Après 5 1/2, Le Déluge (and the metaphorical déluge began earlier)

I think it’s fair to say that in 1966 Hank Aaron was everyone’s favorite Brave. So the way you differentiated yourself from your friends is by specifying who your second favorite Brave was. I was torn between Felipe Alou and Rico Carty. Eventually, Carty became my second favorite Brave, but not in 1966. In 1966, I wanted to be Felipe Alou. (No one thought they had any chance to be Hank Aaron.)

Sports biographies are generally abominable. Indeed, they are so routinely abominable that when Ball Four or The Bullpen Gospels rise to the level of readable it is noteworthy. I’m not going to claim that Felipe Alou’s magnum opus, My Life and Baseball, published in 1967, was the best sports biography ever written, but it was the best I ever bought, at least until Instant Replay was published the next year. I kid, of course. My willingness to fork over hard-earned allowance money to buy Felipe Alou’s ruminations on a poor childhood in the Dominican Republic and his devout Christianity shows the degree to which a ten year old can be in the thrall of another human.

By 1966, Felipe Alou, 31 (he would play until he was 39) mostly played first base and led off for the Braves. He led the league in at-bats, hits, total bases and runs scored. On August 31st the Braves were in Busch taking on Bob Gibson. He only lasted 3 2/3. Alou singled and tripled off Gibson, and went 4 for 5 on the night, scoring two, driving in 1, raising his OPS to 0.889. Eddie Mathews hit two doubles, Joe Torre, Rico Carty and Mack Jones homered, and the Hammer drove in his 103rd run with a sacrifice fly. The Braves won 8-5 (coincidentally, tonight’s score, but reversed) and ended August with a 63-68 record.

Alou was one of three future managers on the 1966 team, best known for his long tenure with the Expos. The others were Torre and Mathews. Judging managers is so path-dependent, so tied up with the happenstance of pennants, that I am incapable of saying Alou was a worse manager than Torre. (Even Mathews’ brief tenure in Atlanta had its moments.)

There were years (and they were as recent as last year) when three runs by the opposition in the top of the first was the harbinger of evening watching whatever was on TCM (and tonight is The Big Sleep, which I kept running while silently watching the game on the computer.) But in 2018, the bottom of the first can find an equalizer, in this case hits by Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis and a home run from Johan Camargo. Refreshing, ain’t it?

But it was not to last.  Newk followed up a bad first inning with a shaky second inning and solo gopherball third inning and a two-run gopherball fourth inning. Apparently you have to pitch over 90 pitches whether you are effective or not, so Snit let Newk finish out the fourth. A potential rally in the bottom of the fourth fizzled when Adam Duvall‘s imitation of Brad Komminsk continued.

Removing Newk didn’t help. Luke Jackson ceded two more in the fifth. By this point, Bogart and Bacall have solved the murder of Sean Regan (and lied to the police about it) so I was able to give the game my full attention on the big screen.

At this point we got a not Mike Hargrove rain delay. I suspect most of you gave up. I know I would have given up had this not been my obligation as one of the best-paid recappers on this site. The Rays had already gone to bed, allowing Sam Freeman to retire 6 straight with 5 Ks. And then a rally began: four singles brought home another two runs and brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, but no more.

Needing three in the bottom of the ninth, we got none. Game ended at 12:30, and I have a 10:20 tee time tomorrow. G’night all.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

43 thoughts on “Après 5 1/2, Le Déluge (and the metaphorical déluge began earlier)”

  1. Excellent recap but please, I mean PLEASE, do not doom Duvall to being Brad Komminsk. I think he’s already had more success in the league than that.

  2. on Felipe Alou’s managing,

    Somebody smart like JC published a study of coaches and managers. Basically the conclusion was that they peaked between 46 and 56. This correlated across professional sports and college football and basketball. The author of the study specifically focused in on Felipe Alou. Felipe was relatively old (can’t remember the age, but maybe around 56) when he first got an ML managing gig and continued until about 69. His conclusion was that IF Felipe had started at 46 and gotten the usual curve of a career, he might have been one of the best in history.

  3. Last night’s results were less than good. In addition to the Braves loss, the Phils mounted a comeback win against the Nats. So it’s back to 3.5 games. And the Dynamo couldn’t even pull a draw out in Harrison, giving RBNY the full three points, 1-0. The early action for this week pushes the Red Bulls a point ahead of United in the Supporter’s Shield race, though AU has a game in hand to make it up. This is the first time since the first couple of weeks of the season that Atlanta United has not stood atop the MLS standings.

    United is still in the lead – this time over the other New York side, NYFC – for the open 2019 CONCACAF Champions League slot.

  4. I always enjoyed the way Marshall Mann would announce Alou’s name, stretching out the syllables and rounding out the final vowels: Feh-lee-pay Ah-loo.

  5. Thanks, JonathanF. Alou was probably my second favorite Brave of that team as well, but no one was more interesting than Rico Carty. See https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/407354b9.

    @3–it’s interesting to compare Alou to his younger contemporaries Torre, Cox, and LaRussa. Each of those HOF managers got his first big league managerial gig while still in his thirties. Alou was 20 years older before he got his shot.

    And to add the point about getting better with age, I’m pretty sure that Torre had a losing record overall before he was hired by the Yankees in his mid 50’s. (don’t have time to look it up)

  6. New York Mets, 5 years, 286-420 (.405)
    Atlanta Braves , 3 years 257-229 (.529)
    St. Louis Cardinals, 6 years, 351-354 (.498)
    New York Yankees, 12 years, 1173-767 (.605)
    Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 years, 259-227 (.533)

    6 Pennants and 4 World Series Titles, all with the Yankees.

    894-1003 in his career before joining NYY in 1996, but the majority of those losses came in his first gig as a manager, with generally terrible Mets clubs.

  7. Following from Bradford Doolittle on ESPN in a regrading the trade deadline article.

    “Now, with rosters set to expand on Sept. 1, the Atlanta cause will be aided by a slew of live young arms. If you think the Braves are going to fade, you haven’t been paying attention.”

    Even national people see what is about to happen Saturday.

  8. Thanks all. And don’t forget that Alou’s best year (recordwise) managing was the strike year. That might’ve been his WS ring. And I agree, tfloyd, Carty was an amazing player. But I’m trying to stay true to my 1966 feelings.

    @1: I was originally going to use Joey Bats, not Komminsk, but Joey got a critical RBI last night. I only invoke Komminsk when I’m really annoyed.

  9. That’s likely because of his real estate situation which was revealed here a couple of years ago.

    But he’s worth every penny.

  10. Freddie…pull a few.

    Put aside this damaging obsession aiming everything in the direction of short stop. Palpably it’s not working and making you look foolish.

    Your best power, for which you were always feared, was the arc between center and the right field line.

    Surely this is now obvious?

  11. It was Felipe Alou who taught Pedro Martinez to watch where batters took their warmup swings prior to entering the box. Unconsciously, Alou said, they are telling you where they want the ball. Pedro adjusted accordingly.

  12. Seems like all the best pitchers know what each hitter wants and how to use that to get them out.

  13. Of course, in today’s game, every pitcher has this information being fed to them (probably).

  14. Wow. That is heart wrenching. All of the other examples of near-misses in there are tough as well.

  15. Yeah, but he did earn a $300,000 check from the Samsung Lions. It took an interesting set of circumstances to prevent him from a major league debut. I’m just glad to know he made a little money along the way for being such a gifted, talented athlete even if it didn’t result in a big league career.

  16. I thought TB was trouble considering they’ve been hot and they’re a deceptively good team. I’m actually pretty good with a split.

  17. It appears we are sending zero pitchers to the Arizona Fall League. Didder, Davidson, Pache and Izzy Wilson.

  18. There is a tremendous dearth of bats in pretty much the entire system, so I’m glad they’ve got guys getting extra work in. I’m a little surprised some of the relief prospects and Gohara aren’t going.

  19. It was really depressing for a while; Folty wasn’t getting any breaks. But he settled down. And Freddie finally came through with a couple of big hits. More wasted opportunities earlier. Acuna can’t be stopped.

    Need to at least get this run in. Markakis can’t do it. Has to be Zuk. And he does it!

    Very disappointed in Duvall. He has hit Montgomery well. Someone’s got to fix that boy.

  20. Why does it always seem to take us twice the hits to get the same number of runs as the opposition?

  21. Damn. LaStella’s first Hr of the year. Why can’t he be our LH PH?

    It is not Folty’s day. Hope he can finish this inning and the bullpen can pick it up.

  22. Hope one of those hard hit balls drops for Duvall or Duda. Maybe we woulda been better off with Heyward out there.

  23. You would have to think that Duvall realistically only has another 10 PAs or so before he starts getting a little buried on the roster.

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