Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Appreciating The Braves
Despite the fact that The Atlanta Braves only won One World Series Championship among their 14 Consecutive Division Titles through 2005, I have come to appreciate them for so much.
Their Willingness to Patiently Build a Farm System of Top Talent.
The Confidence to Call Up Young Talent and Give Them An Honest Chance to Compete.
While Teaching that Young Talent all the Tools Needed to be Successful at The Major League Level.
Never being afraid to Trade or Let A Player Walk as a Free Agent, One Year Too Soon.
Catcher Johnnie Estrada & Pitcher Greg Maddux come to mind as good examples.
While replacing those two fine players--Maddux a Sure Fire Hall of Famer--with Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia & Young Pitchers like Kyle Davies and Chuck James--both lefthanders any team in The Majors would love to have in their own houses.
Although, I would have kept Tommy Glavine--one of the most underated Lefthanders of ALL TIME. I have always enjoyed his work.
Braves VP & General Manager John Schuerholz's ability to make some shrewd trades--like stealing Pitcher Tim Hudson from The Oakland Athletics, while giving up nothing. Or, knowing they could not resign Pitcher Kevin Millwood a few years back, trading him to Philadelphia for Estrada. Every expert denounced that move. Estrada was terrific. A Top Catcher and Run Producer. Then, Schuerholz realized Catcher Brian McCann and Saltalamacchia were coming up fast, and dumped Johnnie off, at value, for Oscar Villarreal & Lance Cormier.
Rarely, Overpaying for Top Talent. Many times, keeping their own like Andruw & Chipper Jones or John Smoltz with a contract, JUST LONG ENOUGH, to utilize their BEST ABILITIES--without killing their franchise future with Huge Contracts for Players past their time. You watch, Andruw Jones will not be an Atlanta Brave next season.
The Ability to constantly overhaul their 25 man roster, not just yearly. And, pick up All Star Players after having those players have a bad season--making them whole again. Edgar Renteria a PRIME EXAMPLE. In Boston, he was terrible for The Red Sox, completely out of his league. Yet, in Atlanta--he returned and revitalized his career. The Braves have to get some credit for that.
All these facts are what make the current efforts set forth by Our Washington Nationals promising to me. Our Team has little, neither did the Braves in 1990. Yet, just a few years later, Atlanta became a Franchise to Fear. A Team Disliked by Fans from many other cities.
The Atlanta Braves are winners. Masters of This Game called Baseball. A proficiency that Our Washington Nationals are far from calling "Mission Accomplished". A fact proven once again tonight when The Braves flat out crushed Washington 13-0, completing a three game sweep in Atlanta.
One Day, Our Washington Nationals will be winners, although definitely not this day. Although, it pleases me that Our Team President Stan Kasten first helped put The Atlanta Braves efforts in motion, many years back. Are his ideas fool proof? No. But, I am confident that strides are being made so when everything does comes to fruition, we as Washington Nationals Fans can expect all of the following:
A Farm System of Top Talent.
Top Talent that will get an honest chance to play and compete on The Major League Level.
The Shrewdness to Let Players leave, or trade them, a year too soon--knowing you have better young talent coming on The Farm.
Only Overpaying for Free Agent Talent when it benefits The Team--The Most. Yet, being in prime position to trade for Top Talent being dumped by some other foolish Franchise.
And, constantly overahauling their lineup to remain competitive for years to come.
When Our Team can consistently perform all those expectations--Many More will Appreciate Our Washington Nationals. None more than I.
Because of this proven track record, I Appreciate The Atlanta Braves--knowing better times are ahead in Our Nation's Capital.
Game Notes & Highlights:
Not a Whole Lot to speak of in this game.
Ronnie Belliard had two hits and helped turnover three double plays in the field. Our Number 10 continues to be a good player. A very valuable player--in fact. I am sure he has been noticed by many contending teams.
My Main Man!! Ryan Church, at least over the past two games, seems to be waking from his slumber. Three hits, including two doubles during that time.
Tonight was the very first game started by Micah Bowie that Our Washington Nationals Lost. Hopefully, the drive off his shin by Yunel Escobar in the fourth inning will not set him back. His rough effort was bound to happen, he had done extremely well thus far, surprisingly. If he comes back strong next Monday against The Cubs at RFK, everyone will forget about this one.
Who would want to remember this game, anyway--unless you were an Atlanta Brave.
Tonight's InGame Photo--(AP) Gregory Smith