Everybody knows that in 2017, the Atlanta Braves will no longer be in the Atlanta city limits. Rather, they'll be out in Cobb County in their glitzy new ballpark, SunTrust Park. However, if one Georgia lawmaker has an idea that could technically keep the Braves in Atlanta: She wants to annex the location of SunTrust Park into Atlanta. Yes, seriously.
Of course, there's probably a very small chance that this is going to happen, but this Hail Mary of a bill is proof that Atlanta may have been trying a little harder to keep the Braves than it seemed back when this move was announced.
Normally if you have as many guys who are trying to bounce back for an upcoming season as the Braves do, that normally means that A) The team had a pretty bad season the year before (check) and B) The team now has pretty low expectations heading into the next season (check). Indeed, Mark Bowman has picked out 6 candidates for bounce-back seasons. If all 6 of these guys do indeed get their groove back like Stella did in '98, then the Braves might shock some people this season. Shoot, I'll just be happy if B.J. Upton can get his fWAR above 1.0 this season.
Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure that everybody here would be over the moon if Andrelton Simmons was able to take at least a third of the magic that he has in his defensive bag of tricks and sprinkle some of that dust onto his bat so that we can all hoot and holler about not just his exploits at shortstop but also his actions at the plate. Fox Sports South decided to take a look at the burning questions the Braves may have at that position, and Simba's bat was the first and primary question that Cory McCartney came up with.
The biggest ingredient is the line drive rate , which was 16.4 in '14, a drop from 18.5 the year before. If it can look like the 18.8 Simmons posted over the second half of last season, there's hope for a rebound.
Baseball Prospectus is onboard, projecting Simmons to hit .256/.301/.375 -- figures that would be his best in a full MLB season -- with 22 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 55 RBI.
A year ago, that OBP would have put Simmons 19th. It's not a sizable jump or close to the .335 he had in 182 plate appearances as a rookie, but that forecast is progress for a guy whose bat is trying to catch up to his otherworldly glove.
That could be huge given the Braves' needs at the top of the order.
I'm going to cut right to the chase here: The 4 bobblehead nights this year are on May 20th (Javy Lopez), June 9th (David Justice), August 14th (John Smoltz), and September 10th (Julio Teheran). If it seems like there's way more focus on the past than the present, then it's because this season the Braves will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1995 World Series Championship season. Yep, it's been 20 years since the Braves last won the title. Although it's been far too long since the Braves have brought that golden trophy home, watching videos like this one never gets old. Anyways, that particular event will be celebrated on August 8th, so mark your calendar for that date.
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Yesterday, the Padres held a press conference in which they officially announced the capture of James Shields on a 4-year, $75 MM contract. That press conference was the culmination of what has been an extremely active and splashy offseason for San Diego; One that Padres fans are hoping will bring them from the doldrums of baseball irrelevancy and into the limelight of October relevancy. Meanwhile, Grant Brisbee decided to try to figure out who will be in the Padres' shoes by this time in 2016. I'll give you a hint: This team plays in a city where a certain White Bear will be hibernating for the foreseeable future.
In the latest example of adults ruining youth sports for the youth, Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Little League team has been officially stripped of their United States Championship after it turned out that their leaders were bringing in kids from other parts of Chicago to play for their team to form a "superteam" of sorts. Evergreen Park, the team who brought the allegations to the forefront, got beat by JRW 43-2. That same Evergreen Park may also have to deal with a cheating scandal of their own for doing the exact same thing that they accused JRW of doing. Again, big props to the all of the adults involved who have ruined this amazing moment for the kids that they're allegedly looking out for. Y'all are the real MVP!