Hi everyone. I'm sure it's been a telling week for all of us as Braves fans, and it's most certainly disappointing that hope for another crown for Bobby Cox couldn't be made into reality. But at the same time, I feel a little bit relieved. Like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders, in some fashion. The amount of care and emotion we as individual fans invest into our favorite teams is a little bit surprising sometimes, and when it's suddenly time for it to be gone, it does lighten the atmosphere a bit. Like some of you guys, I found my peace before the last out of the NLDS, mixed in with the excitement of Eric Hinske staring down Brian Wilson, and begging for that pullable pitch, but being wisely walked instead. My heart stopped for a moment when Melky Cabrera slapped the ball into play, and just like that, the game was over. I don't think it could've ended in a more fitting fashion - for a team that struggled to bring runners home, a team that dined on way too much LOBster, that corpulent Melky Cabrera would strand two LOBsters at the end of the game.
I'll admit it, I cried when Bobby Cox came out of the dugout, and saluted the fans. Hell the tears began to come out of the well at my admiration of the fans in attendance, who took zero time to groan or boo the Giants for winning in our house, and immediately began cheering and chanting for Bobby. I couldn't help it, either. I cried like it was the last episode of The Golden Girls again, first episode of Dexter Season 5, like the ending of Big Fish, and getting through the last pages of Tuesdays With Morrie. It just couldn't be stopped, and was my natural reaction to the occasions. I have stood at funerals and births with eyes drier than the Mojave desert, but sometimes, some things just hit home harder than a YouTube accident video.
But life goes on, and as I've said, I admittedly feel a little refreshed at the season's end. I'll certainly watch the remaining playoffs, but won't break any engagements like I would for a Braves game to do so. And just because the Braves' season is over doesn't mean Talking Chop will come to a standstill throughout the cool winter months. There will be plenty of news, writing, reviews, and other interesting things to keep all us nerds occupied and entertained in baseball fandom until next April (or March 31st). Personally, I'll likely make one gignatic fan-nerd fanpost about my 2010 season, but most importantly, I'll be holding some small contests on the site for some random prizes, for my own, and everyone else's amusement.
The best part of the off-season is that the column progressively becomes easier to write, especially after the World Series. Less note-worthy occurences happen, and the links tend to get a little light-hearted and fluffy sometimes. But regardless, the show will go on, and I will continue to bring you as much as I can tolerate finding on a weekly basis. Welcome back to another week of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.
Well it's not going to be Bobby Valentine - MLB
Essentially for the second time this year, Bobby V has turned down the Fish. Hard to say what it is about the Marlins, but I'm guess it's one or a combination of the lack of fans, Jeffrey Loria, and the spending restrictions, because I'd have to imagine a team with talent the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Josh Johnson, and Mike Stanton is a pretty solid nucleus of talent that could make managing fairly easy at times.
We want someone with strong leadership - MLB
As opposed to someone with weak leadership? Way to state the obvious there, because I don't think the seven other clubs looking for managers this offseason are looking for weak leaders, either.
"The Accidental Giant" - Miami Herald
Three seasons. That's how long I've been saying to everyone here that when it comes to facing the Atlanta Braves, there's really nobody like Cody Ross. One of those things that can't always be justified with statistics, but when it hurts the most, Cody Ross is typically involved. Back with the Marlins, and now with the Giants, who was recently responsible for three of the 11 Giants runs scored in the entire NLDS, and now people seem to realize that he's not that bad of a player. I mean (crap), not quite sure what his arrangement is now, but if he could be had for a reasonable price, I'd say the Braves should take a shot at him; it's not like he could be any worse than any of our 2010 outfielders not named Heyward, and mostly so he doesn't punish us anymore.
Marlins having difficulty developing talent? - Marlin Maniac
With the recent graduation of Stanton, Morrison and Sanchez, it's safe to assume that the Marlins farm is a tad on the depleted side at the moment. Despite the notion that they might have no impressive prospects on anyone's lists moving into the next two years, from the looking glass in, I think they'll be fine; after all their system is a trade away on the Major league level to get some fresh faces back into the farm.
Nice shirt, K-Rod - NY Daily News
If you haven't been paying attention, K-Rod's facing up to two years in prison for assaulting babysmama's dad, and injuring himself in the process. And then he proceeded to violate a restratining order with over 50 text message pleas back to babysmama. And revealed in his last court hearing, it was revealed that K-Rod beat babysmama herself so badly, she had to be hospitalized. So in other words, K-Rod is officially a piece of garbage, and I have no problem with him getting locked up, but anger management classes might help him get a plea deal, instead of trial. I'd rather him just go to prison, where he'd have to be earning saves in a whole different fashion.
And this is what we call "piling on" - MLB
The hearing from the players association for K-Rod's suspended salary takes place next week, and the Mets don't want to give him the $3.1M owed for 2010, and want to essentially void the rest of his contract ($37M). Personally, I feel that this should be a no-brainer, and that the Mets are certainly not obligated to pay up for K-Rod's stupidity, and if any of the arbiters, judges, and representatives have any sense, should feel the same way, but we all know someone's going to Twelve Angry Men it up, and turn this into a longer debacle than it needs to be.
Wally Backman could instill GRIT if promoted to ML manager - NY Daily News
Basically what this article insinuates is that Jerry Manual managed this club to be, well, (synonym for felines, female genitalia, plural). And that if Wally Backman were the manager, they wouldn't be. They'd be tougher, and GRITTIER. But that's not just all, because Jeff Wilpon is also impressed with Backman's recent success, leading the short-season A NY-Penn Brooklyn Cyclones to the title, instilling some toughness along the way.
Takahashi wants a two-year deal - MetsBlog
After completing a year for $1M, Hisanori Takahashi has stated he wants a two year deal. Not specified is if it's from the Mets, but I have to believe that if he wants any modicum of success in the United States, he might want to consider leaving New York.
The only way the new GM starts off on the right foot is to take care of Oliver Perez - MLB
I'm not really ever going to stop laughing at Oliver Perez jokes, but I'll admit that there is a small sliver inside of me that actually feels bad for the guy. "Pariah" doesn't even do justice anymore to what describe what Oliver Perez represents, because the onslaught of Perez attacks over the last season has pretty much made him out to be the de facto problem of the Mets. Like he's the Batman of problems, and Luis Castillo is his Robin. As if getting rid of Oliver Perez suddenly energizes the Mets organization into a 90-win team next year or something . . . Just remember though, if the Braves didn't give Derek Lowe his gigantic contract, he very likely would have ended up with the Mets, alleviating them the need for overpaying Perez, and denying the baseball blogosphere of the endless joke.
Oliver Perez sent to Chile to assist miner rescue - The Apple
Since the Mets were getting zero return on their investment, they pretty much felt that someone should.
"We told him either he goes down to the minors next year, or down into the mine.", said Wilpon. "He chose the mine."
Sounds about right.
Mets new GM Candidate Aptitude test - Metstradamus
Your right fielder has a concussion in April. You ...
1. Shut him down until the following spring training.
2. Put him on a flight to Denver.
3. Google "concussion".
Bryce Harper headed to the AFL - MLB
Aside from getting owned by our own Julio Teheran, Harper actually did very well in the instructional league, to where the Nationals feel confident about sending him to the AFL. Also mentioned in the article is how he turns 18 on Saturday (today), and is expected to skip rookie-ball all together, and start the 2011 season in A-ball. Not mentioned in the article is if he uses AXE, EDGE, LYNX, BLADE, iMPULSE, or whatever product in order to get his dbag fauxhawk.
Jim Riggleman, entire coaching staff to be retained throughout 2011 - MLB
Some look at 69 wins and see an abysmal season, but for the Nationals who improved by a full ten games, it's progress. I always felt that it's harder to build a good team in professional sports in this day and age due to free agency, and the sheer lack of time to develop cohesion and "gelling," but the Nationals might give it a shot, starting with all their coaches, who will all return intact for 2011.
Using Ryan Howard as justification to re-sign OPS guy - NDN
Basically, without saying that Adam Dunn is a poor man's Ryan Howard, an explanation to why 1B is just a tad overrated if the said 1B is mashing the ball on the other side.
A handful of players at RF "more successful" than Elijah Dukes? - MASN
Sometimes I don't get this sentiment, and I guess it's sort of the same situation, minus the attitude problems in our own LF. But using Elijah Dukes's 2009 stats as a baseline, is it really considered successful that Roger Bernadina, Mike Morse, Justin Maxwell, Willie Harris and Willy Taveras (five players) had a slight combined offensive advantage over Dukes (one player)? Nevermind that defensively, the Hydra's UZR was roughly three runs worse than Dukes? Kind of like us, I'd rather the team just admit that it didn't work, and actually make an effort to get an adequate every day corner outfielder, and then save those 3-4 extra
heads bench spots for good pinch-hitters/runners and utility players.
Jason Bergmann to become free agent - Federal Baseball
In D.C., some call him "Beach Ball," based on his overall inabilities in the Major league level, despite overall fairly good MiLB numbers. Kind of like Jo-Jo Reyes was for the Braves. But all I remember about Beach Ball is this game. Not only did John Smoltz get out-dueled by Beach Ball, if not for an 8th inning homer by Heap, Bergmann was throwing a no-hitter at the time. I'd say good riddance, but much like Jo-Jo, by this point, nobody in Natsland probably cares.
Zombie Wang continues recovery path - MASN
Last week, Chien-Ming Wang threw an inning of scoreless ball. This past week, he's bumped it up to two consecutive scoreless innings, generating four groundballs in the process, which has always been his game. Also mentioned is how he's optimistic about returning to the Nationals for 2011, although it's likely he'll make less than the $2M he had for 2010 to simply get better.
Charlie Manuel has this post-season thing "figured out" - Philly.com
Not to discredit ol' Cholly too much, but I'm sure it's a lot easier to "figure out" the playoffs when you've had Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez and Chooch, and gotten pitching from guys like Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, just like it was "easy" for Bobby Cox to "figure out" the playoffs with Chipper, McGriff, Justice, Andruw, Lopez, Klesko, Sheffield, Smoltz, Maddux, and Glavine. The only thing that Manuel's done in 2010 that I give him credit for is keeping the Phillies afloat and within striking distance all through the middle of the season admist the injuries and the patch-work pitching pulling from the all levels of the minors, until all the regulars got healthy, and dominance resumed.
Old news to us, revelations to the rest - MLB
Unless you've been living under a rock, when it comes to the playoffs, the most dangerous guy in the Phillies lineup isn't Utley, it isn't Howard, it isn't Victorino or Werth. It's Carlos Ruiz.
Cocaine charges against prospect Tyson Gilles dropped - Philly.com
The way the facts are re-written here, it almost makes it sound like a dirty cop tried to plant and accuse Gilles for having a hell of a drug.
Why is this even news? - MLB
Official announcement of umpiring crews for the LCSs? The saddest thing is just how familiar we the fans are getting with umpires these days. It used to be "Oh, Angel Hernandez, the primadonna." "Oh Tim McClelland, the one who never calls a strike." "Oh, Eric Gregg, the fat guy Livan Hernandez paid off with cigars." "Oh, Bruce Froemming, the ancient one." But nowadays, we know who CB Bucknor, Jim Joyce, Bill Hohn, Tom Hallion, Derryl Cousins, Phil Cuzzi, Ted Barrett, etcetera, etcetera are. For guys who deny admittance of "not wanting to get shown up," this seems like a bit excessive glorification of putting names to the faces of the guys who hundreds of Giants and Phillies fans are going to be bitching about throughout the next week.
H2O shirts for sale - Phillies Nation
I reserve my judgment for the design of this shirt, but I'm often very reluctant to consider shirts about individual games, series, and in this case, groups of roster members. Because once the ride is over, all you're really left with is a relic of what once was a sweet flash in the pan. Okay, screw it, it's not like the Philly fan trolling will ever really stop, so yeah, I think the design is lame.