Mets 10, Braves 7 (by coop)

For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name—
He marks—not that you won or lost—but how you played the game.

— Grantland Rice, “Alumunus Football”

When the Los Angeles Angels owner Gene Autry heard this quote, he commented, “Well, Grantland Rice can go to hell as far as I’m concerned.”

I’m with you, cowboy.

WINS ARE THE ONLY THING THAT COUNT.

And all you sabermetrician journalistas, I agree with what I understand of what you propound and suspect the rest of your sermon is gospel; but …

Baseball is a team game. The object of the game is to win. Teams win, not individuals. Star players are wonderful, but look at this year’s Washington Nationals. Then look at the Mets. Then look at their respective win totals.

Ralph Kiner understood. He told this story: “After the season in which I hit 37 home runs, I asked Pittsburgh Pirate general manager Branch Rickey for a raise. He refused. “€œI led the league in homers,” I reminded him. “€œWhere did we finish?” Rickey asked me. “€œLast,” I replied. “€œWell,” Rickey said, “€œWe can finish last without you.”

Red Sanders agreed. In 1950, at a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo physical education workshop, Sanders told his group: “Men, I’ll be honest. Winning isn’t everything,” then following a long pause, “Men, it’s the only thing!”

“This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. You GOT IT?!” — Joe “Skip” Riggins

This year the Mets threw the ball better than the more ballyhooed Nationals and one whole heck of a lot better than our retooling Braves. The game is not played in press clippings. It’s played on the field. Which reminds me: the Mets played the Braves today.

Ryan Weber got his second start for Atlanta today. His first time out, he threw the ball well. His team fielded adequately but hit the ball not at all.

Today Weber pitched well, and the Braves hit well. We caught the ball better than the Mets as well, so how did we lose?

The fault lies not in our stars but in our bullpen.

The Mets were down to their last strike of their last out when Juan Legares hit a flyball double that just missed being a spectacular game-ending diving catch by Cameron Maybin. Ryan Kelly relieved Peter Moylan, who’d pitched well. Kelly walked Curtis Granderson. All Braves relievers walk Granderson. It’s the law. Then Daniel Murphy homered to tie the game.

The Braves rolled over in the bottom of the ninth, played dead; and the Mets killed them in the tenth.

Edwin Jackson relieved. Again, the Braves got the first two outs, Juan Uribe on a pop up and Yoenis Cespedes on a strikeout. The Mets had us right where they wanted us.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis walked. Reuben Tejada singled. Kevin Plawecki drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and reached safely himself when Hectoe Olivera’s only chance throw pulled Daniel Castro off second base. Juan Legares walked to load the bases. Granderson walked. Again. This time with the bases loaded to garner an RBI. Danny Burawa relieved and promptly walked Daniel Murphy on four pitches to plate the final run before finally ending the torture by inducing a Lucas Duda groundout.

How did we ever win 56?

“If you build it, they will come.”

Build us a team, Johns; and we will come. Build us not a white flight field but a team of dreams. Give us a reason to believe. As M.C. Escher said, “Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.” Just do it.

“God, I love baseball.”

Me too, Roy. Me too. I wish the Braves played baseball.

“Wait ’til next year!”

Go Braves. Nor oif simhas.

81 thoughts on “Mets 10, Braves 7 (by coop)”

  1. #4
    I actually read that. What I remember is that, because the quality of baseball was usually so bad in those years, the team had to come up with every kind of goofy promotion to bring out fans.

    They had everything from multiple weddings & cash scrambles to bathtub races & ostrich races, from wet t-shirt contests to Karl Wallenda tight-roping across the stadium. Desperate times, desperate measures…

  2. “In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don’t know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win — if they’re nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth, and nice guys with no talent finish last.” -Sandy Koufax

  3. Nice is different than intangibles. The idea is that certain presences, be it coaches/managers or veteran players can coax slightly better performances out of others. The operative word is “slightly”. It’s not nothing, but it certainly isn’t enough to compensate for a glaring deficiency in talent.

  4. Moylan was pitching ok. Why did Fredi lift him with 2 outs in the 9th? It’s not like he has some secret weapon waiting in the bullpen.

  5. I’m not as down on Fredi as most, but he does odd things with the bullpen. Yes, pulling Moylan at that time for another ineffective right-hander, with three lefty hitters coming up was weird. What bothers me more though, is his penchant for letting a pitcher hit, then jerking him the next inning at the slightest hint of trouble. Weber was pitching well, and in the bottom of the 6th, with one out and a runner on third, Fredi let him bat for himself. Of course, he struck out, and we didn’t score. The next inning, with two on and one out, Fredi brought in another ineffective young pitcher, who Grybo’d the tying run.

  6. It all makes a lot more sense if you go with the idea that Fredi is managing to lose games on purpose. But that would mean he’s been tanking since his arrival…

  7. I applaud those who watched yesterday’s game. I’m not sure why you give an extension to a manager halfway through year one of a two year rebuild job. Especially when said manager was already in the hot seat.

  8. I apologize for jinxing this game. I put a comment in the game thread about Moylan getting 3 strikeouts in the 8th because GameDay first said that Lagares had struck out.

    But then, if I have such supernatural power, maybe I need to jinx the other team?

    I figure Fredi was concerned about “sidearmer has more trouble with off hand hitters than over the top guys” when he pulled Moylan. In his earlier visitation, Moylan was much more effective than the typical sidearm righty when facing lefties.

    But he had just struck out 2, given up a double, and was throwing strikes.

    I guess Fredi was letting the mediocre be the enemy of the half ass and then he got no ass after that.

  9. Is it heresy to hope an American League team wins the World Series? Both Toronto and KC are more appealing than the NL contenders.

  10. on SEC football,

    Last week, Oklahoma was 19 in one poll and 17 in the other. Tennessee was 23 in both. Sounds like “if they played, Oklahoma ought to JUST BARELY beat Tennessee” to me.

    Oklahoma beats Tennessee in overtime. Oklahoma goes up 2 spots in one poll, unchanged in the other, and Tennessee drops, essentially, 7 spots (by order of “others receiving votes.”

    The Oklahoma comeback was driven by extraordinary ability of quarterback Mayfield to escape from the pass rush. He was like Cam Newton shredding pass rushers.

    And, nothing I saw of my Georgia Bulldogs said they should have gone up in a poll. Brice Ramsey cannot be that bad of a quarterback. Something is funny there.

  11. @28

    Eh, it’s too early to worry about the polls.

    I have said for month Tennessee is still a year away. If they get their act together and Butch can close out games, the Vols could contend for the East this year.

  12. I like Adonis Garcia. I’m not apey about him, but he’s playing like he wants a spot on the 2016 club, and I think the Braves should give him every chance to earn it in Florida next year.

    But where will he play in the field?

  13. Another thought: Jace Peterson’s job should not be secure by any means, and he should have to earn it back.

  14. I don’t think Adonis or Jace should have a locked position on this team next year either. Adonis has shown some power, but he doesn’t walk and his glove is weak. Is the power legit? If so, he could be a useful bench piece.

  15. @30/31..

    agreed, agreed..

    Biff Pocoroba
    there are some who say he never hit sober
    but by calling him Biff
    we creatively suggested that he might not whiff.

  16. @32, The power sure looks legit to me. The ball jumps pretty quick off his bat. It’s the rest of his hit tool I’m not sold on yet.

  17. #28
    I never get bent out of shape over college-football polls. You can’t really apply any “sense” to them. Still, there’s no way around it — that was a tough loss for UT.

    And as it relates to UGA, I’m a little curious to see how much Chubb plays vs. USC. (And speaking of tough losses…). He apparently tweaked an ankle vs. Vandy. Richt is downplaying it, but we’ll see what kind of gameplan they have in mind. Even using a back-up QB, USC (as we know) is never a team UGA should ever overlook.

  18. The playoff system has greatly reduced the meaning and validity of polls, especially early ones. Win 11 games and everything takes care of itself. Of course, you may not like your chances of doing that (looking at you, alma mater), but its still true.

  19. I think Castro should be in the mix for significant playing time next year. Obviously his current .302 BA with a .723 OPS is a very small sample size, but given his minor league numbers and overall improvement, I think a .280 BA with a .315 OBP and a .700 OPS is a reasonable expectation. I like Peterson, but I think Castro could easily beat his .239 BA and .649 OPS. He could also come very close to his .313 OBP. I think Peterson has a higher upside, especially with his walk rate, but as csg says, he shouldn’t be a lock.

  20. @39
    A future platoon shouldn’t be out of the question as both hit the opposite hand very well and both play a superb 2b defense.

    With that being said, I wouldn’t want the Braves to give up on Jace. I think he has the potential to be the .750 OPS player he was 265 PA into the season.

  21. The Braves have won three games since I predicted they would win four more for the rest of the season. I’m still not changing my prediction, but, thanks to the Phillies, they may yet surpass my expectations. One win in three weeks? Even this bunch should be able to pull that one off (now, watch, I’ll have jinxed them into losing all the rest). Might they get two wins more, or maybe even three? I’ll wait in breathless anticipation to see.

  22. I think we are underappreciating just how bad a stretch this team is on. Seriously, no team will ever be at 42-42 and have a chance to not win 60 ballgames.

    I expect 3 more wins and us end up 59-103, remarkable!

  23. I want to watch the Braves LIVE! pregame show on SportSouth, just to see what they could possibly be trying to hype you up into watching at this point.

    Maybe it’ll be like late September of the 2008 regular season, when Simpson and Sciambi just talked about completely random things. “Stick around until the fourth inning, to hear Chip and Joe discuss their favorite candy!”

  24. I predicted 66-96 at the beginning of the season. Kept quiet about it for a long time, then talked about it briefly, now mostly quiet again.

  25. ‘Rissa, if your prediction holds true–or even misses by only a little bit, we’ll have the worst 2nd half mark since the schedule went to 162 games.

    The ’62 Mets were 20-62.
    The ’13 Astros–now division leaders!–are next worst at 22-60.

    The Braves are 16-47 since game #82 began. 18 games until history, ladies and gentlemen.

  26. A lot of us predicted sub-70 wins. The path we have taken to end up there wasn’t predicted by anyone though.

  27. It’s been a real roller coaster ride, for sure. Some sort of subterranean roller coaster that just barely nears the surface at its highest point and spends most of its run plummeting towards the inky depths of hell, perhaps, but a roller coaster regardless.

  28. Now that we’re here in the middle of this horror show, I’d be interested to know how many such seasons you all would be willing to accept in exchange for another World Series? Like, if X number of additional such seasons guaranteed a WS at the end of the stretch, how high would X go?

    I’m at -1 myself – I achieved consciousness somewhere around 1991, so I heavily favor a consistent 85-90 wins with the guarantee of something worth watching after July, even if it means we’ll never win a title again. The joy of baseball’s constant companionship is sort of lacking when the companion stopped breathing 3 months ago.

  29. Give me a consistent winner, think of this season times 9 and you have the 80’s.
    It was rough to say the least.

    But I kept watching

  30. I’m ok with losing 100 games every now and then, but let’s do with with a team full of kids, and not a team full of guys about to retire.

  31. I don’t know if this is an attempt to circle around the back and argue the “did we really need to rebuild?” argument again, so forgive me for going there, but I think every fan would prefer to win 90 games a year and roll the dice.

    As it relates to the rebuild, the argument was never about “wouldn’t you like to try losing for awhile?” and was always about the conceivability of actually winning those 90 games this year, and even moreso, going forward.

  32. @53- I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. The cupboard where we should have kept the kids, was full of organizational filler. Hence the firing if Frabk Wren and the rebuild.

  33. Yeah it’s not good when the only kid in your everyday lineup is Jace Peterson. The veteran-teacher to young-student ratio on this team is way out of whack.

  34. Even as bad as last year was, I felt we had a 50-50 chance of winning most of the time. As a lifelong Braves fan dating back to the perennial cellar dwellers of most of the 70s and 80s, I forgot how bad it was to pull for a hopeless team playing meaningless games.

    The Braves won’t lose me as a fan if they approach being this bad next year, but I expect following Braves Journal and watching about 5 innings per week and declining as the year goes on is about the level of interest I’ll have next year unless they are at least competitive. Firing our entire bullpen, adding a top tier starter like David Price and 1 more big bat could at least make us competitive.

    To put things in perspective, I thought Dan Kolb would almost be a star in this bullpen. To be fair, we have only have 2 pitchers on our roster (Kelly and Burawa) with worse ERAs than Dan Kolb’s 5.93 in 2005. Of course our team ERA of 4.58 is pretty amazing.

  35. We’re the worst in the league at damn near everything. To compete you need to be good in at least one thing, right? I mean we’ve seen plenty of Braves teams that weren’t great offensively, but pitched lights out. We’ve also seen a few that could knock the cover off the ball but didn’t have deep rotations.

    It’s hard to see how you can quickly go from bad at everything to competitive again. I guess signing Price and Cespedes in the offseason would help. I can’t dream that big. Not with this ownership.

  36. See, the thing I don’t understand is this:

    A team that had no minor league depth, no players coming up that they could pencil in as big league bats, needed 3 starting pitchers, was paying Dan Uggla real money to suck elsewhere and BJ and CJ real money to suck here, and by the way, just finished below .500, was supposed to give Justin Upton and Jason Heyward a raise to keep the team competitive.

    But a team that now has real, actual pitching prospects at every level, swapped Teheran and Wood for Teheran and Shelby, filled the three rotation holes with young starters who have upside, has at least a few bats in the minors in Riley (picked with the Padres pick) Ruiz, and Mallex Smith, has actual (well, maybe) major leaguers in CF and 3B instead of BJ and CJ, and isn’t buried under bad contracts anymore… that team, under the same ownership, would never sign Heyward and Upton (or rough equivalents) to a free agent deal?

  37. Not never…just maybe not next year. We still have bad money to get out from under. And the pitching is still very very iffy. I think they’ll want to see some signs that all these prospects are more than just potential before they open the FA floodgates and go for it.

    I may be wrong. Kinda hoping they don’t punt 2016, I can’t take this another year.

  38. I don’t think they’ll go all-in in 2016, but I don’t see them standing pat or repeating 2015’s offseason with new versions of Callaspo and Kelly Johnson.

    Despite the tendency toward the irrational lately, The John’s have taken every avenue available to them to maximize organizational value. I don’t see them receiving a protected pick and not cashing it in on an a-list free agent.

    I’d bet on a veteran arm, a left fielder, or a catcher. Possibly 2 of the 3.

  39. If Freddie Freeman does not reach 20 home runs, it will be the first time (except for strike shortened 1981) that the Brave HR leader hit less than 20 since 1976. During that year the leader was the “Toy Cannon” Jimmy Wynn with 17.

  40. I will forever hate the Johns forever for dooming this team to years of bad baseball, with their rash, ill-advised rebuild.

  41. Lol. Just promise you won’t call it a rebuild until we actually get good again. Until then it’s just bad baseball.

  42. @62 No, I don’t think standing pat was ever on the table. If they’re sincere about trying to compete in 2017, some of the pieces needed are going to have to be brought in this off-season. The restocking phase is over, now it’s time to begin filling in the gaps around the (hopefully) blossoming young talent.

  43. I’d be far more sanguine about the rebuild if I weren’t convinced they are going to do it on the cheap. The management will never pay for proper middle of the order hitters and I am unconvinced they can successfully trade for or draft them.

  44. Peanut’s mailbag was depressing.

    I don’t mind the Johnson and Grilli type signings, but I’d like to see a top of the line starter signed. Greinke and Price will be out of our spending limit. I’d like to see them make a run at Samardzija. CWS defense is terrible. Maybe that brings his price down.

    Olney mentioned Weiters as a fit in ATL. Hard to argue he’s not a fit since LF, CF, 2B, and C are the the only areas to improve offensively, but I’d pass. Is Lucroy a buy low candidate after his down year? I’d prefer Ryan Braun if Milwaukee is blowing it up.

  45. I foresee a problem this offseason as the Braves will try to sell off some of their underperforming prospects (Bethancourt, Folty, ManBan) for top dollar and no one will bite.

  46. Lucroy wont be moved IMO. I think we have to make a run at Weiters and the Samardzija idea is a good one. Jordan Zimmerman could be a target also.

    Ryan, I think we put Folty in the pen but the other two just don’t have much value. So I agree.

  47. @68 I totally agree.

    If we waste a top five pick on another soft tossing lefty from the 285 loop that we could have gotten in the third round, my head will explode.

    “We just felt he was under valued and is real signable. We know he missed the last season and a half due to injury, but his ceiling is Tom Glavine.”

    We also should be very active in the FA market this winter. We have a protected pick. While it is looking like we may have that next year too, it is a sure thing. We SHOULD go after David Price or a big corner bat. But we will try to bring back Mike Minor and Aaron Harang. The sales pitch will be, “They are happy to be back here in Atlanta where the game is played the ‘Right Way (TM)’ and being happy will make them better.”

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