So here is what is up with me

I am going to go into the hospital on Monday for a minor but invasive procedure. On Tuesday, I am scheduled to have major surgery. It’s not without risk but I have some of the best doctors there are working on me, led by the surgeon who worked on me in early 2009. Hopefully, this will be the last surgery for a good long time and will clear up some issues I have had with my health that I won’t go into right now.

Anyway, I should be in communication on Monday night, but after that I can’t tell when I’ll be back. It depends upon how I respond. It might be until Wednesday, it might not be until the weekend. I’ll post when I get back.

183 thoughts on “So here is what is up with me”

  1. Prayers are with you Mac. May this be the last surgery for you and the best days ahead of you!

  2. How much do I enjoy this site? So much so that I keep checking in even though the season is over. Thank you, Mac–my thoughts are with you.

  3. My thoughts are with you, Mac. Thank you again for another superb year of Braves Journal. If only the team was as good as this blog…

  4. Do you have a Kindle or other e-reader? Maybe a gift certificate for some reading material?

  5. Best wishes, Mac. Be well.

    Like any online community, this one is much larger than just the opinionated gasbags whose names show up in the comments. So how about a few lurkers click on the big yellow “Donate” button on the above right and help a brother out a little bit?

  6. Prayers and well wishes, Mac.

    Saw “Moneyball” last night and thought of you and this wonderful playground you’ve created for us.
    Baseball is different for me since I discovered Braves Journal. I won’t claim any greater understanding–in fact, I’m acutely aware of how much I still have to learn about the game.

    But the game is so much more vivid, more alive, since I started coming here. What a gift you’ve shared!

    Hurry back, Roll Tide and all that.
    We’ll be here.

  7. Ben over at CAC thinks we should trade Prado for some org depth. Trade Jurrjens and sign Pagan if nontendered by the Mets.

  8. I like Pagan, but in comparing him with Prado Ben leaves out the fact that Prado hits the ball harder, which kinda matters.

  9. Anyone else get the mass email from John Schuerholz regarding the 2011 season? I got a good chuckle out of the fact that he referenced Dan Uggla’s “historic hitting streak” and “incredible defense all year.”

  10. I guess Pagan’s speed and the ability to cover CF makes some sense. But his OPS trend isnt enticing. .837, .765, .694

  11. I’d be into Pagan if he were a n/t.

    /He’s a better defender than Diaz, and can believably back up CF, and a switch hitter. He definitely has regressed the last two years, but his environment makes raw stats a bit misleading. I like him for a bounceback season.

    //hits lefties too

  12. @35

    I’m on board. He’d be a bargain if he regains his 2009-2010 form. In a similar vein, Andres Torres might be available, although I would think of him more strictly as a 4th OF. We do need someone who can man CF from time to time.

  13. Any takers for Grady Sizemore in left field? He just had another knee surgery so the Indians probably aren’t going to pick up his $9million option for next year. Maybe having less ground to cover in LF would keep his knee healthy? He showed flashes of his old self last season.

  14. Sizemore? Hmmmm …

    Absolutely loved his game. Just don’t know if he still plays that game.

    If we’re doing the “formerly great” thing, do you want Sizemore or Andruw in LF?

  15. Sizemore at least has a chance to regain his greatness (which was much briefer than Andruw’s, but he was still pretty awesome for a few years). Andruw is clearly on the downhill slide.

  16. Sizemore hasnt played a full season since 2008. His OPS has basically dropped every season since 2006. Plus he’s a lefty that really needs a platoon partner.

  17. It would be an expensive platoon dont you think? Prado is going to make $4.5-5mil and Im sure Sizemore will find someone to offer him around that much if not a touch more on a one year deal. Thats an expensive/injury plagued left field platoon. Plus the fact that the last two years Prado has hit righties better than lefties.

  18. That would be the nice thing about Pagan – he could be Prado AND Heyward’s platoon partner, spot start for Bourn, and allow Prado to rest Chipper/Uggla every now and then. Prado did not have a single start at 2B this year, not even in May/June when he was going great and Uggla was lost.

  19. Mac, You will be in our thoughts and prayers. Good Luck and I hope you have a speedy recovery.

  20. So, with what’s left of the post-season clubs, what’s the “least-objectionable World Series” for everyone?


    Weird, huh?

  21. Tigers – Brewers. Love the Tigers uni, and I like Leyland. Brewers are fun and I like their players, Tony Plush excepted.

  22. I dont know, gotta pull for Arizona. First full season with Kirk Gibson they went from 65-97 to 94-68. That doesnt include my dislike for Prince Fielder.

  23. Anything not involving Texas.

    We have the possibility of the rare, pre-1953 match up, ie,where the teams were in their current cities before the Brave moved to Milwaukee. There are only ten teams). It could be Yankees or Tigers/Phillies or Cardinals. Phillies/Tigers would be sort of interesting but they should rebuild Connie Mack Stadium and Tiger Stadium.

  24. Robin Ventura named new manager of the White Sox.

    FWIW, I can probably deal with anything not involving the Yanks or Cards winning the last game.

    Seeing the Phils get derailed somewhere wouldn’t bum me out, but when the best team really wins, I can usually deal with it, even if I don’t necessarily root for them.

    I have Yanks post-season tix, so I know I’m dancing thru raindrops hoping they get to the WS & lose, but that wouldn’t break my heart either.

    I’ll be at the Stadium tonight & I must admit to an odd pleasure of being in the room when that place is nervous-sick with an elimination game.

  25. Mac, Best Wishes.

    I haven’t watched a single moment if this post season. Its sort of liberating in a way.

  26. I am learning that few statements are more ominous than @DadBoner tweeting “Really lookin’ forward to the weekend, you guys.”

  27. @61 – Ha! Hilarity always ensues. How drunk will he get his eight-year-old neighbor during the Lions game Sunday? Bets should be taken.

  28. Heck of a job to ol’ Chuckles Manuel of the Phillies in deciding to play a beat up, struggling, non-threatening-to-anyone-in-the-playoffs Braves’ team hard at the end and help the Cardinals in.

  29. Well that’s it for the Evil Empire. In other news, Oregon is dominating a crappy Pac 12 team.

  30. Mac, I hope everything gets better for you.

    Ububba, in order of preference:

    Anything not involving the Phillies (obvious reasons)
    Anything not involving the Cardinals (obvious reasons)
    Anything not involving the Rangers (only to avoid the slew of articles that will paint the Teixera trade as the ‘turning point’ for the franchise)

    I would love to see the Brewers win it all, considering they haven’t ever been to the WS. They really went all in for it this year; it would be nice to see them getting rewarded. Either way, they’re probably screwed for the next 7 years, considering the lack of a farm system.

  31. I would love to see the Brewers win it all, considering they haven’t ever been to the WS.

    Try telling that to ” rel=”nofollow”>Pete Vuckovich.

    Best wishes, Mac.

  32. Just back from The Bronx…

    I can’t tell you how much fun it is to see a post-season game in that joint. The atmosphere is nuts. Down to the last pitch.

  33. Man, I haven’t been on here in ages, but with the Braves lagging on new material these days I was hard-up.

    One thing I had to address: For those of you who wanted Mike Minor instead of Scott Linebrink in the 13th inning, or otherwise have knocked Fredi for having Linebrink out there in the 13th, including frequent commenter “Stu” who called it “inexcusable”:

    I definitely wish we could have gotten another inning out of Medlen, Varvaro or Martinez… not to mention Hudson or O’Flaherty. In retrospect, I think I would have liked to see a double switch when O’Flaherty was brought into the game, Pastornicky for Wilson OR Heyward for Diaz if he hadn’t brought JHey in at the start of the inning, but that’s with perfect hindsight. At the time no one knew Eric would get out of that jam in 2 pitches, nor that the game would go 13 innings. After that Medlen was forced into the game early when Kimbrel obviously didn’t have it, and then we were forced to pinch hit for him after 1 1/3. I might also have flipped Varvaro and Martinez and then gotten two innings out Christian before we had to pinch hit for him, leaving Anthony available for the 13th… but there’s no telling if Martinez could have really handled two innings, or if Varvaro would have been any sharper in the 13th. Linebrink was coming off 3 consecutive good outings, totaling 2 2/3 innings, 0 hits and 1 walk, and had retired Jimmy Rollins (who was due up 3rd in the 13th) in a scoreless inning the night before. Mike Minor has one relief appearance as a professional… you really want to throw a guy who hasn’t come out of the pen with any semblance of regularity since he was a Freshman in the SEC into the heat and fire after 11 pm, in the 13th inning of Game 162? Over an established late inning reliever, who also happened to have a lower ERA on the season, and made $5 million dollars pitching last year.

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t have had confidence in Minor, but to knock on Fredi for this and call it “inexcusable” is why I haven’t come around here in a while.

  34. SEC Picks (Since Mac isn’t here) Home Teams to the left

    Bama 28 Vandy 0
    Arkansas 34 Auburn 21
    LSU 28 Florida 18
    UAB 14 Miss St 30
    South Carolina 42 Kentucky 10
    (In honor of Mac)
    Tennessee 3 UGA 28

  35. 79—Yes, I do. That “established late inning [sic] reliever” was terrible and had been for months. Minor may well have lost the game, but everyone in the stadium and watching on TV knew Linebrink would. And he did.

    And is there any chance that this overly-wordy comment isn’t the work of Gadfly?

  36. When your best reliever comes in and throws 2 pitches, whats the harm in letting him pitch the next inning. I wanted to see Fredi stick with him for the 8th esp with Venters recent struggles, but Fredi is stuck in the notation that EOF can pitch the 7th and Venters must pitch the 8th.

    When your team cant score, it really doesnt matter though.

  37. “When your team cant score, it really doesnt matter though.”

    Spot-on. Mac, I’m coming in late with this, but best of luck with your surgery.

    I like the playground metaphor Kevin Lee used @28 to describe this site. Loads of fun, but sometimes kids leave with bloody noses.

    The-e-e Yankees lose, the-e-e Yankees lose! Sweet . . .

  38. Clearly the biggest problem with the 2011 Braves is that Linebrink didn’t pitch often enough in high pressure situations. And I feel that Proctor never got a fair shake.

  39. I found it funny in a very grim sort of way that two of this season’s primary Braves Journal whipping boys (Linebrink, Proctor) put the finishing touches on both epic collapses this season.

  40. From talkingchop’s gondeee on questions for the offseason:

    “Question One: What happened to the hitting, and how can it be fixed?

    I’ll start off this post with a trivia question. In 2011 the Braves team OPS was below .700. When was the last time the Braves had a team OPS below .700? Was it during those playoff-less years in the late 00’s? Nope. Was it at any time during the early 00’s? Or how about during the 90’s? Nope and nope. The last time the Braves had a team OPS below .700 was 1989. I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

    That year, 1989, was also the last time the Braves had an on-base percentage below .310. For all those years in between the Braves were at least good at getting on base. Even more “impressive” is that this year’s team set a franchise record for most strikeouts. Not getting on base plus giving up at-bats is a recipe for a poor offense. I didn’t realize until just now how much Larry Parrish deserved to be fired as the hitting coach. That’s historically bad hitting for the Braves.”

  41. Linebrink could’ve pitched 5 scoreless and it wouldnt have mattered. The offense quit in the 3rd inning. DOB posted a piece yesterday that the Braves scored 7 runs in their last 49 innings. Only two of those 7 were scored on something other than a homerun.

  42. …and made $5 million dollars pitching last year.

    What kind of analysis is this? Does any manager in the 13th inning of a “win or go home” game ask his bench coach “Can you get me the salaries of all my available options?”

    If anything, I’d have seen Rusty’s 2.2 scoreless innings streak as betting odds that runs were due at any time. Turns out, I’d have won that bet big time. ‘Cuz we lost and went home.

  43. @86 – Thanks for posting that. I have a hard time seeing how the pitching could have ever carried that offense through the playoffs to a title. The Braves can win a lot of games with the pitching-first, roll-the-dice-with-the-offense approach, but you have to at least be efficient at the plate when you build your team that way. Unfortunately the Braves were efficient at making outs.

  44. #88 – I didnt say he would have. However, Linebrink did have two stretches last year of 7 innings or more without giving up a run.

  45. The Braves lost 26 points of team OBP relative to the league average from 2010-2011.

    Year Braves NL average
    2010 .339 .324 (+15)
    2011 .308 .319 (-11)

  46. Wow, 1989…now THAT was a bad year. In fact it was the year before, 1988, that gives rise to my handle, when Gerald Perry, asked about that season, said it would’ve been a good year to paint the seats.

    I watched a LOT of bad baseball in the mid to late 80’s.

  47. @79 – second guessing the manager is how it rolls around here. The poor bastard can’t do anything right.

  48. I think Frank Wren confirmed our worst suspicions on Larry Parrish. Just stupid. DOB

    “And we had a meeting yesterday afternoon in Fredi’s office with Larry. Not to talk about his future, but to talk about our future, and talk about plans for 2012 with specific players. My concerns going in, based on what I saw all season long, were amplified in that meeting. And I came away from that meeting pretty sure we needed to make a change.”

  49. 1989 saw the rise of Lonnie Smith, so it wasn’t all bad. He had a line of .315/.415/.533 over 577 PAs, posting an OPS of .948 that was a startling 213 points higher than the #2 regular in the lineup, Jeff Blauser.

    Lonnie had 76 walks, 11 HBPs and only 95 Ks, while only grounding into 7 DPs. That was a career year for Skates, in many ways better than the 1982 season where he finished second in MVP voting. (He finished 11th in MVP voting in ’89.)

    Other than Lonnie’s year and some enthusiasm for our young guys Glavine, Smoltz, Lilliquist and Pete Smith, there was nothing good about that year.

  50. Or, “the poor bastard didn’t do anything right” – not sure which is more true.

    Did you know that Grady Sizemore’s real name is Gradius? I’m serious.

  51. 96—I understand that it’s “just not something this organization does,” but if this was an all-season-long observation, why didn’t the conversation/firing happen sooner?

  52. @79 – second guessing the manager is how it rolls around here. The poor bastard can’t do anything right.

    That’s a distortion. I routinely praise Fredi when he handles game strategy well. I’m not the only one. The problem the contrarians have is that the criticism aimed at Fredi was far more right than wrong.

    And please allow me to add: This “second guessing” you speak of is often pointing out crappy in-game choices and predicting bad outcomes that often come true. In those cases, it can’t rightly be called “second guessing.”

    Geez, when did “talkin’ baseball” become like some sort of tea room affair where a bunch of old ladies can’t say anything bad about someone?

  53. What I wonder in reading the portmortems on the season is why couldn’t Parrish’s shortcomings have been discovered during the original interview process? It sounds like they were willing to stick with Parrish until he stubbornly disagreed with Wren’s philosophy. I’m glad we’re moving on, but wonder why it took so long to come to this place.

    Edit: Or what Stu just said.

  54. Geez, when did “talkin’ baseball” become like some sort of tea room affair where a bunch of old ladies can’t say anything bad about someone?

    You clearly never have tea with old ladies. Those women are far more brutal than this lot.

  55. 99- Exactly. It’s nice Wren has recognized that Parrish’s crappy hack-tastic approach is a problem, but is this the first time he’s spoken w/Larry? And where was Fredi on this? Definitely a step in the right direction, but not exactly reassuring for the long-term.

  56. second guessing the manager is how it rolls around here. The poor bastard can’t do anything right.

    I’m pretty sure folks around here questioned the Linebrink move long before the results were in and we could call it a “second-guess.” The point, of course, is that nobody was guessing. It was a bad move, people criticized it, it blew up, and then people criticized it some more.

  57. Yo, Ethan, what are your thoughts about the SEC? Personally, if the conference must expand, I’m glad Mizzou is the choice. Only downside, from my perspective: VU no longer has a monopoly on that color scheme within the conference. (Our unis still look cooler, of course.)

  58. Jon R. at 100,

    Amen on condeming the excessive counter insurgency for Fredi. Discussion of in game managing tactics should not have to meet U. S. Constitutional law standard on criminal proof (beyond a reasonable doubt).

    However the proof exceeds civil amplified standard for fraud (clear and convincing) and way exceeds civil ordinary standard (prepondenance of the evidence).

  59. Ethan at 103,

    I think Wren thought that Parrish would not be quite as vocal for “aggressive” when Parrish was hired. Some of the early rumble was that Wren pushed for Parrish. Something weird went on at hiring there.

    However, I think Wren has stepped forward forcefully on Fredi, to the good. He has given Fredi room to maneuver without being double checked on every point by the FO. But Wren has signaled that (at least in private) such is over.

    Somebody on here earlier said something about the Braves being patient “like they always were” ( or something to that effect). I strongly disagree. This org has been a BA driven org going back a long way. The “high walk rate” people that came in almost exclusively got their hitting philosophy instilled by true professionals at a young age (McCann and Chipper). Last year’s team represented a step forward (OBP rising) for which I have long pined. It was the exception to most years before.

  60. Seems to me Wren wanted to give Larry the benefit of the doubt. I mean the offense, thanks to Uggla and Bmac, got better in the middle months of the season. Wren probably thought that these guys would continue to get better. Why fire Parrish in August when things are going well? We should just consider ourselves lucky that this slump happened when it did and that Wren was smart enough to see the major philosophy issue and to get it resolved.

  61. Stu- I like it. Much better than the Big 10, but I’ve a lot of family in the South and I’m biased. Losing the Big 8 rivalries will suck, but I think the SEC (and the ensuing revenue/stability that memebership brings) will take the university and football program to a new level.

    I also think it’ll good for the SEC. We’re a AAU school, have the Kansas City and St. Louis TV markets, and while we probably won’t compete for a title out of the chute, I think we’ll be competitive in athletics. Plus, I already hated Arkansas before they stole our basketball coach, and I’ll think that’ll turn very quickly into a legit rivalry.

    My uncle works for the University of Miss. in Oxford and said the main holdup now was something to do with how you guys schedule cross-divisional ‘rivalry’ games and working through those details. Hopefully it gets sorted out soon though; I’m excited.

  62. Yup, I’m definitely excited about adding another actual school to this conference, and I know those TV markets are a big draw for the league office.

    Maybe you’ll make it to Nashville for a game at some point and I can buy you a beer.

  63. Is the Missouri thing a done deal? Last I heard they had more than six presidents but not the 9 needed to approve and that was mainly because Alabama and a couple other schools didn’t want to realign and lose particular games with the east.

  64. By the way, unless my link to Peanut’s column has become bad, when do you think he is going to figure out Parrish isn’t around?

    He posted the day Fredi said “all coming back” and hasn’t updated.

  65. 113—My understanding is that it’s just a matter of sorting out the scheduling issues. I think everyone expects it to get done.

    BTW, are there any Aggies on this board?

  66. @113- No clue. I do know a lot of the same machinations went on internally w/the SEC when A&M wanted to join. At the end of the day, 13 seems an untenable number to stay at so you figure something will be done. If an ACC school isn’t an option, Mizzou seems a better fit over any other potential schools I’ve heard about.

    Look forward to it, Stu.

  67. Just put Missouri in the East. Most of the northern SEC schools are there anyway so the only really long trip is Gainesville, and everything is a long way from Gainesville.

  68. I vote we do a North and South




    Ole Miss

    I like that for personal reasons.

  69. I still think just renaming the conferences is the best move regarding Missouri. Doesn’t change anything, but at least it makes a little bit more sense having Missouri in the “Northeast” instead of just the “East.”

    Of course, being the South, I’m sure there’s some sort of problem with associating with “Northeast” anything, so maybe no one wants to do that.

  70. sansho – I absolutely love Grantland. The writing is superb and there’s so much of it! It’s like the digital Esquire of the Seventies that seemed to alternate between Norman Mailer and Philip Roth every other month.

    I propose the following Divisions:

    Genteel Division

    Ole Miss
    South Carolina (after Spurrier leaves)

    Badass Division

    Tx A and M

    What do you mean that’s an uneven number? Symmetry is the hobgoblin of smaller minds.

  71. #80
    I know you don’t believe in that 3-28 UT/UGA score. I don’t either.

    UGA’s D has been mostly good, but the last 2 offenses we’ve seen (the Mississippi schools) are among the worst in the conference. UT should offer a bit more of a challenge. Also, our best pass rusher will be missing the contest, due to a post-game misadventure in Jackson County last week.

    If #1 keeps up the good work & stays on the field, and if Murray doesn’t gift-wrap you a TD (or 2), UGA should win. But with this bunch, you never know. As much as I generally like Murray, he can also “go Garcia” at any moment.

  72. Anyone else just see Henry Freakin’ Blanco up in a crucial situation for the D-Backs? I didn’t even know he was still playing.

  73. Tennessee has the better passing offense, but I think UGA has the better rush offense, defense, and special teams (if Walsh can return to form). If (BIG IF) we limit the turnovers, I think we win handily. If we don’t, then we lose.

  74. The Phils sweeping the Braves is about to come back and bite them in the ass. I am enjoying this bit of schadenfreude.

  75. Well, at least the Phillies gave it their all in that last series of the season. I’m sure it was worth it.

  76. @134

    Yeah, it is going to be a high scoring game. Georgia can run the ball better than Tennessee, and that might be the difference

    If the Phillies had only won 100 games, they might still be in the playoffs.

  77. It’s unhealthy how happy I am that the Phillies lost after throwing the kitchen sink at the floundering Braves.

    How does LaRussa’s ass taste, Charlie?

  78. Well, at least the Phillies gave it their all in that last series of the season. I’m sure it was worth it.

    Cardinals: “thanks for helping us into the playoffs to eliminate you.”

    Chuckles Manuel did the right thing playing the Braves hard in that last regular season series, but it was also the dumb thing to do.

  79. I am sure the Phillies can win the division couple more times because of the rotation, but I think that team has passed its peak.

  80. I think the team has passed its peak

    Why? They will all be one year older next year, but so will be the rest of the world. Nothing in their performance as a team gives me any indication of a decline. It’s just wishful thinking, IMHO (which is ok for a Braves fan, but then again, too many people on this very blog kept talking about “catching the Phillies” when I dared to mention that even the WC isn’t a sure thing in August).

    In reality, the Phillies are a better team than ours and will be for the forseeable future, as much as I hate to admit it.

  81. IF Howard’s Achilles is torn, and if Rollins leaves, that offense will be a lot older. Barry Larkin said on BBTN that when he tore his Achilles his power level was never the same, and if that happens to Howard he becomes a $25 million millstone around the Phils neck.

    Yeah, the rotation will keep them competitive, but they won’t be dominant.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, they traded away a lot of young talent for Pence as well, so the minors may not be able to replace the lost talent.

  82. justhank — I agree, there’s a lot of compelling writing at Grantland. There are worrisome signs, though, that the enterprise might disappear up Bill Simmons’ backside. It isn’t necessary to put an over/under or create a fantasy league for every aspect of life. Some of the staff writers are taking on a few of Simmons’ more annoying tics. Also, I was promised Dave Eggers, who has yet to appear.

  83. Did they ever say Eggers would write? I was under the impression that he was just a consulting editor.

    I got burnt out on Simmons a couple of years ago, so I have to take Grantland in small, sporadic doses — but the serious writing is often really compelling. Oh, and the site’s namesake (Go ‘Dores) certainly doesn’t hurt my interest level.

  84. Why? They will all be one year older next year, but so will be the rest of the world. Nothing in their performance as a team gives me any indication of a decline.

    Yes, all baseball players will age from year to year. However, aging is typically associated with increased production up to the peak years of 27 – 30 years old, and decline thereafter. The productive core of the Phillies’ lineup – Utley (33), Howard (31), Rollins (32), and Victorino (30) – is on the wrong side of the aging curve. Of those players, only Victorino sustained something close to his peak production (and he’s the youngest of the bunch). The Phils had a dominant offense a few years ago, but as their offense core aged, they have slid down the ranks of NL offenses. Pence and Dom Brown may help fight the tide somewhat, but they won’t be able to counteract the steady age-related loss of WAR from Utley et al.

    The Phils’ rotation should still be excellent for years to come – even though Lee and Halladay are 33 and 34 respectively, they are historically good pitchers and show no real signs of reduced skills. Hamels is still young and in the prime of his career, so you can’t really expect age-related decline from him next year. That said, Philly had a lot of luck with pitcher health this season; there’s virtually no chance they can repeat their 3.02 ERA from this year (lowest since the Dodgers in ’89, I believe).

    By contrast, the Braves’ productive core is young enough that the aging curve should benefit (or at least not harm) our total output. While on one hand Chipper and Huddy are old fogies and were responsible for a lot of the Braves’ 2011 wins, we also have a lot of young guys who should be, if anything, getting better next season.

    In summary – I’m not predicting a sudden collapse from the Phillies; I still think they’re the favorite in the NL in 2012. That said, I think their competitive advantage over the rest of the league will lessen over time, primarily thanks to the aging curve.

  85. Washington could be the team to watch next year. Id plan on seeing them being very active adding a starter and a 1B this winter. If they get CJ Wilson and prince Fielder, they will be tough to beat.

  86. 156 — Pretty much mirrors my approach to Grantland so far. I have enjoyed the few pieces that I’ve read. And, generally speaking, I enjoy reading Jonah Keri. So that’s plus for me.

  87. I agree with Tom. The Phillies can’t last forever, but there is no real reason to think that Utley, Victorino, and Pence will fall off so much next season that they won’t challenge for 100 wins again. Lee, Halladay, and Hamels will all be fantastic again; the offense should remain at least average, if not better; and the defense will still be very good. They basically have to worry about replacing Rollins and Madson this offseason, which they should be able to do.

    I’d say 2013 is the worrisome year for them.

  88. Chuckles Manuel did the right thing playing the Braves hard in that last regular season series, but it was also the dumb thing to do.

    Did you see the lineups the Yankees threw out there in the last series against the Rays? They were “rested”, and they’re now going home.

    I used to live and die with “you HAVE to keep playing your players after you’ve clinched.”

    Yankees: Did not, and they’re going home.
    Phillies: Did, and they’re going home.
    Detroit: Did, and they’re moving on.

    I don’t know what to think. I think the argument is moot, really.

  89. Two good points csg.

    1) I think Washington will be very good. I also think the Marlins will be improved. If we finished anywhere from first to forth in the division, I wouldn’t be shocked.

    2) I think they let Oswalt go. They need that $16 million to sign Rollins or get another bat.

  90. @162

    I think his point is just underscoring the irony of the situation: the Phillies, by playing to beat the Braves, not only let the Cardinals into the playoffs but secured a matchup against them. It was “dumb” presumably because they should have wanted to play somebody other than St. Louis, who is peaking at the right time.

    The question comes down to whether or not the Phillies should have preferred to play Arizona. Most baseball folks would probably just say that the playoffs are a crapshoot and there’s little point in forcing a particular matchup. And they’re basically right. So you might as well play hard all the way to the end, even if you’re a team in the position that the Phillies were in the last week. Still, if I had had a personal stake in it, I would have rather my team played Arizona, not St. Louis.

  91. What nobody’s discussing is Peanut’s mailbag on Heyward. Lots in there:
    -The thumb and shoulder injuries warped his mechanics
    -It was a known on the team that Heyward would be an easy out until he adjusted
    -Heyward didn’t want to hear that it was time to make adjustments
    -Parrish couldn’t get through to Heyward that he should adjust
    -Perhaps most interestingly, Peanut thinks Heyward should not have rushed back after his DL stint and should have tried to rework his mechanics in the minors

  92. According to ESPN, Howard ruptured his achilles. Requires surgery and may not be ready for Spring Training.

  93. Greetings from Vegas…

    That’s about as bad as it gets for Philly.

    Woo, ugly game in K-Town tonight. Congrats on #100, CMR.

  94. They’ll be lucky if he gets anywhere near spring training. Last I knew, the rehab period for an Achilles tendon rupture was 6-9 months. That would mean the best-case scenario is he’s ready for a rehab assignment at the start of next season. The worst-case scenario is he’s not ready until the All-Star break.

  95. It’s completely possible that six of the above-mentioned teams goes undefeated.

    That will be a fine mess …

  96. What the Phillies (and the Braves of the 90s) show is that you can’t build a team to win the World Series. You can build it to win the division or make the playoffs but too much can happen in the playoffs. I never thought the Phillies were a lock for the World Series, in part because I thought lefties would tie Howard up in knots in key situations. But, really, they were the better team and just happened to lose three close games. They hit some balls on Friday that could have gone out but didn’t. Baseball just isn’t designed to be decided in a short series.

  97. What the Phillies (and the Braves of the 90s) show is that you can’t build a team to win the World Series.

    This is the dirty little secret of modern baseball, right? “World Series Championships” are little more than winning the lottery. You can build a team, strategically, to get to the playoffs. You can’t build a team to win the playoffs. You can just get there and hope you get the happy bounces.

    There’s no doubt that the Phillies were the best team in the NL, and almost certainly in all of baseball, in 2011. The fact that they will not play for the “championship” this year isn’t a slight to the Phillies. It’s an indictment of the system that awards “championships” based on random luck and the occasional Yunisky Betancort homer.

    Speaking of, I’m pretty sure that, assuming the Brewers don’t pick up his option in 2012, that HR just put him on the Braves hit list for SS in 2012. You guys can at least feel good because you have a new ‘Yuni’ on the roster, right?

  98. This is the year for a playoff if there ever was one.

    The odds of a Georgia Tech national championship would sky-rocket in such a scenario.

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