 million), Bill Self ($3 million), Thad Matta ($2.5 million), Rick Pitino ($2.25 million), Mike Krzyzewski ($2.2 million), Rick Barnes ($2 million), Roy Williams ($2 million), Bob Huggins ($2 million), Ben Howland ($2 million), Sean Miller ($2 million)

    While he’s built a top 25 program at Mizzou, he hasn’t done anything to warrant being on that list. Mizzou offered him 7 years at 2 MM per even though they just gave him a raise last year after he pulled this same type of crap with Oregon, and he’s coming off a season where the team collapsed down the stretch. Arky’s giving him 2.2 MM per. Hope the extra 200 K is worth it scumbag.

    If he had just been straight-up the whole time it would be one thing, but now I’m doubly pissed at myself for buying into his bullshit. Good riddance.

  105. I still can’t figure out why Calipari makes more than Krzyzewski, Self, Williams, Izzo and Pitino.

  106. Wow… Arkansas sure has a tremendous history of hiring douchebags as head coaches. Lovely.

    Let’s go Jimmer.

  107. 160 — I think they mean in addition to Mather. Fredi has said that before this spring.

  108. 161—Really sucks, Ethan.

    162—That’s just the going rate for a future vacated Final Four or two.

  109. Diamond, Ortegano, Hyde…..Do we have to keep Proctor?

    I am also surprised about Hyde–However, with Ortegano we have a pitcher who could serve as the mirror image of Beachy. Maybe he will get it back together with the Yanks….

  110. Greetings from Miami Beach…

    I just explained the Infield Fly Rule to a British tourist in a skeevy bar. I thought, “This one’s for you, Skip.”

  111. @168
    How could she not?

    Good Luck with the MRI, Marc. This blog is the first time I’ve heard of requesting a blindfold before enetring the tube.
    I wonder if it’s a common practice.

  112. @165

    He is the dirtiest player in the game. Ala Ric Flair.

    Kentucky fans had better hope he doesn’t have a BBQ at his house. That is the worst thing you can do.


    That does suck. That also means that Tennessee will have to over spend for the assistant on a lower mid-major we are going to get to be our next coach.

  113. I also have a question about the Lee Hyde/Ortega movers.

    Do you guys think the Braves are leaving the door open for Wagner to make a comeback at mid year ala Petite or Clemens?

    That is the only reason I could see keeping him on the 40 man, or why he has not filed his papers yet.

  114. #172 – if he actually starts the season on the 40 man then yes I think the door may be open for him to return. However, Wags has been very convincing in his retirement stance.

  115. Thanks for that link stupup – although the other money quote was a bit depressing – ownership has slashed player payroll from $102 million to $84 million since 2008 despite higher revenue.

    Can you imagine if we had that 18m to drop on a FA like oh Werth or Crawford?

  116. Thanks for all the advice. The consensus seems to be that it’s not as bad as my wife says–she found it horrifying but that doesn’t seem to be typical unless you are very claustrophic. I had thought that they actually closed you in and that scared me but now that I understand that the tube is open at the end, it doesn’t seem as bad. I will just spend the time thinking about Cabrera and Francouer in the same outfield–of course, my uncontrolled laughing might invalidate the MRI.

    I agree with Ethan about Mike Anderson. These coaches are really something–they talk about the players making a commitment but apparently it doesn’t apply to them. I guess you could say he is doing these kids a favor by teaching them to be cynics. No wonder the players take money under the table.

  117. Bama looked great last night against Miami. Just withering defense.

    The SEC West won’t be the doormat for much longer.

  118. Got this PR from Fox. Puts lie to the saying that no news is good news.

    FOX Sports South, SportSouth Announce Braves Broadcast Team

    Caray, Simpson Return for Second Season in Booth

    Former Braves Glavine, Gant and Jordan Round Out Game Broadcast Team

    FOX Sports South and SportSouth today announced its 2011 Atlanta Braves broadcast team, which will call a combined 151 games on FOX Sports South, SportSouth and Peachtree TV.

    Entering his ninth season calling Braves’ games, Chip Caray returns as the main play-by-play voice for all 105 games on FOX Sports South and SportSouth and select Peachtree TV telecasts.

    Joe Simpson, in his twentieth season calling Braves’ games, will join Caray as the lead analyst for all FOX Sports South and SportSouth telecasts and will handle play-by-play duties for the majority of the 45 Peachtree TV telecasts.

    Former Atlanta Braves pitching great and future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine again will be part of the networks’ Sunday Braves on FOX Sports South broadcast team and will partner with Simpson to offer analysis for select Peachtree TV telecasts.

    Former Braves standouts Ron Gant and Brian Jordan will enter the broadcast booth throughout the season as game analysts for Peachtree TV telecasts and will continue to offer analysis on Braves LIVE, the only 30-minute pre-game and expanded post-game show for game telecasts on FOX Sports South and SportSouth. Host Fred Hickman and reporter Jerome Jurenovich round out the Braves LIVE team.

    For the first time ever, FOX Sports South and SportSouth will produce a combined 151 Atlanta Braves regular-season games and four preseason games during the 2011 Major League Baseball season, with all games scheduled to be televised in high definition. The first Spring Training telecast is Sunday, March 27 against the Philadelphia Phillies at 1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports South. Braves coverage is ongoing at FOXSportsSouth.com.

    The FOX Sports regional networks serving the Southeast – FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Tennessee and SportSouth – collectively reach more than 12.9 million cable and satellite households in seven states across the Southeast. They are the television home of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Bobcats, Memphis Grizzlies and Nashville Predators, as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Southern Conference, and offer expanded coverage of the University of Kentucky, University of South Carolina and University of Tennessee. Combined, the four networks produce more than 800 live local events each year. For more information, please visit FOXSportsSouth.com, FOXSportsCarolinas.com and FOXSportsTennessee.com.

  119. @178, another season on my back deck listening to the radio is fine by me

    @179 – Not true! Everybody knows that if you lower payroll ticket prices will come down. That’s why we need a salary cap, remember?

  120. When is Malone going to build his castle and moat to keep the serfs out?

    There was a time when stories like this would have filled people with disgust, but I guess today it’s ok to be rich and arrogant.

  121. it’s ok to be rich and arrogant.

    What do you think aspirational politics are based on? Somehow we’ve managed to get a number of blue collar people rooting for Old Man Potter over George Bailey

    /i know, dropping it now.

  122. It’s official. Brandon Beachy is our fifth starter. Straight from the peanut’s mouth.

  123. Showcasing Beachy early and giving Minor more time I guess. We really have a surplus of SP that could be moved at any point this season. Esp with Teheran/Minor/Medlen all capable to come in at some point this season.

  124. @167, I tried to fly to Miami today but it turns out there was a fire and a bomb scare at the airport. I haven’t been a very lucky traveler recently.

  125. CBS Sports is reporting that Lawrence Frank is the favorite to be offered the UT job. As he’s currently an assistant for the Celtics, he’d probably have to wait until they’re done – probably in late June.

  126. Think the Brewers would have the same answer now if we went back to them for a Beachy/Cain swap?

  127. I live in fear that we desperately need a lefty for our matchups (all 18 of them) with the Phillies. That’s ameliorated somewhat by Utley’s injury, but I sure would like to put Minor between Lowe and Hudson.

    About Wagner: Would love to have him back, but I’ll be surprised if we need him.

  128. New owner time for the Braves? Just curious, how would people feel about Cuban?

    Braves should attract someone pretty good. One of only two teams in baseball w/no debt. God save us from a Hicks, McCourt, or Wilpon type.

  129. The fifth starter isn’t very important early in the season and gets skipped often so maybe they just want Minor to get regular work.

    Unfortunately,as bad as Liberty is, it’s always possible to do worse.

  130. This is Rob Copenhaver coming to you live from Florida Auto Exchange Stadium for the Braves/Jays game where I’ve just witnessed Scott Proctor throw a tapper back to the mound 15 feet over Freddie Freeman’s head, conservatively listed at 6’5″. As I type, the same hitter stole third without a throw. Whoops, now a wild pitch has plated him. Credit Scott with an RBI!

    Jurrjens did leave the game after an inning. No one knows why. Spoke to Brooks Conrad before the game. I told him I’ve forgiven him.

    Now Proctor has given up a HR to Jose Bautista. You’ve clearly proved you can pitch in the big leagues, Scott. During BP!

  131. Listening to the radio call, even the Braves’ second-stringers sound pretty disgusted with Proctor.

    Get. Rid.

  132. @198, given that the only candidates allowed to even compete are Friends Of Bud, it’s going to be hard to avoid a Hicks/McCourt/Huizenga type.

  133. Beachy. Hmm, interesting. Well, I’m surprised. Is there any reason why starting Minor at Gwinnett extends the Braves control of his contract into another season?

    @200 – Actually the Braves April schedule has only two days off, so we’ll be seeing Beachy just about every five starts for awhile at least.

  134. @204 edit – Looks like no. 5 will be skipped on his second start, but on track for every five days thereafter.

  135. DOB tweeted that JJ “is confident” that it’s just a side cramp, nothing more.

    and Uggla hit his first HR of the Spring. A 3-run shot.

  136. My hunch on Beachy is that the Braves looked at the matchups and decided Beachy was a better fit for at least the first 3 games. I will bet Minor is planned to get a lot more of the work for Atlanta during the season unless a starter goes down.

  137. is juan abreu a sleeper for the last bullpen spot? spring numbers…
    11.1 IP 5bb 11k 7h 1r

  138. Smitty

    Correct me if I’m just plain wrong, but I thought I heard somewhere where the NFL doesn’t allow its owners to own other sports franchises. Can someone tell me if that’s true or not?

  139. I don’t know if there’s a new rule, but didn’t Huizenga own the Dolphins, Marlins and Panthers all at the same time?

  140. @191,

    Rumor is Frank has started that and I don’t think he will be the coach.

    The biggest name I am hearing is Anthony Grant. There are a lot of people throwing out names like Wright and Frank, but those aren’t realistic. Word is Grant wants out of Bama and UT might want pay near $2 million.

    I would say the odds of Frank getting the gig are 90-1. He wants an NBA job and is using the UT thing to get exposure.


    That would be a newer rule. Heizanga(sp) owned the Marlins and the Dolphins for a while.

  141. Also, word is Shaka Smart isn’t a canidate either.

    I think Grant is the top target and if that doesn’t work out they will move to a mid major guy like Greg Marshal, Greg Kampe or Rick Byrd.

  142. #168-69
    You know what they say: Chicks dig the Infield Fly Rule.

    Where are you flying from? If you get a minute & get sorted down here, hit me with a text.

  143. It could be they won’t take new owners that own another franchise, or I could be totally crazy (more likely).

  144. if cut by the giants, would aaron rowand be worth a gamble? He has a career .826 OPS against RHP.

  145. Just curious – wouldn’t Bama match any offer for Grant? They’d be crazy to let him go – especially to an SEC rival (and one that has earned a special level of, er, resistance to such a move in the recent past).

    My first thought after hearing JJ was pulled after one – he’s the one to trade.

  146. 211—Maybe it’s a new rule, but Paul Allen owns the Seahawks and Blazers.

    214—I would be shocked if Rick Byrd were remotely interested in that job.

  147. Stu,

    He is. He is a UT alum and has already contacted the school (allegedly)

    I would think Tennessee would have to miss out on some guys before they hired him.

  148. 222

    I am sure HE hasn’t contacted himself. But I am confident he has made his interest known.

  149. Ok, well. Just passing along what I hear and most people seem to think he is on the short list and will probably interview. I would be shocked if he gets the gig though.

    Do you know him?

  150. Needless to say, I haven’t heard anything about Grant being unhappy here. Nor would it make sense to leave a team on the rise with its three best players likely to return for a team that is about to get slammed by the NCAA.

  151. 226,

    Not sure we are going to get slammed by the NCAA with Pearl gone.

    There will be some punishment, probably will have to do with a few scholarship losses.

    Woulnd’t really call that slammed.

  152. I would think an incomming coach would be more worried about the unreast in the athletic department more so that the potential violations, at this point.

  153. Grant could be putting himself in a spot to make more money from Bama too.

    There is lots of talk, lots of smoke. Today’s flavor has been Grant. Tomorrow it could be someone else.

  154. Five cuts, including Diory. Also Minor (as expected), Acencio (or whatever his name is), Schafer, and Abreu. Stunned that they would go with Lucas as the backup shortstop but they pretty much have to now.

  155. @231,


    Brent Hubbs has mentioned his interest and Mike Griffith has mentioned he wasn’t pleased with teh fasilities at Bama.

    Hubbs also said he would want some assurences about the AD before he did anything.

    Brent Hubbs does the Rivals site and is usually dead on about this stuff. He has good sources.

    It is nowhere near a done deal and it probably will drag out for a few weeks. Someone just mentioned something about Lawrence Frank and I responded to it.

  156. I know Arthur Blanc loves the Braves. And I know he’s an extraordinary businessman. So buying into an uncapped league that’s trending downward when he already owns a local team (we can argue about which team has the most cache) is asking a lot.

    But Mr. Blanc, we’re asking a lot. A grateful public awaits your leadership.

    They’ll never be cheaper.

  157. So buying into an uncapped league that’s trending downward

    by what measure?

    And just for the record, Arthur Blanc may be Mel’s cousin, or an heir to a fountain pen fortune, but Arthur Blank owns Home Depot and the Falcons

    /and it’s “cachet” – a cache is a depot or store of something.

  158. About an hour ago I had ESPN on in the background- I work from home- and I think Outside the Lines was on. It was about Hispanic players I think, I wasn’t actually paying much attention, but at some point they mentioned that Nate McLouth was the most accomplished spanish-speaking smack talker in MLB. They made it sound like it wasn’t even close- Ichiro was second- and that this was common knowledge. Is everyone else aware of this and I just had my head in the sand?

  159. I guess the Lisp would be the last reliever unless the Braves pick Proctor for the team despite his latest bad outing.

  160. so, bench spot candidates left are Conrad, Lucas, Hicks, Young, Mather, and Ramirez, right? and bullpen spot candidates are Proctor or Martinez?

  161. @240 I remember it being mentioned when he was in Pittsburgh he just took it upon himself to learn Spanish. Smack talk no, but it makes sense. Learning how to curse in another language is great fun.

  162. http://ticketmasterblog.com/baseballs-most-valuable-teams/

    “The average MLB franchise is now worth $523 million, an all-time high and 7% more than last year. All of the league’s teams rose in value except for three: the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians….Overall, revenue for baseball’s 30 teams increased 4%, to $6.1 billion.”

    Gosh, that looks like a good investment opportunity to me.

  163. There’s no chance in hell that the braves can view Proctor as a better option over Lisp, right?

  164. @244 actually I’m invested mostly in gold and silver last year and this. I’ve done alot better that had I owned my own mlb team.

  165. #244 – Gosh, that looks like a good investment opportunity to me.

    buy when the market is low, not at an all time high

  166. Buying things that appreciate risk free 7% per annum and offer a limitless opportunity to hide money and take it out in the form of executive compensation is good anytime. Especially when, like McCourt or Steinbrenner, you don’t have to actually have much money at all.

  167. @252, does the gold/silver company let you employ you and your entire family at 6 and 7 figure salaries? I think you have to count that towards the return on investment.

  168. Who is the play-by-play guy calling UF/BYU? He’s the Chip Caray of college basketball.

  169. Florida missed about a million open shots that half, turned the ball over 10 times, shot worse than 50% from the stripe, and they’re tied. I’ll take it.

  170. Hopefully BYU can shoot better from 3 (they live and die by it) to give them a chance in the 2nd half.

  171. @249, 250,

    Seat Painter and Rusty S.: twins separated at birth or schizzophrenic Braves fan? Story at 11.

    I had booked a flight to Miami for 1 PM today, thinking it would be nice to wake up a little later in the day to go to the airport. Unfortunately that flight was canceled due to the fire at Miami International so the next available flight is 6:00 AM from an airport 45 minutes away. Lucky me.

  172. That French kid… I’m not sold on him yet. We’ll see how he does next year. Still, he’s given us some good minutes today.

  173. Woohoo! Won that one on defense. Tyus had a HUGE game and Parsons did his thing. Great job by Boytin and Wilbikin guarding Jimmer. Shame the outside shooting wasn’t there or the Gators would’ve won it in regulation.

  174. oh, BYU… Had a chance to win it at the end of regulation if you could just come up with a rebound.

    Seriously frustrated, but enjoy Gators fans. Good win for you guys.

  175. @254,

    Hey, Spike, define not having much money. If that’s the criteria for buying a team, I could own the Braves. :) And I promise I would fire Wren immediately and make Braves Journal the collective GM of the team. And, Proctor would NOT be on the team.

  176. McCourt had a parking lot and no cash, and Steinbrenner had about 100k in cash. you have to be an FOB (Friend Of Bud) to get the deal though.

    You can also exchange worthless stock for a 500k stake, and get $14.9 million for it 3 years later

  177. anyone have any ideas for a fantasy baseball team name dealing with the braves. one that is witty and hilarious preferred, but ill take whatever. thank you guys

  178. I’m going back to a Braves/Pirates junk swap: Ryan Doumit for Kenshin Kawakami. Doumit takes last bench spot and bench is Ross, Hinske, Doumit, Lucas, Young/Mather. The obvious benefit would be Ross becomes the primary RHPH and Doumit becomes the emergency catcher. Sure, Doumit can’t play defense worth a hoot, but neither can Conrad.

  179. And I promise I would fire Wren immediately and make Braves Journal the collective GM of the team.

    I know Mets fans who don’t hate Atlanta this much.

  180. Say what you will, but I’ve been much happier with a hotel porn magnate owning the Braves than I would have been with a lot of the jokers out there. They haven’t been extremely loose and free with the money, but they’ve allowed a pretty free rein otherwise.

  181. To steal a line from Douglas Adams, Liberty Media has been Mostly Harmless in their stewardship of the Braves.

  182. please God, NO Ryan Doumit. he was never all that good (5.8 WAR in 6 years and his defense is horrific) to begin with. I’m ALL for Trading JJ to the Yankees for Brett Garnder. We could then sit tight with our pitchers.

  183. “Well, except for the twenty percent cut in payroll in a time in which salaries are rising.”

    Great point. I think a lot of people conflate the good job Frank Wren has done with the Braves’ ownership situation. They’re not the same. The owners suck.

    Here’s the thing: the Dodgers and Mets, who have these disastrous situations with their ownerships, nevertheless continue to have higher annual payrolls than the Braves. And in the former’s case, the rapid decline of annual payroll hasn’t even been significantly more than has Atlanta’s. The problem those teams have are horrible contracts and misallocated funds–they have been saddled with bad GMS for the past few years. As bad as their owners have been, much of it could have been mitigated with better GMs.

    Which brings to the Braves, a team that, like the Dodgers and Mets, does have bad ownership but, unlike those teams, a very good GM. Simply put, Frank Wren understands the economics of baseball, especially on a team with a shrinking budget. That is, he understands–and I’m finally admitting this–that to win not only today but also tomorrow a team needs both reasonably affordable vets as well as, especially, pre-arb talent. Had the Dodgers or Mets had even a reasonably competent GM over the past three years they would be very strong teams, even with bad ownership. True, they would have been hamstrung during their past couple offseasons, but they would not have had much to do in order to stay good.

  184. I’m not sure I agree with you Adam. I think Wren has done a great job with the resources he has, but I don’t think Liberty qualifies as bad ownership in NEARLY the same way as the Dodgers & Mets have. Sure they’re not exactly free with the cash, but they’re also not leveraging the team so that the team will suffer in the long run, or that the team will have a drastically changing situation based on their other than baseball activities. I wouldn’t say they’re great owners, but they haven’t seemed to hamstring the organization with poorly thought out free-flowing money for the GM to get themselves in trouble with, and they haven’t made the GM work within the confines of a smaller market team’s budget.

    I’d make a financial analogy… You can have a “stock” owner or a “bond” owner. With a “bond” owner you don’t give the GM enough money to either hamstring the team, or make the huge moves to generate a quick championship. With a “stock” owner (which would be the Wilpons or the Steinbrenners I’d guess) you end up with a lot of latitude to fail OR succeed. Ideally you’d want an owner between those two extremes, maybe dub him/her an “index fund” owner who gives you enough to work with to grow, but also has an eye on how well the GM is doing so the team doesn’t get over-extended financially on bad contracts.

    That may be a pretty strained metaphor, but I can’t come up with a better one at the moment.

  185. @280, I would concede they have been “less harmful” than the Wilpons/McCourts, but giving the GM some poorly thought out free money sure would have helped the last couple of seasons – I’ll make a vampire analogy – a “bad” owner bleeds the vict..er…team as much as possible, and if it dies, it dies. A “good” owner doesn’t bleed it to the point of death, just occasional weakness, so there will be a constant supply. A “great” owner turns the team into a vampire and uses it to bleed out the fanbase.

    I have no problem with this – it’s fundamental to businesses, which is what these things are, and social institutions only secondarily.

  186. The problem is you don’t know what the next owner will be like. Liberty certainly doesn’t evince much interest in the team and its financial decisions have made things more difficult. But as BFedRec says, it has not, unlike the Mets and Dodger owners, effectively eviscerated the team’s ability to win. Up here, Dan Snyder has loved to spend money recklessly signing over-the-hill free agents for the Redskins in order to makes a splash; Peter Angelos did similar things for the Orioles for years. What you would obviously like is an owner that is willing to spend money judiciously but leave the actual decisions in the hand of baseball people. So, Liberty gets it half right. I don’t really care that John Malone didn’t come out to the playoff games or that the Braves aren’t a “strategic asset.” I would be happier if the spent money more commensurate with the revenue being generated. And, yes, Wren deserves a lot of credit for what he has done, but you can’t simply say that the Mets and Dodgers have lousy GMs without blaming this on the owners who hired them. Whatever annoying financial constraints that Liberty has set, the team is in pretty good position to be more than competitive for a long time.

    I would like to have ownership like the Phillies, who seem willing to pay the money but then let the baseball people run things. But you don’t know what you will get.

  187. A thousand pardons for my imperfect French. Apparently we hillbillies aren’t at the top of our games before dawn. Asshole.

    But the owner you describe, Marc, is Arthur BlanK. He had a bit too much Jerry Jones at the beginning of his tenure with the Falcons, but the Vick / Petrino experience seems to have positioned him perfectly. And with an uncapped salary structure, he can do what he does best (recruit) with only self-imposed limits.

    We don’t need to spend like the Yankees or even the RedSox. But we’re starting to fall below the middle of the pack salary-wise and no amount of scouting and adroit General Management can sustain excellence under that scenario.

    Please, Arthur, please!

  188. Baseball economics.
    Even with JC’s help I can’t get it.
    Still can’t see how an organization can declare bankruptcy in 2009 and be in the World Series two years later.
    The two facts may be unrelated but, I mean, no correlation?
    Maybe Albert will get $30 million a year.

  189. @255
    Spike, if I had a half a billion dollar asset portfolio, I probably wouldn’t be all that concerned with a couple of % points. But then again, I’m not sure you get to have that kind of scratch by settling for 7% every year.

    Though when my portfolio does hit 9 digits, drinks are on me.

  190. @287, may you buy me a drink soon then. But the larger point was that baseball investments are really just invitations to the free money club – no real portfolio is required, unlike the mundane things you and I might place our capital into.

  191. @290 true enough, the uber-rich do seem to play with a different set of rules. I’ve been doing a fair bit of research into the economy of late and am getting more and more worried about what this summer will bring. Though, somehow you know that the bankers and stock scammers will still get their bonuses. but that is a different rant for a different day. Hopefully we can talk about it over a beer sometime.

  192. It’s nice to see Wilkin and Rodrigo are regressing to their means. Hicks hasn’t yet, but 1500+ PA’s in the minors don’t lie. It’s too bad really; if you could combine his glove with Conrad’s bat, you’d have the perfect bench player. The Lisp is so much better than Proctor, though to be fair, that bar hasn’t been set very high.

    My only requirement for a potential new owner is that he not need protection from himself. That’s when the wheels seem to come off for MLB franchises.

  193. RE: Wren

    Yeah, I think he deserves much more credit. We have a team that should win 85-90 games with a top 3 farm system and a constantly decreasing budget.

    Someone at ESPN (Ford?) does NBA Future Rankings, and if they did those for baseball, I’d think the Braves would have to top the list, or at least be top 3.

  194. FanGraphs does something similar (“Organizational Rankings”), and they’re in the process of revealing them.

  195. Justhank,

    I don’t live in the Atlanta area so I don’t know much about Blank but obviously he has done a great job with the Falcons and clearly he would be preferable if he were to buy the team. All I’m saying is, if he doesn’t, you might get someone worse than Liberty. I mean, Ted Turner was an awful owner until he got smart (or got too busy to meddle with the Braves). Don’t get me wrong–I’m not defending Liberty.

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