Tag Archive | "Chipper Jones"

You’ve Done It Again Mr. Selig

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You’ve Done It Again Mr. Selig

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Will Emerson

So we have officially been through Bud Selig’s first ever one-game, Wild Card games and I have to say, as something of a baseball purist, I was a bit iffy going in. But here’s the thing, I actually kind of like it. Now sure, the inaugural games did not go off without a hitch, as they say, but slightly more on that to come since I know you’ve probably heard very little about that already. The natural argument against a one game, winner take all, match-up for a right to head to the LDS is that it is just one game. That is to say that many feel that boiling down a 162 season into one do or die situation, to put it eloquently, sucks.

Well there is no arguing against that point, I guess. Does it suck? Well, yeah. A team works hard through 162 games to get a Wild Card birth only to have their season end just like that. The point of the Wild Card games and adding the extra Wild Card team is to put more emphasis on winning the division. Which you have to admit, makes sense, right? Not only that, it adds a layer of advantage to the team with the best record in each league. The wild card team they face will already have had to fight through a draining game and hopefully have burned their ace or at least their bullpens before facing them. Now Chipper Jones, among others, said it stinks that a season could come down to a blown call or miscue or anything of that sort, so it should be at least a best-of-three series. But this is where we could start down a slippery slope.

From there the LDS could become a best-of-seven series and who knows, we could end up back to the early 20th century with a best-of-nine World Series. Here’s the thing, would it be different if the Braves were down one game to none and the bad call came in game two and it ended the season? The bottom line is, win your division and you don’t have to worry about that at all. Now I’m sure Chipper was just mad that his career, more than his season, could be decided by one game or one call. The thing is, to say that call cost the Braves the game is a bit simplistic. They still loaded the bases after that and failed to plate a run against arguably one of the worst closers in the game. So to have this point to argue against the one-game Wild Card does not quite hold water with me. I mean that could happen in a game seven, but would that make a team feel better about being on the wrong end of the call? I highly doubt it. It was a big game and there was a blown call. We’ve seen it before, but you know what, good, mentally tough teams can overcome this during a game and fight back into the game. If you still have your chances after the bad call then don’t blame the call. Do not use this to argue against the one-game playoff. Move on and let it be. What you should really be mad about is the change Bud Selig slipped into the equation while no one was looking.

You see, when baseball went to three divisions and added a playoff round, the higher seed would actually start the playoffs on the road. A 2-3 format, where the higher seed would play games one and two on the road and the next three at home. Which at the time I found ludicrous. I guess they were trying to lay this out like the best-of-seven series’ as if it stopped at five? I’m not really sure, but I was certainly opposed to it. But then, finally, one of my strongly worded letters must have reached the commissioner or something as the 2-3 format was abolished and more reasonable 2-2-1 format was adopted and all was good with the world. But then lo and behold, what do I notice this season? The gosh darned return of the 2-3 format!

This seems even more ridiculous now then it did in the early 90s. Now, as opposed to then, the Wild Card winner gets to come off a win and host, yes HOST, the first two games of the LDS round. Say what? First off, if you subscribe to that sort of thing, you’ve given a Wild Card team (you know a non-division winner) momentum launched right into a home game to start a series. Now if you are, like me, more of the momentum-shmomentum side, there is also the fact that the two teams who earned home field advantage, are only guaranteed one home playoff game. One? That hardly seems fair.

Of course, a good team should be able to win on the road and beat the lesser team regardless, this is true. But as we have seen time and again, anything can happen in a short series in baseball. So, yeah, the higher seed should still be able to win the series, but it think about the home team fans, concessions, street vendors, etc. Even if the home team sweeps the series, they are losing out on one game they should be guaranteed. Playoff tickets, for instance are sold by series, right? So if you’re team clinches home field advantage, you think, “oh cool, I have tickets to the second LDS game!” Cool, except if there’s a sweep and now you miss out on a playoff game. Is this a bit extreme to argue my point? Sure, but I still stand by the fact that the 2-3 format is rubbish.

So Mr. Selig, I’m okay with the Wild Card games and will have your back should people doubt these new playoff games, but I implore you sir, return to the 2-2-1 format in the LDS! Don’t make a step forward and then step back at the same time, Bud! Give the teams and fans that deserve it, another guaranteed playoff game. It’s one game, I understand, but think about the little people in all this and do it for them. Do it for the little people Bud before my strongly worded letters start hitting your desk again.

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Chaos And The Infield Fly Rule On What Might Be Chipper’s Last Night

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Chaos And The Infield Fly Rule On What Might Be Chipper’s Last Night

Posted on 06 October 2012 by Trish Vignola

Chipper Jones allowed himself to be emotional during the final regular season game. The support fans displayed during the final regular season-games of his career was for lack of a better word…overwhelming. Nonetheless, as the Braves prepared to play today’s Wild Card playoff against the Cardinals at Turner Field, Jones did not seem the least bit phased as he could conceivably be playing the final game of his storied career.

“I was riding in with my mom and dad today, and I turned around and told my dad, ‘This is why I know I’m ready to go,’” Jones said to MLB.com. “I’m not even nervous. I don’t know whether that is being prepared, you know, and being confident. But usually, first game of the playoffs, I’m nervous before the workout the day before.”

As Jones prepared for the 93rd postseason game of his career, he focused on experiencing a new challenge that he does not support from a competitive standpoint. This matchup between the Braves and Cards serves as the first one-game Wild Card game. This is the result of Major League Baseball’s decision to add an additional Wild Card team to each league this year. This would have benefited Atlanta last year, when St. Louis leapfrogged the Braves on the regular season’s final night to gain the only available Wild Card entry.

The new arrangement however could produce a sour and abrupt end to Jones’ career. After collecting 94 wins in the regular season, the Braves have been presented with this winner-take-all matchup against the 88-win Cardinals. The winner advances to the National League Division Series against the Nationals, and the loser begins the offseason.

As the bottom of the 8th inning came around, Atlanta found itself down by three and in the middle of a pretty crazy play. The infield fly rule was called. Andrelton Simmons‘s pop-fly to short left field split a disoriented Pete Kozma, who’d called for it, and a loping Matt Holliday. If you watched the play, it looked like an obvious bases-loading hit on Kozma’s mental error. However, the left field umpire called the infield fly rule. Here’s the problem. It was called both very late and outside the infield, leaving Simmons out and the Turner Field crowd in a frenzy.

Players had to dodge trash on their way into their respective dugouts. This is probably not how Chipper envisioned his possible last game. It was a bad call, but unlike most bad calls it stopped the game dead in its tracks. The delay stretched 18 minutes while stadium staff tried to clear the field and quiet the erupting crowd. The Braves put the game under protest.

The television audience was left wondering if they were about to witness, “Disco Night Part 2” as a game-tying at-bat—bottom of the eighth, two outs, two on, the score still 6-3 was left in limbo. The Braves ended the inning with runners on base.

On a night overshadowed by the kind of officiating controversy reserved for NFL replacement referees, I wonder if Chipper is rethinking his position. No one wants to go out on a game like this.

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The Mets Say Goodbye to Larry Wayne….Thank God!

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The Mets Say Goodbye to Larry Wayne….Thank God!

Posted on 09 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

New York Mets fans have been on a first-name basis with Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones since 1995. It was then that Jones hit his first of many big league home runs at Shea Stadium. To make matters worse, it was a ninth inning game winner. Since that day in May, Jones has been readily identified by one name…kinda like Yogi, the Babe or Snooki.

Chipper Jones is one of the only visiting baseball players I can think of whose New York identity rose to the one-word level. A certain familiarity exists with him in these parts. It is one that has bred a degree of contempt for the Braves third baseman in Gotham. Jones has been a formidable foe, something it pains me to write. However, MLB.com says it better. “He has been the primary party pooper in the Mets’ recent history.”

Whether identified as Larry, Mets fans’ preferred way of taunting him, or Chipper, Jones has been synonymous with defeating the Mets since…I don’t know, forever? New York, as well as New York Mets fans, has come to regard Jones as they once regarded Pete Rose. They loathe him, but secretly would have given their right arm for him.

Few opposing players have battered the Mets during their 51 seasons as Jones has during 19 of them. Jones undermined the Mets at every turn. A shot at Shea, a sac-fly at Citi, and that doesn’t even touch what he did to them in Atlanta. Jones and Mike Schmidt have hit 49 home runs each against the Mets. Only Willie Stargell hit more has hit more. Only Stargell and Schmidt have driven in more runs against the Mets than Jones at 158 as well. Although Jones didn’t do much against the Mets last night, he is probably contemplating what lasting damage he can inflict on the Flushing faithful in his final five games against them.

Yes, it’s always been Larry Wayne against the entire borough of Queens.

Before the first pitch was thrown in last night’s game, the Mets saluted the player who so often has personified a wet blanket in Queens.
“After what Chipper did against us that year [1999], he had to be the MVP,” former Mets third baseman Robin Ventura said this summer to MLB.com. “If I was managing then, I probably would have held up four fingers [intentional walk] when he was on deck.” That’s a no brainer for even slowest armchair quarterback.

Ventura and some of his contemporaries recall vividly how Jones single-handedly created a path of destruction through the Mets’ September. The Braves led the Mets by one game with 12 games remaining for both teams. They played three games in Atlanta.

• Sept. 21: Jones hit home runs in the first and eighth innings against Rick Reed and Dennis Cook. The Braves won, 2-1. I had one helluva headache that night.

• Sept. 22: Jones hit a two-run home run in the first inning against Orel Hershiser and walked and scored the Braves’ final run in the eighth. The Braves won, 5-2. I think I threw a high heel at the wall.

• Sept. 23: Jones hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning against Al Leiter. The Braves scored four times in the inning and won, 6-3. I cried in the shower.

Sigh.

“It was the high point of my career,” Jones said earlier this season to MLB.com. You think?! “I had four hits in the series, all home runs. That was as good as it gets for one player. You know you’ve carried your team in a real important series.” If none of the other Braves showed up to the ballpark that series, it wouldn’t have mattered.

“Lots of guys have a big series, or they get real hot and you can’t get them out for two or three days,” Leiter said years afterward. “But Chipper was like a bomb that went off, only at the perfect moment. He just leveled us that series.”

Larry Wayne will not be missed, but he’ll never be forgotten.

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Bourn on the Fourth of July

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Bourn on the Fourth of July

Posted on 06 July 2012 by Dennis Lawson

The final vote frenzy to select the 34th man for each All-Star team was rife with sketchy alliances, bad slogans, and no small amount of angst.  Lost amongst the barrage of hashtags, team emails, and unofficial campaign managers was perhaps the biggest All-Star snub in recent history.  Michael Bourn quietly went about the business of playing baseball, and that is a darn shame.  The relatively amount of fanfare dedicated to Bourn was actually a little underwhelming.  Maybe the talking heads spewing forth their opinions about how unreliable defensive metrics appear to be had an impact on Bourn.  Maybe not.  Regardless, the point that one of the premier leadoff hitters and defensive outfielders in the game failed to make the All-Star team in any form deserves some scrutiny.

Just his slash line of .307/.360/.452/.812 merits him some consideration, but the 57 runs scored, 106 hits, 7 HR, 32 RBI, and 23 stolen bases should garner enough support to get him to KC in a National League All-Star jersey by itself.  If not, then the NL leading 24.0 UZR/150 should put him over the top.  Since this game counts, shouldn’t at least someone be interested in putting one of the most complete players in the league on the team?  Jay Bruce?  Really.  He doesn’t even make the top 25 in the NL among outfielders with his -7.1 UZR/150.  For perspective, that puts him behind the likes of Matt Holliday, Jason Kubel, and Drew Stubbs.

At anything close to his current pace, Bourn has a career year already in his sights.  The fact that his accomplishments will likely not be punctuated with an All-Star selection boggles the mind just a bit.  Let me tell you just how many NL players have produced more WAR this season than Bourn.

4

That’s David Wright, Joey Votto, Carlos Ruiz, and Andrew McCutchen.  34 players on the team, and they could not find room for Michael Bourn.  Did the support Chipper Jones received hurt Bourn’s chances?  Probably.  You can only spend so much time firing off one text vote after another before the battery in your phone demands attention.  Still, it seems like a complete breakdown of the whole system, and Bourn slipped through every crack possible.  The fans and the impressive moral ineptitude of the Giants as an organization screwed the pooch on the vote.  The electorate comprised of baseball’s players and coaches fumbled the ball away into the stands, and Tony La Russa just grabbed names out of a hat that apparently didn’t include the names Cueto, Phillips, or Bourn.  While I completely understand the first 2 missing out, I don’t get the omission of Michael Bourn.

La Russa had to know that Bourn had an ice cube’s chance on a Kansas City sidewalk of getting voted in at the last minute.  He had to know that the sympathy vote would put Chipper ahead of Bourn, and he had to know that Cardinal Nation would endure repetitive stress injuries to get Freese a metric ton of votes.  Can we get a “Commissioner’s Selection” in the 11th hour or something?  Rock, paper, scissors best 2 of 3 to replace Sandoval with someone who has played in more than 50 games.?  Among the land of the ridiculous, Bud Selig reigns supreme.  No greater indictment of his ego-addled brain exists than the current All-Star game selection system, unless you want to consider that an exhibition game counts for something.

Then again, it’s not a break.  It’s work.  Or so Hunter Pence would tell us.

Please, just someone tell me that the next time Bourn deserves a shot that the Braves will come out swinging with a “Bourn on the Fourth of July” slogan.  If not, then the #Barves hashtag should trend on Twitter from here to eternity.

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What’s happening in my league?

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What’s happening in my league?

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Jared Thatcher

I participate in a dynasty fantasy baseball league hosted by Proboards. We have all 30 teams accounted for and the league is in its second year of existence. People always say the hardest thing about a large dynasty league is retaining owners. So far, this has proved to be true in our league, but we have a great commissioner who fills the teams quickly with quality General Managers.

I joined the league in the middle of the 2011 season by taking over the Atlanta Braves. I know what some of you are thinking… great, young, talented team to take over. You couldn’t be farther from the truth. The GM before me had completely wiped out the minor league system (we can keep up to 75 minor leaguers), and he had already traded away Freddie Freeman, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, Dan Uggla, and Jason Heyward. Basically I was left with Derek Lowe and Chipper Jones. He had traded most of the guys to Rockies and Astros for a bunch of their aging stars like Todd Helton and Carlos Lee. My team had been destroyed, raped, and pillaged by the other teams during the prior GMs reign. But I was OK with that. I took over the team as a challenge. I wanted to rebuild and make a competitive team out of scraps.

So far I have managed to trade away some of the more expensive and aging players for draft picks (we do a 6 round amateur draft and 6 round minor league draft) and prospects (I have almost all of the Diamondbacks pitching prospects in my system now). My system is becoming better and better by the day but I am still a long way from winning.

Anyway, in this post I will list the transactions that happened in my league this week. Hopefully, they will help you determine the value of certain players or at least get an idea of where to start if you are trying to trade in your dynasty league.

Braves trade to the Rockies:Carlos Lee

Rockies trade to the Braves

Chad Bettis $0.4
Jose Iglesias $0.4
Juan Rivera
2012 #29 overall pick

Lee is a very valuable player on a fantasy team. He qualifies at OF and 1B and ESPN has him ranked pretty high as a first baseman. He hit for .300 last year and drove in a ton of runs on a terrible team. Bettis is one of the better Rockies pitching prospects (and he hasn’t been arrested yet). Iglesias should spend a lot of time at SS this year for the Red Sox if he can figure out how to hit. Rivera fills a hole in the outfield and will be a nice asset off the bench. The #29 overall pick will help the Braves system get even deeper.
Braves trade to the Dbacks:

Dbacks trade to the Braves

Charles Brewer
Patrick Corbin
Adam Eaton
Wade Miley
2012 2nd round draft pick (#37 overall)

Robinson and Norris are young and have a lot of years under team control so the package coming back to the Braves had to be large. Brewer and Corbin are good pitching prospects in the Dbacks system and Eaton, although small, is a good OF prospect. Miley broke into the Majors last year for a couple starts but isn’t anything too special as of now. The #37 draft pick could be very useful in this years draft for the Braves.

Astros trade to the Twins:
Twins trade to the Astros:
This trade was mostly a salary dump for the Astros because they had 3 starting shortstops.
A’s trade to the Dbacks:

D-backs trade to the A’s:

1st round draft pick

The draft pick was the #6 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The #6 pick could really be worth a lot which is why the A’s had to give up promising prospects Green and Sands. I like this trade and I think it will benefit both owners as long as the A’s make a wise choice in the draft.

A’s trade to the Twins:

Rafael Furcal

Twins trade to the A’s:

Twins 2nd rd pick (pick 5)

The Twins needed a starting shortstop and Furcal is a good, middle of the pack guy. The A’s continue to acquire draft picks and should get a huge haul in the 2012 draft.
Well, that’s what’s happening in my league. What’s happening in yours? Please comment about the trades posted and the trades that have happened in your league! You can follow me on Twitter @Jared_Thatcher

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