But it’s a long, long while from [April] to December
And the days grow short when you reach September
And the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And I haven’t got time for the waiting gameMaxwell Anderson, slightly modified
When Maxwell Anderson (along with music by Kurt Weil) wrote this lyric he wasnâ€™t thinking of baseball. He wasnâ€™t much of a fan. If he had been, heâ€™d have messed with the scansion to change â€œMayâ€ to â€œApril.â€ In any case, here we are, entering September 3 games back.
Does history tell us anything? Not much. In their 57 years in Atlanta, theyâ€™ve only trailed by 5 or less coming into September three times. (Note, theyâ€™ve been in first on September 1 and have failed to seal the deal only once: 2010, and even then they bagged a wild card.) Those three:
1969: The Braves were in 4th place in the NL West, but were only two games out of first. A 20-7 September had them 3 games in the lead in the end. That was a great stretch run. Hank Aaron had an 8 WAR season. Phil Niekro had a 6 WAR season. Nobody else was over 4. The playoffs came to Atlanta, and it would be 13 years until they returned.
1983: 1.5 behind the Dodgers as they entered September. They were 6.5 up on August 16th, but they had coughed it up by September. An indifferent 12-17 September only cost them another 1.5 games in the standings, to 3 back by the end of the season, as the Dodgers staggered home and lost to the Phillies in the playoffs.
1993: Another great year. Trailing the Giants by 3.5 going into September, despite an outstanding 82-50 record, they put together a 22-8 stretch run and they needed every one of them, beating the Giants by one game.
So itâ€™s been 29 years since there was a stretch run in which we were the chasers.Â 11 Braves werenâ€™t born yet. Is there a stretch run to be had?Â Sure!Â Why not? But as Anderson says: “These precious days I’ll spend with you.”
Spencer Strider was (to paraphrase tfloyd) really good. Austin Riley has apparently recovered from the back troubles caused by sleeping on piles of money (under one theory) or recovered his stroke (under everyone else’s theory). Harris hit a homer and Dansby knocked one in with a single.
The critical moment came in the 8th. Strider gave up only his second hit, but an Olson error brought the tying run to the plate with one out. Strider then struck out the next two hitters to get the Atlanta record with 16 strikouts. Chip pointed out that the franchise record is Warren Spahn’s 18 strikeout performance. It should be pointed out that that performance came in a game in which Spahn pitched 15 innings. Strider worked 8. His 16 strikeouts through 8 have been bested only 18 times in MLB history.
Kenley Jansen worked an uneventful ninth. it’s unfortunate that that is an eventful statement at the moment.
It was one of those games broadcast from the Chop House. The nicest part of these games is that Chip has very, very little to do. McCann for the duration and visits from Snit, Jackson Stephens, Luke Jackson and Peter Moylan; if they could do that every night and cut Chip down to a couple of sentences an inning it would be a big improvement. And Frenchy is much better when he’s goofy, which he was for the whole game. The only thing better would be getting rid of Chip altogether and having a regular, traditional broadcast with someone competent replacing Chip.
Thank you, Jonathan. Precious days indeed.
JC’d from the game thread…
@AAR… Who does Spencer most remind you of? … Me and my buddy were asking the same question while watching tonight. I don’t think there’s a one-for-one comp. He’s a young Smoltz I guess, but he throws 5 to 7 mph harder. I’ve never seen a 2-pitch guy with closer stuff go 8 easy innings. He hit triple digits in the 6th. I think he could’ve easily pitched the 9th if needed. No idea what’s gonna happen down the road, so just enjoying it for now. It’s crazy to see the ball come out so hard from such a relatively small dude. It must look like it’s rising.
I don’t get the hate for Chip. Do you want Tony Schiavone promoted from AAA?
He does a good job telling the story of the game. Is he Vin Scully? No but you probably have an issue with him too telling random stories during a baseball game. If you were to pick the announcer of your dreams from those alive, please give me a better play by play man.
It’s banal to do Chipwatch. He’s better than his dad and I’d you grew up listening to Skip you know that’s the truth because he was drunk by the 6th inning.
I’ve got to say that I have problems with Chip and I’m not a fan. However, he is loads better than some announcers I’ve heard at ESPN, Fox Sports, and for a few others teams. I don’t know if that is a statement as much about Chip as it is about the sorry state of network and radio broadcasting.
@3: If you really like him, please skip Chipwatch. It’s always got its own header so it’s easy to skip over. If you insist on reading it, though, remember that every time someone complains about anything I write, I immediately turn over 6 times my salary for the post to the complainer. Just let me know where to send the check.
I have never heard Tony Schiavone. He may well be worse. Can I use my time machine and make a better 2009 offer to Boog Sciambi? My current favorite play-by-play announcer at the moment is Gary Cohen of the Mets, (Sciambi is not far behind, though his national broadcasts are cramped by the weakness of his partners) but among those I listen to more than a couple of times a year, I like Mike Krukow as well, though I haven’t heard him much since his health difficulties.
I loved Vin Scully, though I thought his insistence on a one-man booth, charming as it was, was not well suited to either modern analysis or to the back-and-forth argument that can be created by two talented broadcasters.
Finally, there were plenty of games where the fans were better served by Skip drunk than by the action on the field. Drunk or sober, Skip was much more entertaining than Chip will ever be.
I’d rather listen to Hawk and Wimpy over Vin Scully. He bored me to tears. Different strokes for different folks. As for Chip, I think he’s got plenty of stuff that annoys me, but he’s our guy so I guess it usually doesn’t bother me. My main complaint is that he spent his whole life around the game, but he didn’t play it, and he doesn’t know it. Sometimes that really shows. Our radio booth is great though so there’s always that to fall back on.
Tony Schiavone only if he gets Bobby “the Brain” Heenan or AA Arn Anderson in the booth with him.
Is Chip annoying and a semi idiot? Of course, but he is our idiot. I agree with td, he is much better than most other local broadcasting teams, including Fox and Espn. Frenchy helps diffuse some of Chip’s anecdotal garbage and I really liked Mac in the booth tonight. They should have him whenever he wants to be there.
Oh, and Strider…wow. He a Wright both have shown ace like stuff this year and between those two, Fried and hopefully Soroka we have a lock down staff for a long time.
I really like our radio guys. It’s the main way I follow Braves baseball. Also the Mets have great radio guys too, lucky team.
I’m really looking forward to this months baseball. It may even take 104 wins like ’93, but this team can do it.
I think the Mets have the best booth by far in MLB and it’s great that they are really good this year. I have several die-hard Mets friends and they are my absolute favorite fan base to talk baseball with. All teams have d-bag fans, us included. To me you can’t really beat sitting with rival fans and watching a game – especially when you know that they’ve seen just as much heartache and joy as you have over the years. Begrudging respect is what makes rivalries great.
Agree with krussel and others, the Mets have a fantastic booth. They are an absolute joy to listen to.
I find Chip close to unbearable if only because he is using the same sentences over and over and over again. I love “Chip Watch”.
Just watched the condensed game. Must have been so much fun to be there in person, krussell, good for you.
Fried, Wright, Strider, Morton – we will be tough to beat in any playoff series.
Yes, the Mets have the best booth. By far.
Chip is an absolute moron. One gets dumber just by listening to him.
I’ve got a blasphemous comp for you:
Spencer Strider’s rookie year and Jacob DeGrom’s rookie year. Both came up relatively out of nowhere and immediately baffled hitters with an upper-90s fastball that played above its velocity, as hitters simply swung through it.
DeGrom was a four-pitch pitcher when he came up, with a curveball and changeup he threw only slightly less than the slider; at this point, he’s all but junked the curve, and this year he has thrown his changeup about 5% of the time, roughly the same as Strider.
The DeGrom of 2022, of course, is the best pitcher in baseball; I’m not comparing Spencer to him. I’m comparing Spencer to the wild-haired power pitcher who was unheralded as a prospect then came up and began to overshadow the much-more ballyhooed Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard. (A bit like how Carlos Zambrano overshadowed Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.)
2014 DeGrom: 22 GS, 140.1 IP, 9-6, 9.24 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 2.69 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 3.6 WAR
2022 Strider: 28 G (17 GS), 114.2 IP, 9-4, 13.66 K/9, 2.98 BB/9, 2.67 ERA, 1.98 FIP, 4.2 WAR
(In 2022, Jacob DeGrom’s K/9 is 13.62 and his FB velo is 99.3, a tick better than Spencer’s 98.2; he also has a BB/9 of 0.74, a FIP of 1.42, and 1.6 WAR through just six starts. He’s unreal.)
The Mets booth is great simply due to the fact that (quoting a classic Seinfeld episode) “I’m Keith Hernandez.”
He’s Nolan Ryan with better control
@9 I don’t have anything against Mets fans, but the national media’s fascination with all things New York irritates me, perhaps more than it should. One of the reasons I stopped reading FiveThirtyEight was its constant focus on the Mets over the last few years (e.g., an article last year on Marcus Stroman’s durag), even though the Braves have won the last four division titles. Even if it’s just a population issue, Los Angeles is a bigger city than New York, and the Dodgers have been the best team in baseball for quite a while, but both New York teams get more attention than the Dodgers. At least ESPN doesn’t show Yankees-Red Sox every Sunday night any more.
The only bad experience I’ve had with another team’s fanbase was when I saw a game in Old Comiskey in the 1970s. A fan a few rows in front of us collapsed, and while he was being attended to, people around us started yelling at the paramedics to get down and stop blocking their view.
Tonight will be a great indication of degree of success the Braves hitters will have against the Mets and Dodgers staffs.
A Miami announcer was asked last week to evaluate the playoff teams. He placed the Braves third behind the Dodgers and Mets. He felt the Braves starting pitching after Fried was suspect, especially Morton. And the Braves hitters could be pitched to by GOOD pitchers. All hitters can be pitched to by GOOD pitchers. Tonight will tell a tale. Marlins going with a bad dude. Braves missed him last time.
The only good thing I can say about Chip is he finally was told to stop the moronic homage to his dad with the “a fan from fill in the blank caught a foul”…my tv wall has divets from my throwing things at him! And Frenchy is a terrible parrot. Where has Glav been? He’s awesome!
In that it validates and allows me to share the specific experience of the irrational—yet nonetheless overwhelming—irritation I experience whenever I spend my evening with the man, Chipwatch is one of my favorite recurring features of this blog. Not to mention the fact that it (like everything here) is so consistently well-written.
Echoing the sentiment re: the Mets’ TV booth. They root for their team, but they’re laid back about it, and just seem a little more even-keeled in general. To each their own, for sure, but they’re just more my speed in their aesthetic. (And fwiw, so I’m not hating on everything our team does, I feel like Jim Powell achieves a version of this on the radio that I like a lot.)
Agree with treating Alcantara as nice playoffs practice test. He’s made us look silly in the past. I feel like we’ve been kind of lucky with the schedule and have missed his turn in the rotation in a few series the past two years.
Our offense scares me, too many guys gone cold at the same time.
Chip makes everyone worse around him. Jonathan doesn’t.
End of discussion.
How on earth could anyone say Braves SP is suspect after Fried unless they’re just not watching.
Strider just broke the Braves all-time record for Ks in one game and Wright is carrying a 2.85 ERA in 25 games started. Put bluntly, he dumb.
Los Angeles is not bigger than New York.
When Chip was paired with Steve Stone on the Cubs’ broadcasts, he basically called the game and let Stone do the analysis with Chip generally agreeing with Stone’s takes on the game. (This was before Stone became a boring shill for the White Sox who doesn’t know when to be quiet.) They were entertaining and actually criticized the Cubs when it was warranted. I think, if Chip had a competent analysist next to him in the booth (Glavine is closest; the rest are empty chairs), he could limit his role to play-by-play. tone it down a bit, and the fact that he seems to be genuinely a nice person would come through.
Disagree, wholeheartedly. Joe goes to radio, he stopped being a curmudgeon because Ingram is a master director and steers Joe to his strengths. Chip steers his broadcasting partners toward the complaint factory and Brian Jordan, Joe Simpson, and yes, even Tom Glavine, bite EVERY TIME. Francoeur doesn’t. Moylan doesn’t.
If Bally wants to assemble an all star squad, Ben needs to replace Chip and the rest will fall into place.
I think the main difference between radio guys and TV guys is that radio guys have to be good. Radio guys draw a picture, TV guys talk over them.
That’s a good point about radio. For me the inverse is also important. I’m watching the game, I don’t need that much play by play narrative. I’d rather hear them talk about funny/random stuff. These days I mostly just watch with the sound off anyways so I guess maybe that’s why Chip barely bothers me, lol.
Rusty, that last sentence is beautiful.
I really like the Braves’ radio team. However, I have been disappointed in some of their discussions surrounding simple metrics such as OPS and WAR. At times they have seemed to discount anything beyond batting average and ERA. That is not often, so they still get high marks.
I love Jim Powell and I have a lot of respect for the Mets booth. Bledsoe, who used to post a lot more here, had an extraordinarily eloquent takedown of the simpering homers in the Nats booth.
(I highly recommend his 2019 e-book on the crappiness of those Nationals. The Nats’ unbelievably improbable World Series victory that year sort of stole some of his thunder, but it was extremely entertainingly written.)
The fact is, there are good booths and bad booths. I haven’t taken in enough of the others to know whether Chip is truly below average, but he’s definitely unlistenable for me. On the positive side, he has a smooth radio voice, and he’s generally genial and positive, without much of the sanctimony that I find so hard to stomach from national guys like Tim McCarver, John Smoltz, or Joe Buck.
On the negative side, he is so banal that in my opinion, his descriptions literally add nothing of interest or value; moreover, obviously, he is so famous for his inability to accurately describe the game on the field that he lost his chance in the national spotlight. As the kids would say, he has one job. And I’d rather just listen to the radio guys.
Apologies, folks. I thought my Chipwatch last night was pretty mild… Indeed, I had no problems with anything he said last night. But when Trey Bliss answered me, I felt I had to answer. I mean, it’s the Internet, amirite?
Really, the Chip thing has been beaten to death. The only real purpose of Chipwatch is to uncover new idiocies. Sometimes, he just doesn’t give me new material… because he doesn’t say much.
Anyway, on a day Spencer Strider strikes out 16 guys in 8 innings, focusing on who is and isn’t a good broadcaster and why is overblown. I think our positions are all pretty well stated by now… except Trey’s who has no idea what he’s talking about.
So, to change the subject… How ’bout dem Braves?
Riley is starting to look better up there lately (Aug 1st notwithstanding). Michael Harris continues to be our playoff-push MVP. Dansby is striking out a lot but he’s been coming through in big spots. The rest of the lineup has been trash. Don’t need every single one of them hot at the same time, like most of June/July, but we do need some more consistent contributions. I want to take Matt Olson aside and tell him he doesn’t have to hit 480ft bombs every game, just give him a hug and tell him it’ll all be ok.
I love Chipwatch, though I very rarely listen to Chip. I will usually have the radio on, even if it’s out of sync w/ the MLB.tv broadcast. I just prefer radio & I could care less about anything a TV announcer will ever say. They can’t annoy me because I just don’t care.
And I don’t pipe on in Chip too much due to some well-noted personal history.
NYC is bigger than LA, in both city population & metro-area population… by a lot.
“…pipe on in..”?
As Willy Wonka might say, “Wait a minute! Strike that– reverse it.”
@23, @33, you’re both right, and thanks for the correction. I’m sure I read several years ago that LA (maybe the metro area) had passed NYC, but I certainly can’t find anything online to back it up. I wonder how many other things I “know” are false.
You know what I didn’t know? I didn’t know that Dionne Farris (who sang “I Know”) did an album of Dionne Warwick cover songs in 2014, called DionneDionne!
Great job as always, JonathanF. I enjoy Chipwatch, but as you might imagine my soft spot will always be discussion of Braves history. It’s striking there have been only three seasons in ATL history in which our guys were in a pennant race but trailing in September 1. You’d think that of the 19 division winners in the last 31 years, a few more would have had to come from behind in the last month. It’s’ remarkable that they largely led the pack down the stretch. That can spoil a fan base.
Chipwatch is good because it’s JonathanF’s personality coming out, not necessarily because it has anything to do with Chip. We can all relate to slowly being driven insane by someone or something.
Also, in the year 2022, there absolutely is at least one important person somewhere in the Braves organization who’s aware there’s a running segment scrutinizing Chip on the longest-running Braves fansite there is. That is fun and comforting to think about. Hello, Braves organization person!
The only two things I’ll say about Chip himself: I can’t believe some of you will defend his home run calls. Cringey dad. But on rare occasion, he surprises me. His tribute to Nick Markakis during the championship parade was legitimately good. I wish he would lose his tryhard energy and just be himself.
Playoff experience is why the Marlins announcer had concerns. And can Morton be counted on. Who is the fifth starter?
The playoffs are a different scene. Some excel, some lay an egg.
Can the Braves staff match the Mets? Or even the Dodgers? No, he is not watching, as much as he watches the Marlins.
I guess he will be watching the next three days. Hell Morton could win 1-0.
We don’t need a fifth starter in the playoffs unless we’re up 3-0 or something. Experience is overrated. Give me talent over experience any day. Plus it’s not like our staff lacks playoff appearances.
Strider is our #1, but will they slot him into that role? Not likely? I do have some nightmares of losing a series because we throw Morton twice and Strider only once, hopefully AA will overrule any old-school tenure-based lineups.
I know it’s worrisome to have to beat Scherzer and deGrom at least once, and if I’m a Mets fan I definitely like their short-series odds. But we, of all fan-bases, know first hand that the team with the best starting pitching doesn’t always win in the playoffs.
@40: We’re probably going to have to beat the Padres or Phillies–my guess is the latter–before we get a crack at the Mets or Dodgers.
Damn, my wife is gone for the evening and I made some good food and drink only to discover I can only watch this game on AppleTV+ which I don’t have!
I managed to find the game. Worst announcers ever. And there’s a decent chance we’ll get shut out. I may find something better to do.
Tonight is your chance to watch Ozuna get a start and dazzle in LF. Braves sneaking him in on the down low with maybe 200 people watching the Apple+ feed.
@28 Thank you sir.
Have I had an ocular stroke, or is the picture quality horrible?
My picture seems fine. They have some decent graphics too – stuff like showing reach-base probabilities that change with the count (btw, ours are like 18% at 0-0 b/c Alcantara is unhittable basically).
But the commentary from the booth is tragically bad.
Yeah, @47, I haven’t watched a game on Apple TV before; that little real-time probability-thing is fascinating. In that last at-bat, Swanson’s Hit Probability went from 26% at 0-0, to 8% at 1-1, and then somehow jumped back up to 25% at 1-2. And then, as if on cue, he gets a hit. I wonder how much of it is weighted toward the individual vs. the situation, and vs. the stats of that particular pitcher in that situation etc.
EDIT: And d’Arnaud started that at-bat with a 32% hit probability. Which seemed…. a little optimistic, given Alcantara? And then, on cue again: home run.
TDA had a 10% RBI chance there 😉 I’ll take it.
Whoa! Vaughn Grissom took those probabilities and deposited them into the LF stands. 4 runs against this guy is freaking awesome.
That is all.
My gosh this team is fun.
The Most Excellent Mr. Michael Harris, II.
I know this is not particularly interesting information, but I have Riley, Fried, Wright, Strider, Harris and Grissom in my fantasy league and man o man I am winning
Pretty coincidental that we were talking about bad/good announcing and we immediately get treated to this Apple TV+ stuff.
We all had three 2-run jacks off of Alcantara, knocking him out with no outs in the 6th, right? Baseball.
If only Riley wasn’t pressing so hard to live up to the fat contract imagine how much he could do. Or was it being complacent?
It was obvious Sandy was about to have a Dodger moment when Ozuna had two hits. Regardless a great win. I was especially happy for those whom made the major contributions. Especially Grissom. I said we should wait until 162 to make haunting statements, but excuse me, here goes. Olsen is not a ball player. He hits doubles, homers and walks a bit. He is below average in every other aspect of baseball. Two thirds the player Freeman is. But many say because he is younger the Braves will have him longer. Average longer does not beat very good shorter. But I should have waited untill 162 and the playoffs.
Let’s take two more while you are at it.
By the way Roger Waters was exceptional.
Gosh Ronald’s knee just looked all sorts of not right on that double. You can see how much pain he’s in.
Why is Iglesias pitching in an 8-1 game?
Way to kill my good vibes, Snit.
@61- Guessing it’s because he hadn’t pitched since last Saturday.
If facing Alcantara was a test, I would say we passed with flying colors. Morton also looked ready for the playoffs.
My limited knowledge of joint/ligament injuries makes me guess that Ronald is dealing with a lot of pain from scar tissue. The ACL is sound. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has an arthroscopic procedure as soon as the season is over to clean things up. But I think they need to be ease up on things in September. Like tonight. He was playing in an 8-1 game. Why? This team is rockin’ and rollin’ offensively without him most nights. I think you really need to consider only giving him enough playing time in September to keep his swing and timing fresh.