A New ERA in Atlanta

13 Oct

As a long time supporter of the Atlanta Braves well before Bobby Cox’s arrival, after watching all the success he brought to the Braves from 1991 – 2010, the official end of the Cox era is tough. Life brings us change and sometimes change is hard to swallow but is a part of life. I will personally miss Bobby Cox and him leaning on the dug out rale, coming out to make a pitching change or coming out to argue a call and his responses to press conferences. Bobby was just CLASS and changed baseball in the city of Atlanta.

Just moments ago, Fredi Gonzalez was named the new manager of the Atlanta Braves. When Gonzalez was asked what his plan was he responded: “Our goal is simple: keep putting flags on that facade…. No one can replace this gentleman [Cox].” Gonzalez was the 3rd base coach in Atlanta from 2003-2006 before taking the manager job at Florida.

The official end of the Bobby Cox ERA has arrived and the beginning of a NEW ERA in Atlanta has begun. Best of luck and I wish you well – Bobby Cox.

Looking Like 1982 Braves

28 Aug

If you have followed the Atlanta Braves as long as I have (1970) and specifically referring to the 1982 Braves during the America’s Team Era with WTBS you are wandering if these 2010 Braves are trying to duplicate. After winning their first 13 games in a row in dramatic fashion. The Braves then lost five straight after their record start and by the end of May they were 27 – 20 and struggling. However, the Braves warmed up again, and they won 12 of their first 15 games in the month of June to jump to 16 games above the 0.500 mark at 39 wins and 23 losses. On the two days right before the All-Star Game, the Braves were still on the top of the Western Division by two-games in the standings.

During the second half of the season, Atlanta extended their lead to 9 games. This lead of nine games in the standings was the largest lead that the Braves had ever had since they moved to Atlanta for the 1966 season. This big lead in the Western Division did not last for long. During that long stretch of 21 games against just the Dodgers, the Giants, the Padres, and the Montreal Expos, the Braves seemed to be moving in slow motion both on the pitcher’s mound and in the batting boxes as they slumped badly and lost 19 out of 21 games – including an 11-game losing steak and four-game losing streaks twice.

On August 18, the Braves lost their third game in a row to the Expos, completing another four-game losing streak, and their won-loss record had fallen to just 63 – 56. In so doing, they had fallen into second place in the Western Division, and four games behind the Dodgers, who had moved into first place by winning 16 out of 20 games. The Braves seemed to be ready to “turn turtle” as a team and lose the Western Division for the 13th year in a row, and hence out of the post-season games once again. The Braves had not won a playoff series since they won the World Series in 1957, and they had played in precious few playoff games since then. (Seven vs. the New York Yankees in 1958, two vs. the Dodgers in 1959, and three vs. the New York Mets in 1969 – and losing nine of those games.)

However, the Braves righted themselves as a team, and their clouds of bad luck seemed to part. Beginning on August 19 with a win over the Expos in the last game of the series with them, the Braves roared back into first place by winning 13 out of 15 games while the Dodgers played ordinary baseball.

On September 3, the Braves’ won-loss record had improved to 76–58, they were ahead of the Dodgers by 2 1/2 games. However, their travails were not over, as they once again lost four games in a row and fell back into second place behind the Dodgers. Now, it was time for head-to-head competition with the Dodgers again. The Braves defeated the Dodgers in two consecutive games, on September 8 and 9, to once again move into first place (with a 78 – 62 record) by 1 1/2 games over the Dodgers.

There was more hardship to come. The Braves lost eight out of 12 games, including six losses to a different nemesis this time, the Houston Astros. This dropped the Braves back into second place, a full three games behind the Dodgers on September 22. The situation looked bleak again for the Braves.

However, the Braves did not fold up then, and they won seven out of their next nine games, while the Dodgers played ordinary baseball, and the Braves moves into first place for good on September 28. However, there was a final day of severe tension on the last day of the season. Beginning that day, the Braves were one game ahead of the Dodgers, with the Braves holding an 89–72 record and the Dodgers holding an 88–73 record. The Braves had a game in the Eastern Time Zone earlier in the day, and the Dodgers had a game with the Giants in San Francisco later on in the day in the Pacific Time Zone.

The Braves could have clinched the division championship by winning, but they lost their game game vs. the Padres 5–1 to fall to a 89 – 73 record. Then, in the later game, the Dodgers could have tied for first place by defeating the Giants. If that had happened, it would have required a one-game playoff between the Dodgers and the Braves to determine the Division champion. However, late in that game in San Francisco, the former Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman, Joe Morgan, hit a home run against the Dodgers to knock them down to an 88 – 74 record, and to put an end to the season for the Dodgers. Phil Niekro finished the season as the pitching star of the Braves with a 17–4 record, and Dale Murphy won the National League Most Valuable Player trophy by winning the league championship in home runs, tying for the championship in RBIs, and winning a Gold Glove in the outfield.

The Braves had won their second Western Division Title, and they were bound for the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Note that the Braves had won the first-ever Western Division championship in 1969, the year in which the Eastern Division and the Western Division had been established. Then, the Braves had posted a 93–69 won-loss record by playing very strongly in second half of the season. For the Braves, Niekro himself had had finished second for the Cy Young Award with 23 wins, and Hank Aaron had finished second in the league with 44 home runs. Thus, each of these teams had won the division by having one truly outstanding pitcher, and one truly outstanding batter.

Since the Braves had finished at 89 – 73, this meant they had only recorded a 76–73 record after beginning the season at 13–0 start. On the other hand, the good news was the Braves recorded a healthy 26–17 record after August 18. 1982 was just the Braves’ second season with a winning record since they recorded an 88–74 record in 1974 and finished in third place in the Western Division. The Braves’ only other (barely) winning season during that period was in 1980, when they struggled to an 81–80 finish. (The Braves played an odd number of games in 1980 since they had a game rained out during the season, and since the 162nd game would have no effect whatsoever on the standings, no make-up game for that game was ever played. It had become a moot point by then. By the way their skipper was Joe Torre who led them to a Western Division Championship.

These 2010 Atlanta Braves have given us a very similar season so far. With hot streaks, great and dramatic finishes, losing streaks to make one wander if this is a repeat of 1982. The only difference here, they will be playing the Phillies at home for a 3 game regular season finale series. Let’s hope for a different outcome in regards the 1982 club, as this 2010 team should make it to the World Series again, the first time since 1999. Such as 1982, these Braves are capable of winning it all!

Interview with Ozzie Smith

8 Aug

Co-Host Anna Anisin of Brains, Beauty & Baseball had the opportunity to interview MLB Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith at All Star Game Festivities in Anaheim, CA last month. Hear this unique interview and inside story with Ozzie Smith.

Part 1

Part 2

Is T.O. headed for the Big Apple?

27 Jul

So much has taken place in the sports world since the last time I made a post here at Stadium Voice. I want to first congratulate the National League and Atlanta Braves All Star MVP Player of the game Brian McCann. Being a Braves supporter for many years dating back to 1972, this is only the 2nd time in Braves history an All Star MVP Player of the Game came from Atlanta, the first being the last time the National League won the annual meeting in 1996 in Fred McGriff. Since the winner of the All Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series and the Braves find themselves in 1st place, it will be interesting to see how this will play out especially because Brian McCann would have helped his own cause in a possible shot at a 2nd shot at a World Championship in Atlanta. The Braves have one of the best records at home in baseball.

Word just hit the airwaves that the New York Jets have reached out to Terrell Owens in considering him to play this upcoming season. I am a firm believer Terrell Owens is STILL a great player. This would be a huge boost for the Jets since starting WR Santonio Holmes is out for the 1st four games of the season due to suspension. If you forgot the Jets did also pick up Ladainian Tomlinson. I would have had T.O. on my team yesterday. He’s is a ticket seller and he brings energy, personality and excitement to any franchise. T.O.’s only fault – He doesn’t like to lose and is vocal. Should the Falcons jump in on the bidding…? YES INDEED!!!!!!

On The AIR: Brains, Beauty and Baseball

12 Jul

We are finally on the air. After months of discussion we decided to AIR our 1st show to kick off the All Star Festivities. Join myself Eric Dye founder of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network and Anna Anisin founder of BaseballBeauties.com. Tune in and hear us talk about the 2010 MLB All Star Game, its history, memorable moments and more.

Oh Michael Vick, what will it take?

11 Jul

I remember how excited I was about the Atlanta Falcons first season with Michael Vick as the starting QB in 2002. He was fun to watch and did some incredible things not only in his 1st year as a starter but in his time in Atlanta. Michael was really quiet, never appeared arrogant, never ran his mouth just let his action on the field do the talking. As I recall it all began to go down hill – ALL AT ONCE! First it was him flippin off Falcon fans as he left the field after a disappointing loss at home. Then at a Miami airport he was held up by security with a strange substance found wedged in his water bottle. Then, soon after it was the dog fighting allegations. And you know the rest of the story.

A few weeks back Michael Vick decides to throw a 30th birthday party for himself open to the public in Virginia. There was a shooting and originally reports say he left the scene more than an hour before the incident but later reports through a surveillance camera proves he left before the shooting occurred only 3-5 minutes. They are keeping this thing real quiet of confirming who really got shot, and who the shooter was and or who are even suspects. This all is pretty weird if you ask me.

This morning, reports from NBC-10 in Philadelphia say Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has been barred by probation officials from leaving Pennsylvania following a shooting outside his birthday party in Virginia last month. According to the report, Vick has already missed two scheduled appearances, one at a football camp in Baltimore on Friday and another at a weekend golf tournament in Atlanta. Vick also stayed in Philadelphia rather than attending another “All White” party in Washington, D.C., on the Fourth of July. Vick is not considered a suspect in the shooting of his dog fighting co-defendant Quanis Phillips, but he may have violated his probation by attending the same party as Phillips.

All I have to say here is Michael Vick, what more will it take for you to LOOK, BE & STAY CLEAN? I really do want to see things turn around for you!

What’s the REAL DEAL with Yunel Escobar?

10 Jul

Last night the Atlanta Braves continued with its quest to run away with the NL East with another win against its division rival the New York Mets. They now have a 4 game lead over New York, a 5 1/2 game lead on Philadelphia and own the best record in the National League.

I thought it would be interesting to solely depend on Twitter to provide me the information of last nights game and I got to say, it was very interesting indeed to see the game unfold from a Twitter perspective. One thing that was mentioned often in the Twitter conversation during last nights game between the Braves and Mets was Yunel Escobar and his lollipop, lazy like play in the field. Now I have not been able to see Yunel every day in action but am I missing anything? I saw his soft throw to first causing a near serious injury to Glaus and a misplayed ball that brought in the tying run but man, Twitter users were HARD on Yunel ALL NIGHT! Here are some of the comments I saw….

By @DirtyBird4Life: @EricDye he (Escobar) sucks plain and simple. Hes lazy and could care less. Plus he cant hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle.

By @fakeginger: I really really really dislike Escobar these days.

By @BravesDiva: HEAR ME HEAR ME, Yunel Escobar needs a timeout and a pimpslap.

By @JamieCryan: @MikeVacc: Can anyone name three bigger knuckleheads in baseball than Yunel Escobar?” Can only name 1 – Jim Gray

By @golfrnsavh: Trying to remember the last time the camera actually caught Yunel Escobar smiling …

By @TLanceB: Yunel Escobar is Hanley ramirez without the talent. #Braves_DeadJournalist

By _DeadJournalist: yunel escobar = andres thomas

By @Ben_Duronio: Citi Field lowers Yunel Escobar’s baseball IQ. Plays dumb every time I’m here.

By @SaltyHalti: Will the Braves please trade Yunel Escobar

By @pdsnyder: Ok, Bobby. Time to sit Yunel Escobar. Again.

By @lesmasterson: NL SS who is bigger head case?: Yunel Escobar or Hanley Ramirez. I’m going with Escobar. Seems to have brain freeze at least once a series.

By @KevinG34: Yunel Escobar looks like a scrub tonight. Its a shame to see him wasting his talent bc of straight laziness

By @jc_bradbury: Yunel Escobar is one of the most frustrating players in baseball.

By @bdawg2309: Stupid ass yunel escobar…*&^..Send him packing.

Social media information in sports adds a different and enjoyable perspective to allow the fan to voice his or her opinion(s). In this case, my question is, does Yunel really deserve all this flack, hate get rid of – trade him now attitude or am I missing something? Thanks to Twitter last night we got a good pulse overall on Yunel Escobar but is it deserved or was it just last nights play? Just to recall what he has DONE since 2007 when he came to the Braves as a rookie he has a lifetime average of .299! So what are you all crying ABOUT? We are in 1st place with best record in National League – HELLO!

The Decision of Lebron James

8 Jul

Dan Patrick of his own syndicated Live Radio & TV Show aired his 2 cents worth earlier today on “The Decision” of Lebron James. He added his thoughts on why Lebron would go as far as making a show out of his decision and doesn’t blame him. Dan says Lebron is just taking advantage of ESPN in what he (Dan) helped build. I would agree with Dan totally. Today is the age of technology, communication and information – Lebron is just taking advantage of wwat is available in wise fashion. Whether we care about this HYPE or not – we can’t hide from it and the Lebron OVERKILL.

You can listen to Dan’s comments from his show earlier today by clicking here – ENJOY – IT IS A CLASSIC.

Atlanta Braves Win Again LATE!

7 Jul

I guess it surprises me that Atlanta continues to win games in dramatic fashion late and often! Last night Jair Jurrjens held the division rival Philadelphia Phillies to 2 hits through 6 innings and Matt Diaz and Eric Hinske came through in the clutch in the top of the 11th inning, giving the Braves the win in Philadelphia and keeping their lead to 2 games over the Mets who also won. Billy Wagner picked up his 18th save & Chavez in relief got the win.

What I like about this team is that everyone pitches in to help the cause from top to bottom of lineup, starting pitching, middle relief, closers – Atlanta, if gets on a nice winning streak, could break this thing wide open. This weekend heading into the All Star Break their 3 game series at the New York Mets could set the tone for the 2nd half of the season.

WORLD CUP UPDATE: Spain beats favored Germany 1-0 to advance to the World Cup Final Match against Holland. Both have never won a World Cup. It did surprise me how Germany didn’t match up well against Spain. I really did believe Germany was going to win it all. Now I do pick Holland to win over Spain in the Final Match which is this Sunday at 2:30 pm ET. Saturday’s match for 3rd place between Uruguay & Germany is at 2:30 pm ET.

The World Cup Isn’t Over Yet

6 Jul

Even though it has been more than a week now that the USA was eliminated by Ghana in overtime in the knock out round, and has only been 4 days since Brazil was sent home earlier than anyone would imagine the World Cup isn’t over yet! The 2010 World Cup Semi Finals begin today with Uruguay going up against the Netherlands (Holland). Tomorrow the other Semi Final match has Spain against Germany. My personal pick is the Netherlands & Germany in the Final with Germany winning it all.

If you are not a soccer fan you will love the article I ran across this morning it is a classic. Thank you Bill Simmons of ESPN.com.

Bill Simmons -ESPN.com – “Am I really posting a 4,500-word soccer column on the same day all hell is breaking loose for the biggest NBA summer ever? You’re damn right I am! I’m tired of wondering where LeBron, Wade, Nowitzki and everyone else will land. I’m even more tired of people reporting about things that might happen, could happen or seem likely to happen. Just tell me when they happen. Thanks. In the meantime, let’s play 20 Questions with the 2010 World Cup.” To read more click here