...and I decide to check out the "Official Site of the Atlanta Braves."
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for supporting the moves the Braves make because they have been successful for so long. But I DO NOT believe the Braves should have let Leo Mazzone go so easily. Then I read this little piece by Mark Bowman in his mailbag column:
"Fans and some journalists have gained the belief that Mazzone is one of the greatest pitching coaches ever. The success has created the credentials to make that argument. But during the years I've spent on this beat, I've never felt that that same attitude exists within the Braves clubhouse.
During the 2003 season, an anonymous survey conducted by a highly respected sports publication asked players to name the best pitching coach in the Majors. Let's just say a heavy majority of the veteran Braves pitchers chose not to list Mazzone. Again at the end of this past season, one of the club's veteran pitchers said he thought it might be best for Mazzone to go elsewhere.
As for departing free agent pitchers over the years, their common statement is that they're going to miss playing for Cox. I've not heard many say the same about Mazzone."
All I have to say is...GIVE ME A BREAK! For years and years we've heard about the wonders of Leo Mazzone. Then he leaves and all of a sudden, he really wasn't all that important? Those are some of the most ridiculous comments I've heard in a long time!
Look, the Braves will move on. Will Leo's departure affect the team? You better believe it will. Can Schuerholz and company get past Mazzone's departure and find a suitable replacement? The GM's track record would lead us to believe he can. But in the short run, things may be a little rocky while the team goes through a transition.
I agree that the Atlanta Braves will ultimately be fine, but there's no reason to knock Leo on his way out. He did a phenomenal job for the Braves. And for all the nameless pitchers who don't give him any respect, there are enough others that attribute ALL their achievements to Mr. Mazzone.