Braves 10, Cubs 4

Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 12, 2011 – ESPN.

The Braves decided to use Bobby Cox night as an excuse to whip the Cubs. Well, you never really need an excuse to whip the Cubs. Basically, they made Carlos Zambrano look like Victor Zambrano.

Dan Uggla, once again, got things started, and out of the way, with a second-inning homer to straightaway centerfield. Later in the inning, a Jose Constanza bunt attempt (he was called out, rightly, for running out of the baseline to avoid a tag) scored Chipper Jones to make it 2-0. The Cubs got a run back off of Mike Minor in the third, but that was as close as they’d get.

Chipper hit a long homer in the bottom of the inning, scoring Freddie Freeman and Uggla, to make it 5-1, and then Constanza (career minor league homers: seven) added on with a solo homer — down the line to the opposite field — to make it 6-1. Freddie and Uggla went back-to-back in the fifth, and then Zambrano threw at Chipper to get ejected from the game. Joe Simpson went crazy about how unprofessional Zambrano was being, as if pitchers haven’t been doing that after giving up homers for a hundred years, but anyway I had a certain sympathy for Zambrano. If I had given up eight runs and five homers in 4 1/3 innings and my manager was refusing to come get me, I might take matters into my own hands myself.

Anyway, the Cubs crawled back to 8-3 when Martin Prado hit the wall and dropped a ball for a double in the sixth; Cristhian Martinez wound up having to come in and finish the inning for Minor. There would be no Proctoresque setup for a save nonsense on this night. The Braves got the runs back in the bottom of the inning with a Brooks Conrad single and Michael Bourn sac fly.

Arodys Vizcaino pitched the seventh and eighth, allowing one hit and getting one strikeout. Anthony Varvaro allowed a solo homer, but also struck out the side in the ninth.

Farewell to Ernie Johnson. He is missed.

76 thoughts on “Braves 10, Cubs 4”

  1. My folks gave me a transistor radio for Christmas in 1974, and I remember many nights over the next couple of years when I would put it under my pillow and listen to Ernie’s call of the game. There’s no way he wasn’t an extraordinarily nice man. R.I.P.

  2. From the last thread:

    I think I watched every single game in 1993. I would come home from school, do my homework, and turn on TBS at 4:30 PT to watch Ernie, Pete, Skip, and Don call the games. Despite a tough conclusion to that season, it was a pretty magical one to watch.

    We lived near San Francisco and went out to Candlestick when the Braves were in town. My dad caught a Dave Justice homerun at one of the games and the camera caught him giving the ball to me. Skip and Ernie both commented, “That kid wouldn’t give that ball away for $100.”

    RIP Ernie.

  3. Local Cub beat writer just tweeted that Zambrano just cleaned out his locker and told the Chicago trainers that he’s retiring.

    The Cubs can only hope it’s true.

  4. Per DOB:

    #Cubs’ Zambrano cleared out his locker and reportedly told some teammates he’s retiring.

    lol, well if he follows through with that the Cubs get some money back

  5. 3 — I thought the same thing. I guess nobody ever called Charles Thomas “Hurricane” but it would have fit.

  6. LOL! Carlos Zambrano has reportedly cleaned out his locker and announced his retirement!

    Ahh, #5 beat me to it.

    Only thing I regret is we apparently will never have the chance to see him again. His last moment in baseball is throwing at Chipper Jones. What a classy guy.

  7. I don’t think this “retirement” will last very long, once he calculates how much money he’ll owe the Cubs.

  8. @6, Thanks for the comment. I actually just found the ball the other day when I was visiting my childhood home. My aunt did some work with the Braves in 1994 so she got Dave Justice to sign it for me. It’s nice to have it on my bookcase again.

  9. Joe Simpson went crazy about how unprofessional Zambrano was being, as if pitchers haven’t been doing that after giving up homers for a hundred years, but anyway I had a certain sympathy for Zambrano.

    Seriously. What was with all that whining Simpson was doing?

  10. I’m so happy I discovered I can listen to WCNN with the video feed on MLB.TV. I don’t plan to listen to Chip or Joe again.

  11. It’s getting better. Cubs manager Quade just told the media that Zambrano “just walked out on 24 teammates”.

  12. I’m okay with Joe Simpson’s comments. Zambrano is one of the least respected players in the game. And he shows again tonight why.

    Have pitchers thrown at batters after homers for a hundred years? Sure. But did Glavine do it? Nope. Maddux? Rarely. Smoltzie. Remember it a couple of times, but mainly as protection of his guys.

    If Chipper hot-dogged his first homer, would I be more okay with it? Sure. But that didn’t happen. And none of the homers were out of your ordinary home run trots.

    Lack of professionalism and composure by Zambrano. For the 14th or 15th time in his career.

  13. Pitchers have been throwing at hitters forever. Sometimes they have justification for that. Sometimes, less so. But Zambrano tonight was so far removed from the norms of the game that it would have been shocking if Joe hadn’t called him out. Having him mar Bobby’s big night probably played into the disgust with Zambrano too.

  14. I’m so happy I discovered I can listen to WCNN with the video feed on MLB.TV. I don’t plan to listen to Chip or Joe again.

    Question: Does this work on iPad too? If so, how? And is the radio feed ahead of the TV or not?

  15. When was the game against the Phillies in ’91 or ’92 where Glavine had to throw at Dale Murphy?

    He did so very reluctantly. Each pitch was a changeup, the first inside but not close. They slowly got closer and closer until on ball 4 the ump threw Glavine out.

    IIRC, that Phils pitcher Wally Ritchie was being a dick or something? Damn, I need a new memory.

  16. And you sort of saw the meltdown coming a mile away. Especially after T-Bone’s liner to left went out. That is when Z’s head went kablooey and it was over for him.

  17. @21
    It was Roger McDowell!
    “Tom Glavine vs. Dale Murphy, June 19, 1991: After Philadelphia’s Roger McDowell drills Atlanta’s Otis Nixon in the top of the ninth inning, it’s time for payback. The responsibility falls to Glavine, whose body language suggests he would rather drill Mother Teresa than his friend and former teammate, Murphy. Glavine throws four batting-practice fastballs well inside, but can’t muster the enthusiasm to paint Murphy’s back porch red. Umpire Bob Davidson ejects Glavine, regardless.”

  18. My favorite Ernie memory was in 1982 when the Braves won their 13th straight to open the season. RIP Ernie.

  19. Thanks 22 and 24! I remember watching that over at my then girlfriend’s house. It was her first baseball game and what an introduction. Here I was explaining things to her, the basics, and then all this drama breaks out. (“Well, see, he’s supposed to hit this guy now, but he’s the nicest guy on the planet so he really doesn’t want to, but if he doesn’t then he’ll look stupid.” “Huh?”)

  20. @19
    I’m not sure if it works on IPad, but when the game is pulled up and normal audio is applied, on the left hand side of the bottom toolbar (that comes up when the mouse is moved over the screen) there are 2 icons for audio and video. If you click on the audio icon, there will be a bar that comes up and says audio overlay. Pick WCNN and WOOT! You’re there.

  21. @19, I’ve never watched on the iPad so I’m not sure, but it was in the toolbar in fullscreen mode. I found it by accident.

    EDIT: I owe Ryan a Coke.

  22. I would have thought the Lisp/Vizzy/Vava pen usage tonight would have gotten some proper kudos for the Fredster tonight. But then again, when the Braves were banging out 10 runs and destroying the Cubs left and right, Peter was tweeting snark about Prado’s defense, so I guess you see what you look for.

  23. I really was expecting Zambrano to start throwing batting practice fastballs just to see how many long ones it would take to get Quade to start the bullpen. He wanted out and Quade was ignoring him (did you note his glaring into the dugout?). Since Quade refused to take him out, he got himself thrown out. The whole scene was hilarious, especially with Joe’s “I-can’t-stand-this-jerk” commentary.

  24. @29 Perhaps you just have a really low bar for Fredi, but shouldn’t that be obvious? This reminds me of the Chris Rock bit in Bigger and Blacker:

    “I ain’t never been to jail!” What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!

    Should we give Fredi props for coloring within the lines on his scorecard, too?

  25. I think it’s worth noting that Parrish’s “no sac-fly” approach at the plate has yet to sink in with Bourn.

  26. As Don announced Ernie’s passing, he sounded on the verge of tears. Then a few minutes later he related the story of how Ernie got him the job with the Braves.

    They also mentioned that Skip would have been 72 today.

  27. Rodman was a guy I loved even though he played for a hated rival team. I can’t think of many athletes in any sport so mentally strong. He really did just plain want it more than anybody else.

  28. Zambrano obviously has some serious psychological and/or emotional issues for which he needs help from a psychiatrist. I don’t mean that as a joke, but as a serious problem that the man needs help with.

  29. @32, I believe that’s from “Roll with the New.”

    @34, I don’t know how he got through all that. I was very moved.

  30. Constanza has mentally broken many people in the last week, myself included, so I can’t really blame Zambrano. I’d go insane too if I someone chopped my pitch off the plate so hard that it actually went out of the park!

    Seriously though, the team has left a trail of destruction in its wake this year – they’ve terminated the employment of the marlins’ hitting coach, the astros’ pitching coach, and now Zambrano. Hopefully Charlie Manuel makes the casualty list at some point.

  31. Hopefully Charlie Manuel makes the casualty list at some point.

    Hopefully that will come after the Phillies blow their previous 9.5-game lead and lose the NL East.

    If the 2007 Mets could blow a seven-game lead in 17 games at the end of the season, why can’t the Phillies in 1.5 months?

  32. Because they’re the Mets. That’s what they do.

    This Jim Powell fellow is going to be a really good announcer when he reaches puberty.

    Great night at the ballpark. Now we need to sweep these guys.

    I really want to see Hinske in a brawl. Dude looks like Hellboy.

  33. People remember Zambrano hitting Chipper on the hand and costing him a shot at the consecutive seasons with 100 RBI in, like, 2004, right? Not the most meaningful record in the world, but still.

  34. @15

    A lot of people don’t know but Jim and Don are great. Not sure how they would translate to TV, but I would like to see it happen.

    Rob, I like your Ernie Johnson story.

    I think today I will put my copy of “1991 Miracle Braves Season” hosted by Ernie Johnson Sr.

  35. The Packers left a trail of destruction in their wake last season–two head coaches–and we know how that turned out. I’m a bit skeptical of a Phillies collapse, however.

  36. My favorite Ernie Johnson story was when during a long Braves game, he started to talk about getting mail from fans in prison. He related how that as a young man, he played a game against some inmates at a prison. After doubling off the wall and pulling into second the 6 foot 5 Johnson towered over a second baseman roughly a foot shorter. Johnson asked, “What are you in for, Shorty?” The inmate replied, “For killing a tall guy like you.”

    Thanks for all the years, and all the games Ernie. RIP.

  37. I guarantee you that if Vizcaino reels off 2 or 3 impressive appearances, Chip Caray breaks out “Viz Kid.”

    Probably just needs two strikeouts in the same appearance.

  38. RIP Ernie. My favorite remberence is his distinctive laugh when Skip would offer up a wise crack. It sort of echoed in the booth since the stadium was empty most of the time I was watching.

  39. Ok, I am watching Buck Commanders on the Outdoor Channel. The show is about Chipper, LaRoche, Langerhans and their friends shooting deer. I’ll leave it at that.

  40. Remembering the Marlins series and the Braves game last night, I guess I can understand why Uggla struggled a bit in the first half of the season. At the end of the day, this is the first time he is playing for a REAL major league baseball club.

  41. I feel sorry for Rick Luecken…(Mark Bradley on Cox)

    “In 1990, the year the then-GM Cox replaced Russ Nixon as field manager, the Braves were flying home from a lousy West Coast trip. A certain pitcher was complaining about how he was being used. Certain other pitchers, perhaps refreshed by an in-flight beverage, urged their teammate to confront the manager. The pitcher did — in the clubhouse at 4 a.m. Said Glavine: “It didn’t go very well.”

    Some of those lurking outside the door remember hearing Cox tell the relief pitcher Rick Luecken in the wee hours of Sept. 13, 1990: “You know what that [bullpen] phone rings and I tell you to warm up? That’s your role.”

    Coda: Luecken, who compiled an ERA of 5.77 as a Brave, was claimed off waivers by Toronto 11 days later.

    That was Luecken’s role. He got to go pitch in Canada. Bobby Cox’s role was to stay here and win 14 consecutive division titles. One of them had his number retired Friday night.”

  42. Great thread. Somewhat chuckled & reminisced several times.

    Mac, I hope you are feeling better.

    Prayers to the Baseball Narrator & his family. To be honest, when I got into watching/listening to the Braves in 1991 (I was 15 or so), the only announcer that I recall from day one (seemingly to me, at least) is Skip Caray. It was probably mid-to-late 90s before I really began to understand & appreciate announcers & the calling of the game.

    I hate being oblivious to a legend. But it probably isn’t the first time…nor the last time. I’d submit that we all probably underappreciate so much of the utter talent we see on the field…and then long for it to return 15 or 20 years down the road a bit.

    FYI: can you tell I’m a Clemson fan? sheesh…we’ve been wondering the irrelevant wilderness for a couple of decades.

  43. Late comment here, but I have a question about last night. On his first HR (it’s nice to type that), anyone see Uggla point as he was coming from 3rd to home? Was he pointing at a Brave on deck or at something else? Just curious.

  44. I first heard Ernie with mic-hogging Milo Hamilton back in the early ’70s, but I eventually came to think of Ernie as Skip Caray’s straight man. It was a much better pairing.

    Skip would tell a story with an eventual punchline, and Ernie would roll with it, just sort of saying, “Yeah… yeah… yeah,” in this relaxed manner, like he was sitting on a porch rocking chair with a sweet tea in his hand.

    His approach to the mic helped give Braves broadcasts a very distinctive feel. He let the games breathe & didn’t fill them with mindless prattle. Like a lotta memorable announcers, if you heard his voice it felt like summer.

    Will miss the ol’ righthander.

    And how ’bout this “Hurricane George” Constanza? All I can do is stand back & enjoy the ride.

  45. In fairness to Big Z, he’s pretty much always been a hustling, competitive kind of guy who hasn’t been afraid to get his uni dirty. He runs out his ABs. The Cubs management that routinely can’t seem to figure out how to assemble a baseball team must be a source of constant frustration.

    /in fact, their manager not having the good sense to just say something like “Z is a fiery guy who doesn’t like to lose. While I don’t think it was the best way to handle it, I wish all of our players had his passion” but ripping him instead ensures that this is now a Big Deal, and I guarantee the end result won’t be good for Chicago.

  46. 42: I agree, Don and Jim are great. But I’d rather they stayed on the radio. Jim in particular is a great play-by-play guy, and I think his talents in that area would be somewhat squandered by moving to TV. I always watch the feed with the sound off, and have the radio feed open in a separate browser. Seems like ryan c’s suggestion is a much simpler way of doing it, so I will try that out in tonight’s game.

  47. 61: It may be that the manager and his teammates see this as their best opportunity to get rid of him. So a Big Deal it will be.

  48. What with the retiring of Bobby’s number, all the returning players paying homage, a sold out crowd, Dan Uggla setting the record for Braves hitting streak, a dramatic offensive outpouring by the Braves, tension on the field from the opposing team’s star pitcher and his resultant abrupt retirement. And then the passing of Ernie Johnson Sr. Has there been a more eventful game day this year?

  49. Question for ryan c/27: do you happen to have Premium? I have the regular subscription, and all I’m seeing is a “change broadcast” option on the toolbar, which allows me to switch to an audio-only radio feed, but doesn’t seem to show an audio overlay option.

  50. @63, they owe him 25M. Unless he really follows through on retirement, it doesn’t seem like the best kind of asset management.

  51. @64

    I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a more eventful day in Braves history, let alone this season. Certainly in regular-season history.

  52. spike, I fully recognize your basic instinct to defend players (even someone like Z) against “The Man” — team ownership and management. But no one on the Cubs — whether player or otherwise — appears willing to put up with him any longer, much less defend him publicly. The Cubs will invest somewhere around $125M+ in the rest of the team through next season. It seems imminently reasonable to me to make a point with Z and his $25M, when you consider the rest of the team.

  53. Have you looked at their pitching staff outside of Zambrano? They are going to epic-ly suck for the rest of the year without him. It’s not about players v Man, it’s about running a goddam business. At some point, the team needs to look at the litany of failed players that have been in that organization and realize the only thing they have in common is the crappy Cubs front office.

  54. 57 — He pointed to someone or something on the 3rd base side, so I don’t think it would’ve been the on-deck hitter Dunno.

  55. spike, I lived in Chicago for three years and still follow the Cubs. They epicly suck with him.

    Perhaps I misunderstood your posts above, but they sure read like you’re explaining Z’s behavior as a competitive star frustrated by inept management. Z’s real problem is that he’s frustrated by anything and everything – his teammates, other players, yadda, yadda.

  56. I love how now we’re getting all these articles about how hitting streaks are overrated because people don’t find Dan Uggla worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as DiMaggio.

  57. Zambrano IS a fiery competitor, he DOES do everything he possibly can to win.

    He also has a hard time losing like a grown up. He isn’t always accountable for his own performance, and has a history of blaming others.

    You can be both of those things.

    I wouldn’t want that particular package on my team, but whatever.

    I agree with Spike here, though. If Jim Hendry wants to take him up on his offer of retiring, if he wants to make it hard on Zambrano, that’s Hendry’s decision.

    It isn’t up to the first-year field manager to make that decision. He sold him out, out of frustration.

    Nothing would be damaged by reacting the way Spike said, giving those exact quotes. Jim Hendry can still play boss-man and make it hard on him. Hell, Quade could still make him apologize to all his teammates and suspend him for 3 starts, or indefinitely. Doesn’t mean he has to call him out in the papers. He just didn’t think that through.

  58. Agreed, Bethany. And the farther he goes, the more hilarious it’ll get. If he can make it up to 40 and start pressing toward Pete Rose, let alone getting anywhere close to DiMaggio, the collective squirming from the national media will start to get really amusing. Unfortunately, if he does get that far, the media will be bailed out by the start of football season.

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