This spring has to be an exciting time if you are a Braves fan. From a pitching standpoint, I can't recall being this excited since the Glavine, Smoltz, Avery days. The Braves have a staff loaded with excellent young pitching talent. Julio Teheran looks to be one of the best young arms in baseball. Mike Minor showed flashes of his ability last year. Tommy Hanson is back. Plus you have some excellent young arms in the bullpen with Kimbrel and Venters. As long as everyone stays healthy, the Braves should have excellent arms on the mound almost every game. I do think Fredi needs to be careful this year. I'm not big on blaming managers. But I felt like last year he overworked the bullpen a bit, and that hurt the Braves down the stretch. We need Kimbrel and Venters strong late in the season to close games for us.
The Braves did get a bit of bad news today. It looks like Freddy Freeman will miss at least a week with a knee injury. Hopefully it will turn out to be nothing serious. He certainly performed well last year, and the Braves will need him this year. We also need J-Hey to get back on track, and from all accounts he is doing just that. He has apparently slimmed down some, and it sounds like he and the new hitting coach are getting along well. I fully expect him to rebound from his "sophomore slump".
On a lighter note, I got a kick out of the "Fat Chipper" photo that was circulating last week. These "fat" photos seem to be a rite of spring around baseball. But if Chipper is fat, I don't want to think what that makes me. We should all look so good at nearly 40 years old. I will be interested to see how Chipper plays this year, and how many games he is able to play. It is clear that this could potentially be his last year, and he seems to be aware of that. It's hard to imagine a Braves roster without Chipper. He has been a constant for them. There aren't a lot of players left that play their entire career for the same organization. And that isn't a good thing in my opinion.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Baseball fans, if you're not smiling, you should be. It's that time of year. The time when we hear four of the sweetest words in the English language: Pitchers and catchers report! The long winter months are winding down. The days without baseball, and only hot stove news to keep us going are coming to an end. Pitchers and catchers are making their way to Florida and Arizona to start preparations for the new season. Shortly the position players will be joining them. This is the time of year when hope springs eternal for all baseball fans. Everything begins anew. What happened last season doesn't matter. All that matters is that your team has a new season, and a new chance to win it all. All of the new young players will get a look to see what they can do, and the grizzled old veterans will be back to work just like they always have. So break out of those winter doldrums. Spring training has begun, and we will have baseball to watch again soon!