It’s Wes Helms’s Birthday! Game Thread, May 12

There isn’t a whole lot about the last couple of days that I’d like to talk about, so instead I’d like to talk about a man who’s turning 37 today, a fellow from Gastonia, NC by the name of Wes Helms. Sure, you probably remember that Mac called him “Smelms,” and there’s a reasonable chance that he frustrated you. He was really very bad in a Braves uniform, hitting .234/.287/.423 with approximately -0.5 WAR in 488 plate appearances scattered over parts of four different seasons.

Then, as he came back to Atlanta rather often over the course of the next decade, he had a frustrating knack for killing us. Somehow, he hit .284/.369/.496 in 160 PA against us, which you’ll note is rather higher than his career .256/.318/.405 mark.

I come not to bury Wes Helms, but to praise him. He was a barrel-chested right-handed third baseman who couldn’t really field and couldn’t really hit, and he managed a 13-year career in the majors as a platoon infielder with pop. His -1.5 career WAR testify to the fact that the Braves fans got it right all along, but his years of service testify to something else entirely — his persistence. He played in three different decades, for Pete’s sake, the ’90s, the ’00s, and the ’10s.

He was a 10th round pick out of a high school in North Carolina whose chief claim to fame is having produced James Worthy; before Wes came along, the only other professional baseball player picked from the school was Wade Frye, a 20th-round pick in 1971 who never made it out of A-ball. If he hadn’t come up with the Braves, I doubt that I’d ever remember him. But he was ours, and I’m proud of the guy.

Have a piece of cake, Wesley Ray.

72 thoughts on “It’s Wes Helms’s Birthday! Game Thread, May 12”

  1. Hoping Hudson’s not playing any pranks this time:

    Schafer 9
    Pena 6
    McCann 2
    J. Upton 7
    Freeman 3
    Uggla 4
    B.J. Upton 8
    Francisco 5
    Medlen 1

  2. Boy ..I was thinking last night how bad its going to be .. having to let McCann ( our best hitter ) go free agent cause we wont have the money to keep him ..cause we gotta a couple stiffs like Struggla and BJ Upton taking up about 30 mil a yr for the next 3 yrs … I never thought BJ could be that bad and certainly thought Uggla wouls be able to change something to keep from a repeat of last year but it is what it is … just wish there was some way we could keep McCann.

  3. Wow wow wow. Another Braves headline pops up in my Yahoo news feed: “Is BJ Upton the Most Overpaid Baseball Player in MLB History?”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/atlanta-braves-b-j-upton-most-overpaid-player-043100830.html

    Another byline by Anthony Schreiber, same guy who wrote that insipid “Braves Country” analysis I linked to last week. Here’s his first sentence:

    “Major League Baseball is not like the NFL where player contracts aren’t always worth the price of the toilet paper on which they are written.”

    Huh???

    The analysis doesn’t get any better, nor is it written any less murkily, the longer you get into the piece. There’s 7 billion people on Earth. I know most of them aren’t into baseball, but I’m guessing enough are that someone like this clown shouldn’t be getting Yahoo bylines.

  4. Guess I’m lucky Dish Network hasn’t been letting me watch any games since last Wednesday.

  5. So much for getting up, going to the bathroom, grabbing a snack and thinking things would be any better upon my return.

  6. Haven’t been posting much here lately, the braves have taken out much of the joy from the game over the last few weeks…

    We keep saying they can’t be this bad, but things just keep going at the same depressing pace.

    The return of Heyward doesn’t exactly fill me up with confidence, either.

  7. Wow, I’m sick of us giving up home runs to the GIANTS, of all teams. We’re supposed to be the ones hitting homers, not them.

    And, wow, Justin, that was pathetic.

  8. Yep, that’s it for me today… I can’t stomach any more of this crap.

  9. Its simple .. the Giants are major league hitters .. hit to all fields put the ball in play .. Braves .. take the hardest swing you can and hope you hit it … lead league in SO’s .. I like watching teams play baseball … Braves hit Solo homers for runs and when they aint hittin HR’s .. well you see what happens .. tthe 2 hits we have by subs .

  10. I’d characterize Justin’s defense the same as I would B.J.’s – good range and a plus arm, but prone to lapses.

  11. Who would have expected Teheran’s start to not only be our best this series, but by several miles?

  12. Wow this team is flat out playing like crap. I don’t care about the ‘they’ve been on the road so much’ thing. They stay in five star hotels and are supposed to be high level athletes

    Play better braves!

  13. Can we get that fan to play left field? He plays better defense than Justin.

  14. @45 It’s the Asperger’s kicking in. I have such a black hole on these matters I didn’t even notice the double entendre.

  15. Umpires messing up calls after reviews on other teams is sad. Umps messing up against us is unacceptable.

  16. 48- I don’t blame you for not giving this game or commentary much of your attention. I know I’m not.

  17. A super-duper pet peeve of mine is when fan interference turns to the home team’s benefit. If it is anything close, the review call should go against the home team’s interests.

  18. @50 It’s also routine. And it goes back decades, particularly in playoff games. We all know these instances, so I will not recite them.

  19. Medlen is stinking it up enough right now without needing any help on umpire’s “judgment calls.” What part of “If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out” does not apply there? Stupid.

  20. Justin Upton’s defensive miscues all series probably didn’t help but come on. The guy has an oversized glove and the ball changed directions when it squibbed out. He was escorted out of the damn game and you still don’t call it?

  21. I didn’t know that Jeffrey Maier went to the Left Coast & became a hippie burnout.

    Terrible call, but better it comes in a 5-0 affair than a playoff game, I guess.

  22. I’m at the game – of course the Braves play like crap when I’m in attendance – and I can hear Jon Miller over the stadium speakers. He said that guy reaches over the wall all the time. Calls himself the ‘Dawg’. Why they keep letting him back in is beyond me. What I do know is that almost every active umpire needs to fired.

  23. Are the umps trying to show how ineffective instant replay would be if we had it? Since it clearly is unpersuasive no matter how clear it might be?

  24. @58 He does this all the time? Does he also have “what did I do that was so wrong?” expression when he’s being booted from the park? He should be banned from games.

  25. 62- Depending on Cubbie competence? That’s not a long-term strategy, to put it mildly.

  26. Blind hogs, Brian J, every once in a while, win a game that helps us, some times even two days in a row.

  27. This has been boiling inside me for quite a while and I finally have to let it out: Nobody whose name sounds out to “Scooter-O” should be allowed to play major league baseball.

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