And That Happened

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here . . .

Braves 4, Phillies 1: Last year the Braves traveled to a division rival’s home park for the Sunday night opener and it didn’t go so well. Last night there were no complaints at all. Well, except for Phillies fans. And Brett Myers fantasy owners. And the People for the Ethical Treatment of Joe Morgan listeners. Look, I’m not Ken Tremendous and I appreciate that there are seriously diminishing returns when it comes to bashing announcers, but when Morgan responded to Jordan Schafer’s fourth inning single — which followed a home run in his first ever at bat in the 2nd — with “THAT’s what Bobby Cox wants Schafer to be doing,” one can’t help but be drawn back into the hate fest. I’ll take a few deep breaths, however, and I’m sure It’ll be over it soon.

In the meantime, how about Derek Lowe? I can’t remember the last time the Braves had a healthy, responsible adult starting a game for them. Sinkers just suck the life out of the opposition, don’t they? They also help a game zip by in 2:22, which is how I likes it. At least when my team wins.

Bring on the full slate today. I’m ready.

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  1. lar said...

    I definitely heard Miller trying to explain OPS. It was a little funny. You can just imagine the conversations that went on in the ESPN boardrooms, with one group pushing for OPS to be included on the tv screen and the other group being shocked at the suggestion. I wonder how many rounds that went before someone decided, “Yes, we’ll put OPS on the screen, but we’ll define it in text all season *and* we’ll make Miller & Morgan explain what it is every week until August.”

    I’m glad I’ll actually be *at* the game this Sunday instead of just watching it on tv. That’ll be nice.

  2. Bob Rittner said...

    On the other hand, I thought the videos of Francouer in 2008 and 2009 with the explanation of how he has tried to adjust his mechanics was interesting.

  3. Kelly said...

    I woke up like I do every day and every other Opening Day and felt giddy.

    And shortly after I realized I only had to work until noon and then it was ON, I realized I get “ATH” back as well.

    Congrats, Craig.  You made it as high up as can be.

  4. ditmars1929 said...

    Thanks for the George Harrison reference, Craig.  My favorite musician, and also a very underrated one.

    Nice to see the sun is coming out on the new season.  I just hope the Yanks don’t get rained out this afternoon.

  5. hermitfool said...

    Where’s Ken Tremendous when we need him? Come baaaaaack, Ken. Can you imagine how much fun he’d have with Joe Morgan’s wit and wisdom on last night’s broadcast?

    I watched with the sound turned down, thinking my synapses could not handle both Morgan AND Phillips without shorting out in a blaze of sparks and acrid smoke. I have no excuse, but when Shafer hit his bomb I turned up the sound, heard Joe clearly state this home run (the 19th in major league history by a rookie in his first AB) was a potential disaster because it might tempt Shafer to abandon his role as a guy who hits line drives and steals bases. And he’s got a point. A guy hitting lots of home runs probably isn’t going to steal nearly as many bases.  I was hooked, like watching between your fingers at an unfolding hundred car pile up with thousands of horrific deaths and injuries.

    Joe’s commentary on Chipper gaining savvy as a hitter as he aged should be on a continuous loop at the Hall of Fame. According to Joe, Chipper, like many hitters, gained knowledge as he aged, helping him analyze pitchers and pitches and his own abilities in a given situation. Unfortunately, by the time most hitters get smart, their physical skills have deteriorated to the point they can’t take full advantage. Come to think of it, Chipper is so old his skills should be falling off a cliff any day now, which would make his smarts totally irrelevant—followed by an embarrassed stretch of unanimous booth silence.


    One cozy late inning shot of the threesome wedged huggermugger in the booth, taken long after Joe handed over the broadcast to Miller and Phillips, showed a sleepy eyed, slack jawed Joe, slumped far back in his chair, lost in a smug day dream in which he plays himself as the conquering hero, who never made the mistake of hitting way too many home runs.

  6. Grant said...

    Bob – I saw those pictures and about all I could do was snarkily think to myself “I don’t care how he holds his bat. If he won’t take a walk he’s still gonna suck.” Vlad Guerrero notwithstanding, of course.

  7. El said...

    I got TiVo because of Joe.

    Enabled me to double speed between pitches and miss the inanity while shortening the time spent watching by 2/3.

    Can’t understand why we haven’t taught the Gitmo detainees the finer points of baseball and then forced them to listen to Joe until they repented their murderous ways.

    Torture most foul.

  8. carl said...

    I have no problem with them explaining OPS.  Sure, it’s irritating to us, but they have to talk to the casual fan who tune into the game randomly. 

    I think it’s huge that they are using OPS – I mean, the stat didn’t exist when Joe first started sportscasting. 

    And I think Joe had a point about Schafer and I think it’s terrifically important that Schafer NOT bulk up to hit HR – the up the middle single was really important, too.  That said, Jordan Scafer ISN’T a punchless guy, like Gardner or Taveras or Bourn – he’s got 20/20 potential.  If he can hit linedrives, he’ll lift his share out of the park. 

    The key for him is that he doesn’t try to become a 30 HR guy, at least not this year.

  9. Andy L said...

    Man, you get up early.

    And ATH returns with baseball.  Sweet!  I hadn’t noticed how briskly that game went by.  I listened on the radio because I don’t have cable, and I was spared Morgan.  That is a special comment right there.

    I find it fun that both you and Gleeman opened your posts quoting the same song at your personal blogs as you start your NBC blog today.

  10. Craig Calcaterra said...

    When you have a 3 year-old and a 5 year-old, you have to wake up early if you want any time to yourself.

    And I didn’t see Gleeman’s “Here Comes the Sun” thing.  Man!  I thought I was being original!

  11. TLA said...

    Did anyone catch Miller’s explanation of OPS during the broadcast?  It rivaled the time that he said Edmonds had a .939 “Ops” (like Special Ops).

  12. Chadillac said...

    Not only did Miller explain what OPS was, but ESPN put up a definition on their annoying text trailers. He sounded like he was talking to 5 year olds. I don’t remember Morgan saying anything about it…of course, why would he? It has nothing to do with him being in the HOF.

  13. Mike said...

    I watched half an inning and had to turn it off.

    Morgan was talking about how Chipper is a better hitter as he is old and knows more about himself. He rambled on about himself (shocker) and then name dropped talking about it with Hank Aaron. This conversation with himself seemed to go forever. And then….

    Phillips starts talking about how Chipper is the one player in the NL East that their team can not lose. Then inning is over.

    My girlfriend (not a baseball fan) was in the room with me and asked, “What were those people just talking about? That made no sense.”

    Morgan and Miller supposedly have the Yankees home opener today. Thank the baseball gods I live in NJ and have YES.

  14. The Common Man said...

    I’m just glad we can all sit back and enjoy the career of “Logan” Schafer.  Rejoice, Atlanta, the “Logan” Schafer era has begun!

    ATH is as comforting as my morning bagel.  Keep up the awesome, Craig.

  15. Chris H. said...

    I am so glad baseball is back.

    Look, I’m definitely something of a stat nerd.  I’m as left-brained as they come.  I subscribe to BP, and to ESPN Insider just so I can read Neyer and klaw.  I love front-office stuff and finance stuff and stadium stuff and hot stove stuff and all of that.

    And yet.

    Last night, as I listened to the radio while running errands…as I listened to a game with two teams I care little for…as I listened to Soup tell me that Francouer’s problems last year were do to his being “muscle-bound”…a strange feeling came over me.  I can only describe it as one of relief. 

    For that short period of time I wasn’t thinking about stadia or contracts or constantly having to explain to my friends why batting average or fielding percentage don’t mean anything.  I just listened to the game, and it made me feel like when I was a kid, hoping that Bruce Sutter could hold the lead that Rick Reuschel gave him.  I forgot about *everything else* but the game.

    And after all, isn’t that ultimately why we love the game?

    I ended up rooting for the Braves, due to my hierarchical rooting system (see below).  I found myself rooting for Yunel Escobar.  Yunel Escobar!

    I am SO glad baseball is back.

    Hierarchical rooting system:

    * Cubs over anyone else
    * Non-NL-Central teams over the NL Central
    Braves over anyone else (due to an appreciate for the organization, combined with a lingering fondness from the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz-Neagle days)
    * Diamondbacks over anyone else (because my sister was in Arizona for a time, plus lingering fondness for the World Series team (w/Mark Grace as a bonus))
    * NL teams over AL teams (in the case of interleague games or a World Series)
    * Anyone else over the Mets


  16. Chris H. said...

    Ugh; there should be an asterisk in front of “Braves over…”

    You need an Edit button, Craig.

  17. Grant said...

    I’m glad I was only half-watching on mute (too much reading to do). I would’ve lost it if I heard that Morgan comment you just detailed. Yeesh.

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