I love the Thursday night college football games on ESPN. It gives a chance to watch teams you might not normally get to see, or it gives a usually intriguing matchup. This week, it gives you Texas and Iowa State. I love College Football but I can’t even bring myself to enjoy that.
Fortunately, the Braves are here to save me tonight. This is a primary UGA blog, the Dawgs are a top ten team with a road game against Tennessee this weekend. But indulge me a little while I talk some Braves.
Used to spend more time on the Braves here a couple of years ago, but I have slacked off a little. It is hard enough to find time to blog about the Bulldogs, so the Braves thoughts have been put aside.
Like many of us guys that are, say 25-35, we grew up with the Braves on TBS during our formative years. Growing up, I wasn’t the biggest Bulldog fan. My sister went to school there, and I knew I always wanted to be a Bulldog, but football games on Saturdays weren’t a big deal until I got into high school and started taking it upon myself to watch the games. My dad worked Saturdays and was an Alabama fan anyway, and growing up in Rome, you found as many Auburn and Tennessee fans as Bulldog fans. Plus, during those years in the early and mid 1990s, Georgia just wasn’t very good.
But, you always had the Braves. I have fond memories of “Braves Day” at school. My mom would make Tomahawk shaped cookies and cover them with red sprinkles. We would go up the street to watch the World Series games with our best family friends and neighbors.
The run the Braves had in the 1990s until the mid 2000s will never be replicated again in sports. It was phenomenal. I guess with any great success, it becomes a situation where you become complacent and unappreciative.
The Braves won their first NL East title since 2005. There is something different about this team than from recent years. The young pitching is solid and the lineup, while inconsistent, is capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
I think the job that Fredi Gonzalez has done this year should be commended. I don’t put much stock in being a Major League manager. If they can pack a can of dip, walk a chew gum, and can just sign their name on a lineup card, that about fulfills their job duties. But, if we are going to heap complaints on someone when the team loses or blows a big division lead, then it is only fair to heap praise when the team plays well despite all the adversity on the roster.
Uggla and B.J. Upton have been playing God awful. Then think of all the injuries this team has had. Beachy never really made the comeback from Tommy John you thought he would make. Paul Maholm spent time on the DL. Hudson, Venters and O’Flaherty were lost for the season. Freeman, McCann, Heyward, Schaffer, Walden, Gattis, and Uggla have all spent time on the DL at some point this season. Justin Upton has been inconsistent. The only everyday players who haven’t been on the DL at some point this year have been J. Upton, Johnson and Simmons, and J. Upton missed several days with an injury.
Anyone who bashes Fredi, with what he has had to go through, is just plain wrong. He should win NL Manager of the Year.
I am excited today. I think the Braves can beat the Dodgers in the NLDS. I feel like a kid again. I wore my blue Polo shirt to work today. I am beyond excited to get home tonight and watch some playoff baseball.
This is how we chop!