Happy Thanksgiving and SEC picks

Fun times. Every day is a gift — remember that.

Picks, home team in CAPS:

Alabama 31 AUBURN 12

Auburn has a chance but that means getting the ball to Emory Blake more than once in the game.

LSU 20 Arkansas 18
Florida St 23 FLORIDA 17
Vandy 26 WAKE 21
MISS ST 24 Ole Miss 13
Clemson 26 SOUTH CAROLINA 19
KENTUCKY 14 Tennessee 13

372 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving and SEC picks”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to the best blog on the web. Free agent target: Cody Ross? Seems to make perfect sense.

  2. If I recall correctly, the most famous fight in many of our lifetimes was a rematch. What would we call a Bama v. LSU rematch?

    Oh, and Tyler Bray is going to strafe us like the Polish Army in 1939. UT 42 – UK 7.

  3. justhank @ 6,

    Let’s try two, each modeled on those famus rematches (depending on you not being too much younger than 50).

    Compared to the fictional fight re-matach it should be:

    dunh, dunh dunh dunh, Tide and the Tigers.

    If it is the real fight rematch as a comparison the rematch should be:

    Big Hurt in the Big Easy II.

  4. Thanks to Mac and everyone else that makes this a fun and informative place to read about the Braves.

  5. Happy Turkey day all. Just got done reviewing the new CBA. Just my opinion, but while the cap limits on amateur spending may hurt most teams, the Bravos may actually benefit. We’re generally one of the cheaper teams yet generally seem to get pretty good bang for the buck. That ability becomes more valuable if teams won’t be able to throw money around indiscriminately.

  6. I just realized, that under the new wild card rules, the Braves would have played the Cardinals in a 1 game elimination round last season.

  7. You guys and your generalizations are pissIng me off. Can we please get back to arguing? Where’s Sam? Sam, start something…

  8. I love our generalizations. Generalizations are the Tebow of rhetoric. I think they should put them on the scoreboard.

  9. I tried my best. I mean who kicks a field goal up 38-17 with 5 minutes left? Hopefully, Ill get the Iron Bowl correct :)

  10. Well now that I think about it that FG gave LSU the same margin of victory (24 pts) over Arkansas that Alabama had. Its not important other than to point out how close these top 2 teams really are. I guess Bama needs to win by 35 tomorrow to keep pace.

  11. I don’t foresee any quarter given today. And that’s fine. Keeps the rivalry strong. As much as I would hate to see Ok State sort of back into this (and they have to get by OU, regardless) I hope Auburn delivers a mighty blow today. It’s really the only game I care about all year long.

  12. SEC could have a few schools looking for coaches this offseason. A&M, Ole Miss, UT. Richt was able to save his job.

  13. I dont know if they will. He’s 4-12 against the SEC. His only wins are against Vandy (2), Ole Miss, and Kentucky. He’s only won 1 of those on the road.

  14. They will give him one more season. However, he is in over his head and will have to win 8-9 games and/or the SEC East to keep his job. The schedule may get easier in conference play.

    This team wasn’t ready to play today. Congrats to the Wild Cats, you guys played a good game.

  15. Found this interesting.

    @AUBlog Gus Malzahn waits for Ted Roof on way off field, gives a strong handshake. Roof returns with a pat on the back. Certainly looked a goodbye.

  16. Braves14’s SEC bowl projections

    MNC: LSU
    MNC: Bama
    Capital One: Arkansas
    Cotton: USC
    Outback: UGA
    Chick-Fil-A: Auburn
    Gator: Florida
    Music City: Mississippi State
    Liberty: Vanderbilt

  17. Yeah, VU will almost certainly be in the Liberty. Birmingham won’t get an SEC team, because not enough teams qualified.

    Speaking of UT, it’s hard to blame them for playing so dreadfully after they won their Super Bowl last weekend.

  18. If the Capital One Bowl chose to take UGA instead of Arkansas due to location and more fans going, then you’d have Arkansas in the Cotton and USC in the Outback.

  19. It was one of the five worst losses in Tennessee football history. Dooley may have had two more seasons, it is down to one. I think Dooley lost this team after the Florida game. Going into that game, they looked decent. After that game they never looked the same.

    Dooley is clearly over matched. They have a really good class (as of now) coming in. So the cupboard isn’t bear for the next guy. I guess that is the bright spot for Tennessee.

  20. #49
    I’ll take New Orleans instead. ;)

    Although I haven’t watched every UT game, I gotta believe missing your #1 QB for a chunk of the season didn’t help.

    And how often do you want to keep changing coaches?

    It’s not breaking my heart, of course, to see UT down, but, yeah, he’s really gotta have a turnaround in ’12.

  21. @52

    Losing Bray and Hunter hurt. They had a ton of injuries this year. That being said, the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentcuky games were all winable. Dooley was our coached in all of those games.

    Unless there is a homerun hire, then Dooley is back next year. There will have to be marked improvment, or he will be gone.

  22. Bama looked good, Mac. Don’t see it happening, but I would love for UGA to win the SEC and have a Tide-LSU rematch for the MNC.

  23. @44, I don’t think it’s fair to blame Roof just yet – they had a very good defensive recruit class last year and are well on the way to another. The success came a year or two ahead of schedule, and they had a hellacious schedule this year. They lost Frost pre-season, and that didn’t help. 7-5, while not optimal, is nothing to be ashamed of, given 4 of the 5 losses were to Top 10 teams. Auburn won’t be down long, if they keep recruiting at this rate.

  24. Auburn had a very young an inexperienced offensive line, their receivers were injured, but that defense was atrocious. They’ve given up way too many points the last two years under Roof. Its even more surprising with Chizik being such a defensive minded guy also. There’s more than just Roof to blame their struggles on this year.

    They gave up 38 to Kent St, 34 to Miss St, 38 to Ark, 45 to LSU, 45 to UGA, and 42 to Bama. Thats not typical of an SEC defense.

  25. I think Dooley will have to have another total disaster season — as in, missing a bowl again — to not be in Knoxville through at least 2013. As ububba alludes to, they’ve got to show the next candidate pool that they’ll be given time to actually turn that program around.

    I think some UT fans are a little delusional when it comes to the “natural” prestige of that program. Fulmer built them into a juggernaut at a time when much of the conference (outside of Gainesville) was down, because UT was the first to seriously upgrade facilities. Those ’90s teams had a ton of talent. But they don’t have a natural recruiting base, they no longer have a facilities advantage over the teams they’re trying to compete with, and there are a lot of really good coaches in the SEC.

    I agree that Dooley’s done nothing to make anyone feel like success is a foregone conclusion, but that administration has got to understand that there’s no (legal) quick fix available. It’s not an easy re-build.

  26. @56, Well unless you think Chizik/Roof got bad or were never good at coaching, I don’t know what else to say. They are getting quality kids into the system. This is just their third year.

  27. I know 3 of these 4 teams are down this year, but it’s hard not to embrace the idea of UGA beating Tennessee, Florida, Auburn & Tech in the same season. It’s been awhile.

  28. @57,

    You’re right, except yesterday will increase the presure on Dooley to do something next year. They should be quite a bit better. Dooley does have a good class coming in.

    He is just over matched. If they don’t win eight next year, I find hard to think he will be back.

    Tennessee does have the ability to pay big money for a coach and Hart is going to open up the check book to get one.

    I think if you gave Spurrier or Richt this team next year, they would be in the race for the East (probably not win it, but be in contention in late October)

    The defense was much better this year and should be solid next year. Hunter, Bray and Rodgers will be back. The whole o-line is back. We need a running back. There will be changes in the SEC slate, so it is too early to know what will happen with that. Eight wins is something this team should hit with the talent they have.

  29. In all honesty, I believe Dooley is good for the SEC and hopefully UT. He has brought back class to the program and is a good representative of the University. As an Alabama fan, I now pull for Tennessee at times, which is a big change.

    Dooley’s recruiting has been decent so far – especially considering the difficult situation Kiffin left them in. Dooley needs to have a really good recruiting class next year and bring in some juco players to fill some gaps. If his recruiting class is not top 10, he may never turn it around.

  30. Grantham turned UGA’s defense from a laughing stock into a top 5 defense in two years. Saban did the same at Bama. Roof’s now been there for 3 years and they haven’t gotten better. Let’s just say as a rival fan that I hope they give Roof more time.

  31. Well according to ESPN tonight, LSU and Bama in the NC game. LSU can lose to UGA and it wont even matter. Apparently Richardson is leading in the Heisman voting also. Luck appears to be the only one who is in reach of him, but Stanford is done also.

  32. This Herschel Walker story on ESPN is good. Never knew he beat Carl Lewis in a 60 yard track meet. Impressive

  33. Herschel’s older sister Veronica also ran track at UGA.

    He really was like Superman. Guys bounced off him like he was an armored Brink’s truck—and he had world-class speed.

    In all my years of watching football, he was one of only 2 guys who made me think he could go all the way on every carry. The other was Bo Jackson.

  34. Yep, Herschel and Bo were the two. We’ll never see their like again, because everybody is so big, strong, and fast now. No more 6’0″, 215 lb., “slow” middle linebackers in the SEC these days.

  35. Re Herschel–I remember watching Vandy tacklers bounce off Herschel like kids trying to tackle a man. As sansho says, probably wouldn’t happen today in the SEC/NFL. Herschel was a beast; I saw him up close once and he was just chiseled.

  36. I don’t remember who they were playing (it was a bad team), but I remember Bo Jackson gaining something like 200 yards in less than 10 carries in the first half of a game. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think he ever fell to the ground.

  37. Only way I can see Georgia giving LSU a game is if the Dawgs play on the good side of their unpredictability. UGA doesn’t have a true go-to receiver, and every game offers a chance for any out of Charles, Bennett, Mitchell, King, shoot even Conley or Brown, to go off. Same goes for the wheel o’ running backs UGA’s been going with this year. Will Dick Samuel IV be healthy? Will Crowell decide he wants to play? Will Thomas not be high? Who knows! You’ve got to plan for all of that!

    That vague optimism aside, if LSU has UGA’s OL on roller skates going backwards, then it’s all over, and early.

  38. #81
    I agree that too many somewhat unforseen things have to go right for UGA to win. (Yes, if the OL gets consistently defeated, forget it.)

    Crowell, IMO, has to go off a bit & Murray has to come out hot. Against that D, that might just be a dream, but that’s really what’s gotta happen. Also, we’ll probably need a big return somewhere (hopefully, not after an LSU TD).

    It should be noted that, when it comes to punt returns, LSU gives up virtually nothing. With Drew Butler, we have a helluva punter, but most Dog fans know how shaky the special-team squads have been this year, including the not-so-small matter of our placekicking…

    I can see Lee throwing it to the wrong team, but I don’t think Miles gives him too much of a chance to do that. It’ll be Jefferson & as much ground/pound as necessary. Our D has to keep us in the game & hopefully they’ll have something left in the 4th quarter.

    If I’m LSU, I kinda count on Murray giving it up, or tucking it & running more than he’d like. His first half vs Auburn & his first half vs Georgia Tech were awesome—but those pass defenses are made of confetti. This is another level. That’s why some kind of running game has got to happen.

    The point spread jumped from 10 to 11.5 very quickly, and I totally get that.

    OK, there’s your requisite Dooley-esque poormouthing. Go Dogs.

  39. LSU always palys one game a year where they look terrible and screw aroudn and either get beat or almost get beat.

    That really hasn’t happened yet. That is the only way I see Georgia winning.

  40. Agreed on all counts. Crowell has to play brilliantly. If Murray has to throw the ball 30 times he might get killed behind our offensive line. I’m confident in our run defense giving us a good opportunity to stay in the game IF the offense can stay on the field and sustain drives. The main advantage LSU has is their ability to dominate the 4th quarter due to their great depth. If our offense struggles early then they’ll just wear down the defense and run away with it late.

    Hunker down.

  41. MLBTR – MONDAY, 12:13pm: A friend of Broxton tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that all things being equal, the reliever wants to be close to his Georgia home. Sherman finds the Braves unlikely, but thinks the Marlins or Rays make sense.

    When have the Braves ever been linked to Broxton? And why?

  42. You know, it would really, really benefit the SEC for LSU to lose to UGA. In addition to extra BCS money, every team would shift up a bowl spot, which means more money per team and more money for the conference pool.

    I bet the officiating crew and Les Miles are or will be aware of this.

  43. For me, it would almost be better for OSU to jump to two so I could watch both LSU and Bama take apart some Big10/Big12/Pac12 pretender.

  44. So Jeremy Foley is a controlling harpie, ay? That’s the background dust the Urban defenders are spreading.

    And one more thing: I don’t mind everyone saying Meyer is a great coach – he is – but what is all this “doing it the right way” stuff? He had more guys arrested (some for some serious offenses) in his short time at Florida than anyone not named Fulmer. I doubt he violated any serious NCAA rule, but his team bought the cover to nearly every week’s “Just Busted”.

  45. I’m definitely not predicting it. That’s just what needs to happen for us to win. Our offense is so much better when we can use the play fake.

  46. DOB — #Braves say they won’t acquire a mediocre/bad shortstop to fill spot for ’11; if can’t improve, would go to S.T. w/ rook Pastornicky at SS.

    I welcome the news that we will not purposely acquire shitty players. My enthusiasm being tempered somewhat by the realization that neither management nor DOB will call any acquisition shitty.

  47. @96

    I’m not sure if the kid is ready.

    I’m coaching a youth league basketball team with a buddy of mine. We drew up this play that wokred five times in a row before the other team caught on. It was fun

  48. No he’s not ready and I still dont believe he’s anything more than a utility player.

    Just because, per MLBTR…5:20pm: Andrew McCutchen is not untouchable, but he’s about as close as it gets. The Pirates will at least listen to offers for the center fielder, though they would have to be blown away to move him, according to ESPN.com’s Keith Law.

  49. From Peanut’s latest…

    Wren has said he is not interested in acquiring a veteran shortstop who would come with a multi-year commitment. This would simply block the career paths of the 21-year-old Pastornicky and the 22-year-old Andrelton Simmons, who has been considered by some scouts to be the game’s best defensive shortstop prospect.

    There are some within the organization who believe Simmons could be ready, at least from a defensive perspective, to play at the Majors after this year’s All-Star break.

  50. @86- Can’t expect Crowell to do better than Trent, no, but he’s the only one on Georgia capable of busting off a long run. Won’t be Lil’ Carlton Thomas, and it won’t be Big Dick Samuel IV. Elsewise we’re going to hope to go downfield big against LSU’s secondary, and that just isn’t going to happen.

    Eh, the Dawgs are pretty much boned. Unless, as mentioned before, LSU just has that Dumb LSU Game they haven’t whipped out yet.

  51. @106
    Or, how a knowledgeable Braves’s fan should read that…

    Common sense. Common sense, fluff piece.

    Fluff piece, with a big “but”, stupid timeline.

  52. Surprised to see Broxton sign a 1yr/$4m deal. Even more surprised that he’s going to KC to set up for Soria. Good move by the Royals, esp since he’ll probably get traded for decent value at the Break.

  53. 99—Really wish you hadn’t posted that.

    So, what would it take? Prado+Jurrjens+Teheran+Pastornicky/Simmons+???

  54. Urban Meyer now at Ohio State.
    Looking here for opinions on this, but soon realized that nobody really needed to care.

  55. #107
    Oh, we’ll be winging it, whether we establish the run or not.

    It’s weird that this SEC title game is kinda just gravy for both schools.

  56. Why would the DBacks trade Drew? He may not be ready for the start of the season, but is he even rumored to be on the block?

    As long as we’re speculating, I think we should sign Optimus Prime to play short.

    Re: McCutchen, let’s wait for the price to come down when this Pirates rebuild fails. We have the pieces. I’d love to see him out there for us in 2013.

  57. Prime’s obviously too big and immobile to play short. You’d probably want to go with someone like Bluestreak or Prowl.

  58. I wonder if the “some within the organization” who think Simmons will be ready for prime time by 2012 are the same “some within the organization” with the hard on for Delmon Young.

  59. Letting as many people know this as possible:

    I graduated from high school with the newly appointed starting quarterback for the Houston Texans, TJ Yates. I had a team sports class with him my senior year. I caught touchdown passes from him in that class!

  60. The people I’m thinking of did not. I’m sure I knew some baseball players, too, but none are coming to mind.

  61. DOB — #Braves say they won’t acquire a mediocre/bad shortstop to fill spot for ’11; if can’t improve, would go to S.T. w/ rook Pastornicky at SS.

    Finally, a formal ruling out of bringing Gonzalez back.

  62. @113 – Euphoria here in Buckeye land. Dude is expected to walk on the Scioto, divide a walleye to feed the masses and take the Bucks to the mythical National Championship. Anything less will be a disappointment. Three yards and a cloud of dust to the spread option.

  63. Any Florida fans mad at Meyer? He leaves Florida because of stress related health problems and then takes a job at Ohio State? Not like that’s a low stress job.

  64. #125 – Im not buying that he left because of health related problems. Tebow left and he knew it was going to be a battle after that.

  65. #126
    They’re stuck with Will Muschamp, who’s stuck with Meyer’s last couple of recruiting classes, which seems to me to be more of a reason for his departure.

    I’m sure they negatively affected his health somehow.

  66. It’s all Vince Dooley’s master plan to get his overmatched minions placed at the other high-profile SEC programs. Next up, he’s groomed Kirby Smart to take over next year for Saban following Saban’s own surprise retirement after his second national championship with the Tide.

    (Groomed, literally — does that haircut go over anywhere BUT Alabama???)

  67. @126- You sure love that pic, don’t you? :-)

    I’m annoyed at Meyer. I don’t get it. If you’re sick, you’re sick. Is he just addicted to coaching? What gives? Why will it be different this time? Is the Big 10 (11? 13? Whatever.) so much worse than the SEC that coaching there is a breeze and not stressful?

    I’m not mad at Meyer, just annoyed like I say. It doesn’t make sense to me to go from, “I’ve got to stop coaching or they say I’m going to die.” to “OSU here I come!” in 10 months.

  68. @112

    Get it done Wren!

    Re: Meyer

    He may have had health issues, but what a sell out.

    He was going to coach this year at the best possible job opening.

    If the Gator play Ohio State anytime soon, I will pull for the Gator not to lose. That is the the furthest I can go, but that is a long way for me.

  69. Isn’t Meyer from Ohio? Thought he had a clause in his Florida contract he could leave for Ohio St w/out a buyout.

    I still would like Stephen Drew as well. Trade JJ for what you can get…maybe Yonder Alonso, and use the extra money for Drew. The only real problem is that Arizona is stacked w/minor league pitching depth and we might not match up well with them prospect-wise…

    Regarding the SEC, my initial hope for Mizzou football is to finish in the upper half of the league, but I’d like to think in basketball we could be competitive with the top teams in the league most years.

  70. So, what would it take? Prado+Jurrjens+Teheran+Pastornicky/Simmons+???

    No way in hell I would do that. Not with Teheran in the package. Prado+Jurrjens+Simmons, fine, but nothing more. Should be more than enough for Pittsburgh.

  71. #139 – Kirby is smarter than that. No one can win at Ole Miss and he’ll be back to being an assistant in a few years if he takes that job. This is his agent throwing his name out in the media to draw up more interest at an A&M or some other school like that.

  72. I think you can win at Ole Miss. There is pretty good in state tallent and people with money that will contribute. If their AD could have gotten along with Cutcliffe, they would be better off.

  73. Ole Miss will always be a step behind Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn. Ole Miss and Miss St are on the same page.

  74. Smart is a great defensive coordinator. If he leaves it doesnt make a bit of difference in where he ends up.

  75. I feel like it would be possible to win at Ole Miss if their fans would accept the fact that they’re not an elite program anymore (haven’t been for 40 years) and adjust their expectations accordingly downward. Until that happens, they’re just gonna run anybody off who does a halfway decent job because he clearly should be doing better (see Cutcliffe; also, see N.C. State basketball). As such, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are basically the same job, even though Ole Miss would be markedly better if their fans would let it.

  76. Prado+Jurrjens+Simmons, fine, but nothing more. Should be more than enough for Pittsburgh.

    Are the Pirates really a team that would want Prado and Jurrjens? One spent much of 2011 injured, the other had a terrible season and both are about to get expensive.

  77. They probably shouldn’t want them, but it is the sort of mistake they tend to make — getting pretty good veterans, overpaying them, and expecting them to lead them to victory.

  78. @157 He’s releasing a story about Cal/Kentucky. I’ve heard it involves Anthony Davis’ recruitment.

  79. Nick I can promise you that the Orgeron years and Nutt’s last two, coupled with letting LSU and Bama drop 50 points each, has greatly tempered expectations in Oxford. We’re just hoping for someone that can win six a year most years and make us actually competitive with Vandy.

    I’d love Smart, him and Kevin Sumlin are at the top of my list. But I’m hearing that Sumlin turned down even interviewing and Smart will probably turn us down as well though he’ll at least interview if for no other reason than to enhance his profile.

    I’ve given up and expecting Larry Fedora and watching us lose to UAB every year. Or some other embarrassing hire and we won’t win an SEC game for three years or more.

  80. Rumor is that Sumlin is headed to UCLA.

    I think Forde is going to break Franklin’s extension.

    I think Stu would be happy with Cal going down too.

  81. Forde is not going to break Franklin’s extension. That story’s been out for a while, anyway. They’re just waiting to announce it this weekend with a few other big announcements.

  82. Cubs sign Dejesus 2/10, and somehow the WS Champion Cardinals qualify for the first competitive balance draft pick lottery.

  83. @169

    They have a phrase in the Pacific Northwest which comes to mind — Couging It (pronounced KOOGing). Named for the Washington State mascot, to Coug It is to take an advantageous set of circumstances and nevertheless manage to fail spectacularly. Famed Wazzu alum Ryan Leaf is the poster child. It’s fitting that Leach has landed in the Palouse, seeing as he thoroughly Couged It to get there.

  84. Interesting what you say about Leach. The common perception in the DC area is that the AD wanted hire Leach for Maryland after they fired Ralph Fridgen but was not allowed to. Maryland ultimately hired Randy Edsall who, at least so far, has been an almost comically bad hire.

    Of course, talking about Maryland football to SEC fans is like discussing the Angolan navy with the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations.

  85. No, I undervalue Jed Lowrie’s ability to stay healthy. Look at the guy’s playing history. I’d sooner bet Mac wears a Tennessee football jersey in the next year than I would Lowrie stays healthy an entire season.

    A more interesting trade proposal would be Lowrie for JJ straight up. JJ will be making around 4 MM more than Lowrie next season and is under control for one fewer year. That would be balanced out by JJ’s better track record. They both also have extensive comparable injury histories. IMO, that would be a much fairer trade than for a guy under control for 5 more seasons who has no real injury history and performance is still trending upward

  86. Minor is worth more to the Red Sox than Lowrie is worth to the Braves. That difference should determine the suitability of the trade, not what Minor is worth to us vs. what Lowrie is worth to the Red Sox. The fact that the Braves don’t have a rotation slot for Minor doesn’t change his value to the ~25 other teams who don’t have enough starting pitching already, and the fact that he can be stashed away in AAA indefinitely means that our glut of SP shouldn’t even affect our leverage in trade negotiations. He’s ultra cheap and he’s not taking up an active roster space, so where’s the motivation to trade him at all unless it’s for value equal to what he’d represent in whatever organization he went to?

    If I’ve got 5 kidneys, I’m really not getting any use out of 4 of them, so their value to my body is negligible other than as backups if the one I use goes bad, but that doesn’t change their value to the tourist who wakes up in a bathtub full of ice with incisions in his back during his vacation in Rio. You don’t give that guy a discount just because you’ve got more than you need (unless my spare kidneys are going bad, which might represent Jurrjens in this questionable metaphor).

  87. The Braves do have a rotation slot for Minor. As of the date of the Lowe trade, he’s their fifth starter.

  88. No chance. Minor is way more valuable than Lowrie. Lowrie is 27 and cant stay on the field. If he doesnt have a bounce back year then he’s probably going to be a nontender candidate in a year or so anyway.

    With Hanson/Hudson/JJ all having injury concerns you dont trade Minor. And yes, he does have a rotation spot.

  89. I want Lowrie, and still I acknowledge Minor’s more valuable, straight up. I’d want someone included that could be like another Pastornicky, so that if an injury happens, we could have two semi-decent options. I’ll gladly take 80-100 games of Lowrie for the next few years, if the price is right. No one else on the market has his upside. And we’re trying to win now, so we want high upside 27 year-olds.

    I’ve harped on how two of Lowrie’s three injuries don’t worry me that much (mono, Red Sox forcing him to play through and aggravate what started as a minor shoulder injury). But because he’s apparently been hit with the dreaded “not enough mental toughness” thing, he’d probably end up being next year’s he said/she said medical drama. For that reason, he might not be the best fit for this organization.

  90. The thing is, if they both work out, the Braves lose. Cost controlled LH starting pitching is worth a ton.

  91. I guess I don’t understand the Braves reluctance to offer Gonzalez a one-year deal. (Perhaps they have and I haven’t heard about it.)

    Yeah, his approach at the plate is cringe-worthy, but his defense was quite good and on this team, we simply must have good infield defense to win.

  92. @177 – I say no. I don’t understand the facination with Jed Lowrie. He has had 1 good ‘season’ in MLB for all of 55 games. At 27 is he still a prospect? He has a pretty gawdy minor league resume but so did Andy Marte. Not worth a cost controlled lefty with a history of success in MLB.

  93. I wouldn’t give up Minor just for a placeholder SS, although Lowrie would probably be ideal for the job. Some offensive upside would be a nice bonus to have at the position. Additionally, neither Pastornicky nor Simmons has “can’t miss” stamped on his forehead. Not that I can see, anyway.

  94. “Is the Ted Williams Shift Effective? | Articles | Bill James Online.”

    I’d say it’s quite effective. Ted Williams hasn’t had a hit for 50 years.

  95. from DOB – probably nothing here

    •They could, but I’d be surprised if they got into bidding war. RT @mpass1: @ajcbraves Would #Braves have the money to afford Cespedes? 8 hours ago

    •I hear #Braves have joined a bevy of teams that’s at least kicked the tires of Cuban OF Yoennis Cespedes, who’s working out in D.R. 8 hours ago

  96. I guess I don’t understand the Braves reluctance to offer Gonzalez a one-year deal.

    According to DOB, the Braves would rather give a rookie a chance than throw money at a mediocre/bad shortstop. What’s wrong with that?

  97. Forde moved to Yahoo! Sports because they encourage yellow journalism, where you can hide behind anonymous sources and are guilty until proven innocent. Two anonymous sources, a scorned booster and a low level assistant and boom….a giant expose. I’m not saying Calipari is clean; I have no idea if he is or isn’t.

    When Forde writes a story, I picture Scott Templeton from The Wire writing it.

  98. There’s a good chance Minor is more than our 5th starter with the uncertainty of Hanson’s shoulder, Jurrjens’ general health/ability going forward, and Hudson’s back.

  99. 200—Well, (a) it wouldn’t have been much money, and (b) there was also the chance they’d get a draft pick out of it.

  100. @199, I was wondering the same thing – I’d be into it if he’d sign for Chapman money (apparently he’s asking for a lot more), which is a lot for an unknown commodity, but he’s on paper just what they need and only costs money.

  101. Yeah, we really don’t have a surplus of pitching until everybody shows up healthy in the Spring.

    On paper, we are awash in assets. But, on paper, so was Enron.

    I’d say Gonzalez (defensively at least) was an excellent shortstop. His plate discipline drives me bat guano, but until and unless we can find something better without giving up the farm, I wouldn’t mind another year of him. (Can’t believe I’m calling for the return of the Sea Bass.)

    Pitino’s co-author has a built-in conflict of interest.

  102. Forde defensiveness, not UK defensiveness. Personally and professionally, I don’t care for the guy. If he wrote an article on Alabama, Vandy or Oxford I would feel the same way.

  103. Regarding Cespesdes,

    How is the new CBA going to affect this? I thought there were limits on international free agent signings. Don’t those impose a luxury tax of substantial import? Also, are those limitations going to affect Japanese players?

    I just don’t know how this is sorting out.

  104. Calipari has never suffered professionally for prior misdeeds, so I don’t know why he would change. The one big difference is the job he now has — the prestige of Kentucky means he doesn’t have to “work” as hard to attract premium talent.

  105. #200 – Rookie may not be ready with glove or the bat and you had a chance to keep a relatively cheap good glove guy. What happened to DOB’s comments about “anything he does with the bat is extra.”?

  106. On arb for Sea Bass. But what if market conditons for good glove SS’s says that you can re sign him for cheaper than the arb price? Or can he not be signed by the Braves?

  107. AAG in 2011 replicated the 2010 performance that earned him a contract in the first place. The only real difference was that his hits in 2010 tended to come with runners on base.

    AAG w/RISP

    2010 .284/.341/.520
    2011 .250/.273/.371

    The ’10 numbers are with TOR and ATL combined, but you can see the difference in the RBIs for the Braves both years — 38/292PA vs 56/593PA. His 2010 pace would have yielded 76 2011 RBIs, and in that case we probably would have re-upped him.

  108. What happened to DOB’s comments about “anything he does with the bat is extra.”?

    DOB was simply repeating what the organization told him: that it’s time for Gonzalez to take his sub-Francoeurian, .270ish OBP act on the road.

  109. @201

    No. Lots of writters are leaving ESPN because they treat their writters like crap.

    Yahoo Sports is the bastion of objective sports journalism

  110. I’m sure Calipari is clean. Nothing in his past suggests that he’s not. A real classy, stand up guy.

  111. Re: AAG and arb, I feel the same as folks on here. But I suppose the Braves really feel like Pastornicky is pretty certain to give us AAG’s overall production for cheaper.

  112. Sigh. Awaiting the first allegation from the NCAA against John Calipari.

    In both the UMASS and Memphis cases, the NCAA specifically exonerated Calipari.

    While Calipari is raising millions for Haiti and having his five-stars literally wash the feet of impoverished youth, Forde’s joint bank account holder is nailing a crazy woman on the floor of a restaurant, paying for the abortion and manuevering one of his assistants into marrying her. And then covering it up for years. Nary a peep from Pat Forde. Sensitive? Perhaps. Realistic? I think so.

    As the great Kentucky fan Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, “Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not following you.”

  113. I feel like AAG might’ve gotten a bigger raise in arbitration than people here are expecting. He’s got a ton of service time. Something like $5M wouldn’t have shocked me, and I don’t want to pay him that. If you bring him back, it’s on a one year deal negotiated outside of the arb process for around the $2.5M he got last year. Personally, I don’t mind letting him go, but it does kinda lock the Braves into retaining Jack Wilson or getting a veteran somehow, because even if are willing to go into camp with Pastornicky as the guy, you at least want to have a realistic option behind him.

  114. The NCAA used to exonerate Jim Harrick, too, before the UGA debacle. Didn’t change the wreckage that others had to clean up in his wake. Harrick, Tarkanian, Pitino, Calipari — great coaches all, but devils that you either make deals with or you don’t. They never rise above the cesspool, just to the top of it.

  115. Lowrie has been a below-average major league hitter in 920 career plate appearances, and has played either below average or average shortstop (depending on the metric). My reason for not wanting him have more to do with him than with my love for the Braves’ pitching depth.

  116. @227
    “Lowrie has been a below-average major league hitter in 920 career plate appearances…”

    But not near a below average hitting SS. In fact, his career OPS would have ranked 6h amongst qualifying NL SS in 2011 (being Tulo, Reyes, Castro, Bonifacio, and Rollins). Adding to that, I think his career OPS of .732 is much lower than what is expected of him (and Bill James seems to agree). I think a .270/.360/.420 line is a realistic line for Lowrie if he’s healthy. Pair that with average defense and that sounds right on!

  117. @226 – it’s been a long, long time since anything has even been alleged.

    What y’all may not understand is that it matters to Kentucky fans that we run a respectable program.

    As my old management professor used to say, “Nothing changes until the conviction of sin is reached.” Well, we had our come-to-Jesus moment back in the early 80’s. Any coach or booster that would be revealed to be pulling the kind of stunts Miami or UNC have recently pulled would be drawn and quartered.

    Sorry for taking up so much space about this.

    So, anybody think Pujols is crazy enough to become a Chicago Cub?

  118. @232

    College basketball is the dirtiest sport of all. Every program that wins has smoke around it (except Duke). It all depends on what the NCAA wants to do to Cal.

    Just hope he doesn’t lie to them, because that appears to the worst thing you can ever do.

  119. @234 Agree.

    And enjoy Tee Martin. I really liked him as a WR coach, even though I knew he was on loan.

  120. I’ve said before that I wouldn’t mind bringing AAG on the cheap to be our shortstop, but the other thing about him is his age. He’s 34 and will be 35 when the season starts. As Mac has pointed out before, his most comparable player is the other Alex Gonzalez, and that Alex Gonzalez washed out of the league due to inability to hit at age 33.

    Alex Gonzalez has horrible plate discipline, but has been able to cover for it with average power and terrific range at shortstop. The older he gets, the worse his bat speed will get, and the more his range will decline. If he is exactly the same as last year or rebounds a bit, he might be worth a flier for $1 million. But if he’s actually any worse than he was last year, then giving him money would be roughly as productive as lighting it on fire.

  121. Did they? I missed that. Okay, how about Lidge? The more NL East teams to overpay for closers, the happier we should be.

  122. Where did all this Marlin money come from? Hell, it’s becoming like the American League East.

    Fairly soon (it may be this year), the Braves will be trotting out the lowest payroll in the Division.

  123. New stadium + higher payroll = hopeful butts in the seats. They have no choice but to try and have a big offseason. Washington and Florida are a few pieces away from being really good.

    Poor Mets

  124. per mlbtr…not shocking info though

    the latest from the NL East…

    •The Braves are not planning to bid on Yoenis Cespedes, despite having some front office officials at one of the Cuban outfielder’s recent workouts in the Dominican Republic, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Atlanta officials were making the trip to visit the team’s Latin American operations (both Twitter links).

    Btw, question. If the Tigers get in on Reyes any chance they would move Peralta for a starter?

  125. Honestly hope the Marlins get Reyes. With their low payroll, having the oft-injured and overhyped Reyes could cripple them for a couple of years.

  126. Re: agon / arbitration…. Aren’t there only certain stats you’re permitted to use in the hearing? Is OBP one of them? I know HR and BA are.. A ss with 15 HR looks valuable without context. He would probably get too much money.

  127. I was under the impression that the previous year’s salary factored heavily into arbitration hearings — that is, that the arbitration salary awarded generally isn’t (can’t be?) a huge-huge increase over the previous year’s.

    AGony was real cheap in 2011; I’ve sorta been assuming that he couldn’t be too expensive in 2012…but I’ve not actually looked the rules up. Am I wrong?

  128. I keep waiting for one of our gray eminences to deliver an essay on how the new CBA will impact MLB in general and the Braves in particular.

    Some of the MLBTV guys are opining that the money is about to flow. Why do I fear that may prove true for all but Liberty Media?

    Speaking of the CBA: it defies logic to think that this could be accomplished with absolutely no rancor or even some good old angst. Just kinda showed up in the mailbox.

  129. Heyman….•The Braves want a young outfielder and shortstop plus other players for Jair Jurrjens.

  130. Peanut – Shortstop: “Wren said he is not interested in blocking the career paths of Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons by giving a multiyear contract to a veteran shortstop. With limited options available, it is starting to look like the club will enter Spring Training with Pastornicky targeted to be the starting shortstop. The Braves are currently talking to veterans like Jack Wilson about serving as a backup and insurance in the event that Pastornicky proves he is not ready to make the jump to the Majors. ”

    Fine, but I pray Pastornicky is ready (still highly doubtful) because Jack Wilson will make AAG look like an Allstar hitting SS.

  131. Angels need rotation depth and have a couple decent outfield prospects outside Trout. Maybe Maicer Izturis, a B outfield prospect, and a bullpen arm would do it.

  132. Heyman is also saying that Wren is asking for “good” prospect(s) in addition to Seth Smith in a Prado deal. Apparently we are asking for Charlie Blackmon or Wheeler and the Rockies are balking at that price.

  133. @258- Screw’em then. Seth Smith sucks outside Coors and Wheeler/ Blackmon are both old for prospects anyway.

    I don’t like the deal at all and think there’s a lot more value in keeping Prado if for no other reason than the dearth of the 3B market and the need for Chipper insurance.

  134. #258- actually Wren was aiming higher..

    •Also from Knobler (via Twitter), the Rockies turned down the Braves’ offer of Martin Prado in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith and prospect Nolan Arenado. Given that Arenado is one of Colorado’s top prospects, this was a total pie-in-the-sky offer from the Braves.

  135. Also, Colorado is the one trying to acquire Prado; the Braves aren’t trying to dump him. If they want him badly enough, they can pay the price.

  136. DOB: “Wren wouldn’t say Friday whether former Braves shortstop Edgar Renteria might be another option.”

    Please let Wren’s silence be solely out of respect for Edgar’s former contributions. I’d rather have Jack Wilson, who can at least do half the job….

  137. Jack Wilson
    2010 – .282OBP .598OPS -0.5UZR -0.1WAR
    2011 – .274OBP .559OPS -1.5UZR 0.0WAR
    Bill James projection 2012 – .256/.299/.340

    Edgar Renteria
    2010 – .332OBP .707OPS 2.5UZR 1.3WAR
    2011 – .302OBP .654OPS 0.6UZR 0.9WAR
    Bill James projection 2012 – .258/.316/.355

  138. Looking at FanGraphs, Renteria tested out higher in range stats at SS in 2011 than either Wilson or AAG. I’ll conveniently chalk that up to batted ball variance and go with their Fan’s Scouting Report, which rated Wilson as the 15th best fielding SS and Renteria #54.

    To be clear, I don’t WANT either one of them. But on a Braves infield otherwise populated by statues, a few extra points on OBP and SLG is not the overriding concern.

  139. If only the Braves had that good-hitting and good-fielding shortstop who plays for the Blue Jays, a lot of their problems would be solved.

  140. I know no one likes to re-litigate that, but I was on the record that day as saying the Braves would regret it for a long time.

  141. I may be alone here, spike, but I still don’t regret it.

    We sure miss his talent, but there’s a reason AGON was given a standing ovation by the team when he arrived and it wasn’t because of who he was. It was because of who he was not.

  142. All those talented medical professionals at Vandy and none of them could get Festus back in the lineup against Louisville?


    Dores win by ten if Ezeli is in the lineup. (Or if Tinsley, et al, could handle a press.)

  143. My dream is for Pastornicky or Simmons to become a good, productive shortstop, because the Yunel trade sticks at the back of my mind in almost all Braves-related matters. Nobody wants to re-visit that conversation, of course. And with good reason. But that conversation recurs in some form every time we discuss the Braves’ hole at shortstop. It won’t go away until they fill it.

    I’m obviously very interested in what Wren will do next week. His asking price for both Prado and Jurrjens (esp. the latter) seems very high, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he stands pat. That would disappoint me, though not as much as would his making a deal just to make one.

  144. @272

    Yeah, they wanted to welcome the new guy. People make way too much of “The Ovation.”

  145. Frankly, it shouldn’t even matter if every player on the team did support Escobar’s trade. It’s up to the General Manager to build the best possible team, not the one that can have the friendliest Connect Four matches.

  146. My Mantra: More than anyone or anything, I blame Yunel Escobar for being an unprofessional dipshit, and I’ve moved on long ago.

  147. Wholeheartedly agree with ububba. The Braves and Yunel Escobar both moved on long ago. Perhaps we should, too.

  148. Reality Check Dept.

    So I’m on coming home last night on the Long Island Railroad. My stop’s coming up & I get up to leave the train. There’s a group of kids wearing Manhasset High School letter jackets and, apparently after seeing my UGA fleece, they start talking to me.

    They ask if I’m a “Georgia fan.” I say, “No, I’m a Georgia grad.” For some reason, they light up at that.

    “Georgia’s gonna kick LSU’s ass tomorrow!”

    “Yeah, you’re gonna beat them!”

    “LSU’s going down!”

    “Yeah, they’re overrated!”

    I just look at them and say, “Sounds good, but… have you even seen LSU play this year?”

    They look at me, sort of unbelieving that a UGA guy wouldn’t automatically participate in their rah-rah session. Train doors open & I walk out.

    I sure hope they’re right.

  149. The amount of vitriol outside the south regarding an LSU Ala rematch is considerable. Granted, it’s just so whatever bs pretender team they support can get a shot, but nonetheless.

  150. It really wont matter after Oklahoma beats OSU tonight. I cant believe Virginia Tech is having to play Clemson again. Will they split the conference championship if VT wins this time? Clemson already beat them by 20 @ VT

  151. Georgia had the opportunity of a lifetime and couldn’t close the deal. Long way to go, but I don’t see it now.

  152. For God’s sake, Smitty… He does not suck, this is just not a good team. We are actually playing better than I thought we were going to early in the year. In fact, we are already playing more disciplined than we ever did under Pearl. This might actually be a pretty good team in a month or so, when he’s actually had time to implement his system and so forth. Certainly, we should be good next year. No, what apparently sucks is our fanbase’s knowledge of basketball, though I can’t say I’m at all shocked by that.

  153. Well, people are sick and tired of the SEC, especially the attitude in the South that no one else should even bother playing football. And, why would you want a rematch; the first game wasn’t that great.

  154. I’ve long held that a PlusOne is the perfect solution – not just a compromise.

    Let’s see how it would work this year. (I’m assuming Stanford will finish #4.)

    LSU would play Stanford. Bama would play OK St. Winners play two weeks later.

    Any bitching? (Well, there’s an entire industry developed around sports bitching, so I guess the question becomes is there any legitimate bitching?)

  155. I don’t care if it’s a rematch. If we’re stuck with a system that attempts to identify the two best teams, it should do so without regard to whether the game would be a rematch. Which two teams have the best total body of work should be the sole determination.

    Anyway, I liked the first game quite a bit.

  156. Marc, there is no fair way of trying to judge who the best two teams are because they dont play against the same competition. There will always be flaws and someone will always be left out. There are two teams that have legitimate arguments as to why they should be playing LSU for the title.

    Alabama – Lost at home to the #1 team in the country in overtime. In the new AP top 25, they beat the #7 team by 24 points, #24 team by 16. They have the #1 defense in the country. Have 2 wins against the current top 25. They are giving up an average of 8.8 pts per game. Best win (Arkansas) worst loss (LSU)

    OSU – Lost on the road to Iowa State in overtime, they were a 28 pt favorite. They’ve beaten 3 top 25 teams, none in the current top 10. They beat the #11 team by 7, #15 team by 35, #19 by 35. They have the second best scoring offense in the nation, 49 ppg. Best win (kansas st) worst loss (Iowa St)

    Under the current system how do you pick the better team? You either look at the 1 more quality win that OSU has, or you look at best win of the two teams, or you look at who has the worse loss. The BCS is designed to give us the two best teams, rematch or not. I think Alabama has the stronger of the two teams just because they have the better win on their schedule and they have the better loss. You may think differently, but to discount Alabama just because theyve already played LSU shouldnt matter.

    A plus one, would solve some of this. They easily could have LSU-Stanford and Bama-OSU, but then LSU fans would ask why they have to play the extra game. They are the only undefeated team right now. Should Bama-OSU play to see who gets the shot at LSU?

  157. SportsbyBrooks on twitter saying Mack Brown will be forced out at Texas today or tomorrow. I dont think he’s a reliable source, but its out there.

  158. I’ve always hated any system that relies on votes to crown its “champ.” IMO, the Div. 1/FBS/BCS title remains one of the least legit in all of sports. The “best team” may “win,” but the system’s goofy.

    Every week is a playoff? Bunk. As mentioned, the 12-game schedules are dramatically unequal. There’s really no way to know who’s best unless the teams actually play. In the end, we vote for a “champ” almost like we vote for the Heisman Trophy winner.

    At its worst, it comes down to focus-group-tested political talking points. (Sometimes you ask yourself: Do people really believe this stuff? Why yes, they do. Sounds good enough for them.)

    A +1 would be a smidge better, but 16-team playoff would be awesome. But even if we saw a playoff for 6 teams (with byes), 8 teams or 12 teams (with byes), arguing about that 6th or 8th seed is far less troubling than what we’re doing now.

    As it relates to this season, we might think that Alabama’s a better team than Okie State. (In fact, I’d probably take Bama & give the points.) But we don’t really know that unless they actually play. Remember Utah?

    We do know that Bama lost (at home) to LSU. And we know that Okie St hasn’t had that opportunity. To me, this reminds me of 2006 when some people were insisting on an Ohio State/Michigan rematch. The argument against it wasn’t “Michigan isn’t as good as Florida”; it was “Michigan already had its chance.” (Also, FWIW Michigan didn’t lose at home to the #1 team.)

    That said, I’ll be probably rooting for Bama when it plays LSU, just to hear more “Isn’t-the-BCS-ridiculous?” arguments.

    He may or may not be correct about this story, but (having gone to school with that guy) I can tell you that he doesn’t seem to have grown up too much.

  159. The point that a lot of people are missing, not necessarily here, is that if OSU, Oregon, or Stanford had taken care of business there wouldnt be a shot at a rematch. All could be in front of Bama, but they all lost after Bama did and to lesser opponents.

  160. Although good may be the enemy of great, Perfect is the enemy of Better.

    A PlusOne allows everything else about the postseason to remain largely the same and still deliver a very defensible championship.

    And everybody gets a lot more money.

  161. csg @306 – a lot of jealousy (called “SEC fatigue” outside of the South), is causing many to be willfully obtuse regarding your obviously correct point.

    But you watch, tonight we’ll see the unveiling of the LSU Fighting Tigers v. the OSU Fighting Boone Pickenses. Bama will go to the Sugar and play with the same emotion they brought against Utah.

  162. When will people realize the Big 12 is the biggest fraud in the country? I actually hope Oklahoma St gets in, so I can make a ton of money betting LSU. Early reports say the line would be LSU -8, which is just laughable.

  163. The pearl clutching over a system that will occasionally lead to an imperfect result and demands for a replacement that could yield equally if not more imperfect results is hilarious.

  164. Pretty sure “the skipper” won’t have Hanley on his team. Fredi, I guess, is an Uggla Man.


  165. Andy Staples Tweet

    “In 2008, who blocked a 4-team playoff? The Big 12, Big Ten and Big East. Who proposed it? The SEC. Slive tried to save you from this.”

  166. Sorry, Mac, but Bama in the title game is an outrage. Even if they win it will be a split national championship. LSU really should be crowned the champion right now. Nothing left to prove.

    BTW, screw ESPN. The same network that said UGA couldn’t play in the title game if 07 cause they didn’t win their conference. But Bama has Saban and 1438483 (claimed) National championships so I guess it’s ok.

    End rant. Go Braves.

  167. per mlbtr…

    9:26pm: Wilson has offers from the Angels, Marlins, and two other clubs, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com (via Twitter).

    8:30pm: Marlins still have an offer out to Wilson, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.

  168. This will be a boring title game that won’t prove anything. The +/- will probably be something like 12. The BCS is still a joke.

    Hanley has all of Yunel’s problems x10. Let it go guys.

    Go Braves

  169. Well, I’m quite young, so I don’t know much. But after looking over what the college football landscape was like before the BCS, I’m just amazed at how much better the current system is. I’m also surprised at how the lunatics before the BCS ran the show. I think I’ll be saying the statement again when the finally adopt a 8-team playoff system.

    Bear with me for a second, but a friend of mine that plays football for BYU came up with the following plan with some of the coaches, I think it makes a ton of sense.

    There are 120 teams in the NCCA Division 1 FBS. Invite 8 more teams (I think that this expansion is happening anyway, but I could be mistaken) so that there are 128 total teams, and then split them into 16 divisions of 8 teams a piece.

    Each team plays a 10 game schedule, with 7 conference games and 3 out-of-conference (call them rivalry, or whatever) game. Even with the 10 game schedule, ONLY the 7 game conference schedule would determine a conference champion. In case of ties, the head-to-head matchup results and point differential would determine a champion. Send the 16 teams to a 4-round playoff. The second, third, and fourth place teams become bowl eligible and get to play bowl games vs. other conferences.

    This would produce a clear-cut national champion. It may reduce the number of games, but I would argue that a playoff system would ‘validate’ the game in the eyes of many viewers and would bring much more profit to the game.

    If this system were used with the final BCS rankings, it would produce the following:

    (1) LSU vs. (16) Georgia
    (8) Wisconsin vs. (9) South Carolina
    (4) Stanford vs. (13) Michigan
    (5) Oregon vs. (12) Baylor

    (2) Alabama vs. (15) Clemson
    (7) Boise State vs. (10) Wisconsin
    (6) Virginia Tech vs. (11) Arkansas
    (3) Oklahoma State vs. (14) Oklahoma

    I’d watch every game of that.

  170. @333

    Well, if they get those two then it’s all but over. Wilson alone would be huge. But Pujols? Seems unthinkable, but this is baseball, and life is unfair for fans of mid-market teams.

  171. @338

    I remember. But it doesn’t make the prospect of the next decade any easier to swallow. Hopefully Heyward and Prado rebound and the team kicks ass anyway.

  172. Birmingham people:

    Any good food recommendations? (Looking for breakfast, too.) The missus and I will be spending the weekend down there, but neither one of us knows much about the city. We’ll be eating a lunch at Flip Burger, and I’ve heard good things about Highlands Bar & Grill — any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.

  173. Stu, where are you staying and Ill make some recommendations. Chuy’s right next door to Flip Burger is good also.

  174. Funny, last time I was in Birmingham was 10 years ago and, yes, I ate at the Highlands Bar & Grill. It’s a terrific spot for a date.

  175. 341—Staying in the Five Points South area. (Like, right down the street from the Highlands Bar & Grill.) I like Chuy’s a lot, but I can get that whenever I want in Nashville. Looking for more Birmingham-centric options, if possible.

  176. Well, Santo is finally in. Too bad the VC couldn’t get its act together while he was still alive.

  177. The Marlins can have Reyes. That’s nothing. It’s the Pujols and Wilson rumors that are worrisome.

  178. Studied Pedro Martinez’ pitching mechanics. He was just remarkable generating that explosion in that lithe frame. One of the most remarkable players of his generation and, from his appearance, wasn’t a juicer.

  179. #350
    Maybe that lithe frame had something to do with the fact that he threw 200 IP only 7 times.

    Of all the pitchers from the Steroid Era, Maddux was my favorite to watch. Pedro was 2nd.

  180. Stu, these are all good places to check out.

    Highlands Bar and Grill
    Hot and Hot Fish Club
    Cafe Dupont
    Daniel George

  181. Yeah, forgot about Botega but its good. Firebirds is also but you may have that in Nashville also. Daniel George is one of my favorites, but its been a while since Ive been there.

  182. Blue Jays want Prado. Please Frank, stay away from the fleecing! If they’d give up Rasmus, I’d do it.

  183. @359

    The would send back the Joe Carter homerun ball and a Pat Boarder autographed 1992 baseball card.

  184. @361
    They’re supposed to have an estimated 95 million to spend this year. They already have about 85 million committed to the following players: Reyes, Ramirez, Bell, Nolasco, J. Johnson, Infante, Choate, Coghlan, Sanchez, Stanton, Buck, Bonifacio, LOMO, Dunn, and a random selection of RP and bench players. Surely can’t see it happening…

    Geez, they’re going to be good…

  185. @340 – Re: breakfast in Birmingham. There’s a pancake place in Fivepoints on the main corner that is very popular for breakfast. Not Highlands Bar and Grill exactly, but very popular. I have been to Sunday Jazz Brunch at a restaurant called Veranda on Highland a number of times and it is always terrific. It’s right around the corner from Five Points and the head chef used to be a cook at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. If you are looking for a good breakfast and will still be around Sunday morning around 10:00 AM, it would be the first place I would go.

    My wife and I ate dinner at Ocean a few months ago and it was absolutely top-notch (if you are into seafood). Hot and Hot Fish Club has always been great, and I always feel like I’ve gotten something there that I cannot get anywhere else in Birmingham, be it in ingredients or preparation. I find Bottega a little overrated.

  186. 365—Unfortunately, my wife is a New Orleans seafood snob, so a place like Hot and Hot is a no-go. I am, however, intrigued by your breakfast suggestion.

  187. I should correct myself. It’s not that she’s a snob — that’s too strong/disparaging — it’s more of an I-don’t-want-to-spend-our-money-on-food-we-can-always-get-my-parents-to-pay-for-when-we-visit-them kind of attitude.

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