108 thoughts on “Born to game thread: June 13, Braves at Astros”

  1. @144, perhaps it appears to be a dichotomy, but to me, there is no logical disconnection. Jeff asked the rhetorical question about whether the telos of fandom is the player or the team. Of course, the answer is neither – the true telos is the game itself. My “sporting interest” is of course in the home team. I prefer them to win. But my fandom is of baseball. I like watching good baseball players. That they often play for the other team may run counter to my sporting interest, but watching say, Victorino come through time after time against his biggest rival at crucial moments appeals to my fandom of baseball.

    /148, posted this before I read yours, but I think it covers the question.

    Fans of the Cavs were the ones upset by Lebron’s ignorance and lack of tact.

    There didn’t appear to be too many fans of the Cavs pre-James, and it doesn’t look like there are many post either. Until the next “savior” comes along at any rate.

    I would also offer up a #4 on your list – fans of teams that happen to be winning at the moment. They seem to be the largest group by far

  2. Spike, re-posting my response to you:

    There didn’t appear to be too many fans of the Cavs pre-James, and it doesn’t look like there are many post either.

    I think that’s unfair. It’s Cleveland’s team. There’s no great way of quantifying how many fans a particular team has; attendance totals are a terrible proxy, because tickets are expensive. But if you grow up as a basketball fan in Cleveland, the odds are that you’re a Cavs fan, for the same reason that I’m a Braves fan because I grew up in Atlanta. There are millions of potential fans and probably tens of thousands of actual fans. That’s who LeBron’s “Decision” was aimed at, and that’s who got hurt by it.

  3. It’s Cleveland’s team. There’s no great way of quantifying how many fans a particular team has; attendance totals are a terrible proxy, because tickets are expensive. But if you grow up as a basketball fan in Cleveland, the odds are that you’re a Cavs fan, for the same reason that I’m a Braves fan because I grew up in Atlanta.

    I find it to be a great relative indicator though. To extend your Atlanta analogy, support for the team has always been a mile wide and an inch deep, at the best of times. Every sport plays second fiddle to college football, whose attendance barely varies in relation to record. Now, that is a fanbase. The Cavs didn’t seem to engender anything like that prior. James played, and played hard for EIGHT years for that town, and I’ve not heard many say “thanks for bringing quality basketball to Cleveland”, just “you owe it to us to stay.” This makes you a fan of the laundry only when it is convenient to be one, and the anger is more about how it’s going to be no fun unless “we” are winning rather than any particular love of the Cavs.

  4. Your point works well as a generalization, sure. But there are always diehards. Hell, there are still some actual baseball fans in Pittsburgh, despite the Pirates doing everything short of going door to door to extinguish their fandom. I think that you’re eliding over the existence of actual Cavaliers fans, just as LeBron did.

    Hell, you and Ububba and Marc Schneider and Randy and Stephen and Mac and urlhix a bunch of others on this blog rooted for the Braves long, long before they were good, and you’ll probably keep rooting for them if they go through another decades-long morass of sucking. If Jason Heyward were to hold a press conference and announce that he was going to take hundreds of millions of dollars to go to another team because there are no real Braves fans, and everyone who rooted for the team was only rooting for the team because they were successful, that would be an insult directed at you and me. We might even take offense. That’s kinda what LeBron did.

  5. But again, you confuse my sporting interest with my interest in the sport. Heyward’s actions are his own business, and while I would prefer he stay, it wouldn’t bug me if he wanted to go to a better working environment. And it certainly wouldn’t stop me from admiring his skill as a player. That’s why I never get too down when the team isn’t doing well. It’s still NL baseball on natural grass. That’s really all I need out of it.

    there’s no such thing as a Cavalier fanbase.

    Never said that – just noted its relative size seemed to remarkably coincide with James’ dates of employment.

  6. I hope that this game thread doesn’t cause a jinx because it’s without a Steely Dan video.

  7. The Cavs had a ardent fanbase in the Bingo Smith Era & again in the Mark Price Era. Like a lotta places we know, they bailed when they sucked. No mystery, really.

  8. Just wanted to pop in and followup the LeBron/sports as business thread. For the most part, I tend to agree with Spike, with the rather notable caveat that I hardly ever root for players. I *only* root for laundry. But I never hold it against a player if he decides to take a contract with a different set of laundry. I simply can’t fathom the hatred of Mark Teixeira around here, for example. I don’t want him to play well (especially against Atlanta) but I harbor no ill will toward him for taking the Yankees’ contract. That’s his business. He’s not playing little league for fun.

    I think LeBron gets a bad rap because it fluked out that he played his first few years with his home-town team. The fact that Cleveland won the lottery the year James was available built this cute little narrative of the hometown hero battling for his people. And of course, the Cavs sold the hell out of that narrative, and a gazillion tickets in its wake. But when it became clear that Cleveland was content to milk the narrative and not complete the team LeBron needed to win a championship in Cleveland, LeBron bolted.

    Now, the decision was crass and poorly played. But that just means his PR people need to get better, not that his decision to leave was immoral or whatnot. He’s a professional entertainer who found a bigger stage in Miami. C’est la vie.

  9. I think it’s a bit premature to talk about Heyward leaving (or did i miss some story).

    Honestly I think he wasn’t too happy being at home tweeting with Moylan while watching the braves go on a 6 game run.

    Glad to see he’s coming back.
    That said if you don’t follow Moylan on Twitter you’re really missing out, will be ALMOST ALMOST a shame when he gets healthy.

  10. Lots of outs at the bottom of tonight’s lineup…
    6. Mather RF, 7. Hicks SS, 8. Young LF, 9. Lowe P

  11. We interrupt your regularly scheduled Steely Dan….

    Now the Braves are going to lose.

  12. 14 – I think what’s interesting, for me, is that I know a lot of people who never hold it against players when they leave a certain team–many, if they care at all, root for those players even after they’ve gone on to greener pastures–but in this case almost all of those people found Lebron’s decision arrogant and irritating. As such, many of them, even though none were fans of the Cavs during the 2000s, rooted against the Heat this year.

    And you know what was fine about them doing that? It made the season more interesting, more fun. I think that which has been missing in this discussion, which so far has revolved mostly around Lebron’s relationship with the Cleveland fanbase, is that it’s FUN to root for and against some players, and some teams, and even in college sport’s case, some leagues. As ububba said in the last thread, every league needs villains. And the truth is, every league needs them because having villains helps make a given season more compelling and, as a consequence, more fun to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed this NBA season in large part because the Heat were villains and the Heat ultimately lost.

    Narratives matter, no matter what folks here say. If sports depended upon the “true fans” who just love National League Baseball or the art of shooting a basketball for its own sake, sports would fail as a consumer-driven business. Lebron’s making himself into a villain (however unwitting or deserved), and Cleveland’s fitting into the role of “scorned,” was a useful narrative from the NBA’s perspective and an appealing one from the average NBA fan’s perspective. To be sure, many fans take things too far; I would never condone the type of fanaticism that lead fans to make things personal and ugly and hateful. But at the same time I can’t condemn people’s generally harmless dislike of certain players and love of other players because those sentiments are crucial to being a fan. Indeed, in the end there is something inherently irrational of being a sports fan, of dedicating your time and energy to something so beyond your control and so materially unimportant to your life. That sports matters at all to people is due, at least in part, to the compelling nature of the narratives they tell about it, and to deny the import of those narratives is to ignore why sports is so successful as entertainment.

  13. JC’d in the last thread…

    My wife is from the Akron/Canton area, we hang an 80’s-era Cavs Christmas ornament on our tree every year.

  14. @14, Does anyone here hate Teixeira? The douche talk started when he was in Atlanta (thanks to the hopefully true Tim Hudson text story) and has never seemed mean-spirited to me.

  15. @19-I don’t hate Tex, but he’d be fun to boo if the Yankees came to Atlanta.

    Steely Dan has been good to us…I’m nervous

  16. LeBron left his homestead to play with his pals and win something greater. Nothing wrong with that. Something pretty American about that story, actually.

    It was the layers of horse hockey he and his handlers covered it in with The Decision that blew all that to hell. You can talk about upping Brand LeBron impact all you want; no one likes a jerk. LeBron doesn’t have the greatest self-awareness in the world, but he’s still a grown man. Should’ve seen it coming.

    Ah well.

  17. I was able to be front row for an E Street Band show in Cleveland back in 2007, and see the band again in 2008 and 2009. All I can say is get well soon, Big Man. There’s nothing like the “Jungleland” solo.

  18. #14 – exactly to the point. Well stated.

    I guess I follow the laundry, from the late 70’s to now. Go Braves.

  19. It seems to me like there’s been a lot of pitchers hitting homers lately, so who do ya’ll think will be the next Braves pitcher to go deep?

    I’m gonna say EOF.

  20. Though Hanson hit the ball hard yesterday, the most likely Braves pitcher to homer is probably Hudson. The current Braves staff has, as best as I can tell, only one homer, by Hudson.

    That being said, both Medlen and Beachy were position players who occasionally pitched in college. Beachy has a homer in the minors (in just 14 career PA, he’s 2-12 with the hits being a homer and a double). Medlen probably won’t get many chances to hit when he gets back, but he was a .333 hitter in the minors, with a homer.

    And Peter Moylan led the Western Australian League in homers his last season Down Under.

  21. Basketball is not an exhibition like ballet. I enjoy teams that make the adjustments needed to win. Heat adjusted to stop Dirk and let his teammates beat them. I watched Carlise help UVA go to Final Four the year after Sampson graduated. The two teams that fired him as coach suffered when he left. RC transferred from Maine to UVA, but it was a smart move. Good piano player.

  22. Carlisle is the Davey Johnson of basketball, an extremely successful and talented coach with a real knack for rubbing management in the wrong way. He seems to be in the right place now.

  23. In terms of starting pitching, I would probably agree. I think the duo of Jurrjens and Hanson matches up favorably to Halladay and Hamels but Lee and Oswalt are slightly ahead of Hudson and Lowe. Joe Blanton sucks,though, and I’d take Minor or Beachy over him.

    Our bullpen is much better.

  24. Well, so does Mike Minor. (Indeed, Minor’s 929 is ahead of every Braves position player this season except Wilkin Ramirez, who had 3 PAs.)

  25. Cole Hamels has a higher OPS than Jordan Schafer.

    But Jordan Schafer is a spark to the lineup!

    /EmmaStone

  26. Really didn’t want to give Freeman anything to swing at there.

    Of course with Mather, Hicks and Young coming up that is entirely understandable.

  27. Schafer supplied a spark in that inning, but the rest of our offense alertly spotted the fire and extinguished it before any damage was done.

  28. Braves’ top of the second:

    Hicks
    Young
    Lowe

    You can just feel the runs about to be scored.

  29. 44- I can, but that has something to do with the questionable fish I had for lunch.

  30. I’d like to pick everyone’s brains for a second or two. What are the Braves Journalers thoughts on the potential for realignment? Currently, they are toying with the idea of two 15 team leagues? Are you in favor? Are you against? Why or why not?

    Yes, I do know the 15 team leagues leave the leagues with odd numbers in each.

  31. Against. The 15/15 realignment just isn’t workable because there’s no audience for increased interleague play, and the alternative would be to have at least two teams not playing every night. The proposal to eliminate the divisions is even worse, because it would sap most of the excitement from the pennant races. Fortunately, I just don’t see any likelihood that these ideas will be implemented; they’re too obviously dumb.

  32. Hicks definitely scares the hell out of me with his fielding, just as much as Diory. (Maybe not as much as Conrad, though.)

  33. I would be in favor of any realignment that results in a balanced schedule.

    Any alignment that results in unbalanced schedules sucks, IMO.

  34. I’d like to pick everyone’s brains for a second or two. What are the Braves Journalers thoughts on the potential for realignment? Currently, they are toying with the idea of two 15 team leagues? Are you in favor? Are you against? Why or why not?

    If the leagues are playing each other basically year-round, how does the DH rule work? Home ballpark? Isn’t that just a backdoor method of bringing the DH to the NL? Will NL teams need to sign expensive DHs? Will AL teams who’ve given expensive contracts to DHs suddenly find them a lot less needed?

  35. FWIW, I don’t think teams would have to sign expensive DH’s. You’d just see more Barbaro types to fill that role.

    That being said, I’m not a fan of the DH but it’s been around as long as I remember, so it doesn’t bother me that much either.

  36. We’d DH with one of Hicks/Mather/Young … depending on matchups, and exactly how quickly you wanted to make an out.

  37. I really do not like Hunter Pence. WHen i heard the braves might get him I was thinking about ways I could avoid seeing him play in a Braves uni. Like maybe getting up to go to the bathroom while he’s at bat or just pretending he didn’t exist out in the field.

  38. Mather makes outs so fast that you barely even have time to recognize that he’s at the plate.

  39. Heyward’s night is done. 1-3 with a double and walk. I would propose that we’d be better off with Heyward doing his rehab in the majors. In fact, we’d be better off playing without a right fielder until Heyward gets back.

  40. The ump at first base tonight is the same one that missed the 3rd strike right down the middle.

  41. That commercial with the birds is like, “Hey, want to hear the most annoying sound in the world? EHHHHGHHHGHHHHGHH!”

  42. Is Hinske banged up too by the way? I can’t see the reasoning behind starting both Mather and Young when we’re already giving away another out with Hicks at third.

  43. 68 — The whole LHP vs. LHB thing, plus Fredi probably sees it as a way to give him a day off.

    70 — A drunk Lowe, at that.

  44. With no one on, they’re sticking to the plan, being selective. As soon sad there’s a man on, they can’t wait to make outs.

    Wandy should just hit the leadoff man every inning, save pitches.

  45. I think it would have been better just to forfeit today’s game and fly home last night.

  46. Hicks has a lot of range, and he’ll be very good if he can improve his accuracy.

  47. Considering Young bats (if you can call it that) left handed too, I just don’t get why you wouldn’t put Hinske in. Let him have a day off (if he really needs it) when AAG is in the line-up.

    This game just do seem like a forfeit by Frediot, might as well have Diory at short and Hicks at third and give everyone possible a day (more) off.

  48. I think it would have been better just to forfeit today’s game

    They did with the lineup.

  49. 2 to 0 in the 6th, we’ve won how many in a row, and the “game over” whiners are present. Seriously, how can you few not be annoyed with yourselves?

  50. Two hits in six innings against Wandy Rodriguez, a gassed Lowe, Venters unusable, and you don’t think we’re likely to lose this one?

    And it’s this lineup that annoys me.

  51. The fact that the Braves have one of the best records in baseball and yet are running Joe Mather, Jordan Schafer, Brandon Hicks, and Matt Young out there: now that is amazing.

  52. Brian, have you not noticed that every game the “ballgame” whiners are present? It’s just annoying. A select few act like this team is the worst team in baseball.

  53. Well, the obvious is stated even when it’s not obvious, like tonight. It’s the Astros for crying out loud.

  54. Linebrink was worried about the top relievers. Or maybe Fredi was. In any case, Linebrink just made sure they’re gonna get some rest tonight, which, I suppose, is just as well.

  55. The problem is that the lineup we’re running out there tonight IS one of the worst in baseball.

    Mather-Schafer-Young is simply not a major league outfield; no more than one of them, probably Schafer, belongs on a major league roster, and that as a 5th outfielder. Hicks isn’t even an above-average AAA player. Gonzalez is a replacement-level hitter, and Uggla’s been worse than that most of this year. Freeman and McCann can’t bat in every inning.

    The “ballgame” folks are amusing, but let’s face it; they’ve been right as often as not in the last month. And they’re right tonight.

  56. Linebrink is really, really bad.

    Instead of making bad puns off his name – “Linestink” – we could just call him “The 4-run inning.”

  57. If Hicks can’t bring an above-average glove — or even a decent one — there’s no reason for him to be anywhere near a 25-man MLB roster.

    EDIT: And then he turns a nice DP. Don’t I feel like a jerk.

  58. Just one of those games, but I suspect I am not alone in hoping Lowenbrau develops a hangnail about the time Beachy is ready to return.

  59. Pretty sure this was an exhibition game, so at least it won’t count in the standings.

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