Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

Welcome Back to Tinsletown Matt…Home to Some of Baseball’s Most Passionate Fans and Yearly Attendance Leaders (In Case You Forgot)

kemp Kickin’ it with Matt, Santa Monica, February 2011

Hello there ol’ pal ! It’s been over a year since you last set foot inside The Ravine. The last time you set foot you we’re wearing a different shade of blue for the folks down I-5. Before we could see you again, you we’re sent packing to Georgia. As your path took you south, you, in the face of some, threw shade at us laid-back folks of Southern California from the 213 to the 619. Sure, growing up in Oklahoma and being a Braves fan as a kid would be cause for you to be excited to don the tomahawk. But what exactly do you mean when you say you “never really played in a baseball town before”? It certainly isn’t for lack of support. After all, we continue to lead the majors in attendance year in and year out. 

We’re we just “too Hollywood” for you? It’s easy to see how you would feel that way considering that you too had embraced the Hollywood lifestyle, according to your Players Tribune piece, “Hello, Atlanta”.

“In so many ways, I got sidetracked from what I loved most about playing the game of baseball — having fun. I let a big contract, the Hollywood lifestyle, injuries and bad relationships tarnish the reputation I had worked so hard to establish. Sadly, I gained a reputation for being selfish, lazy and a bad teammate. While I may not agree with all the criticism I received in the past few years —and while I believe that a lot of it was unmerited — I take full responsibility for my shortcomings. And I promise you, Atlanta: Those days are gone.”

In all fairness, you’re hardly the first or will be the last professional athlete to get caught up with all that Hollywood and L.A. has to offer. I’m also happy to see that Atlanta has seen most of the old Matt Kemp, sans the defensive liabilities. But fans can have very little patience, let alone empathy, for athletes who are paid millions of dollars and fail to meet expectations. To Joe Fan, someone of Matt Kemp should play beyond the distractions a city like L.A. can offer. 

But back to being a baseball town. What really makes for a baseball town? If attendance figures are a big component than L.A. would certainly more than qualify, especially given the vast entertainment and recreational options we have. Anyone familiar with the layout of the greater L.A. area can certainly tell you going out let alone to a Dodger game is hardly a breeze. Also, to say that the days of lazy Matt Kemp are gone, perhaps you are implying what fans may have perceived of you from 2013-14?

Even the Padres during many a down year in 2016 outdrew the Braves at the gate, ranking near the middle of the pack. From the 213 to the 619 it really comes as no surprise during the Braves recent visit to Petco Park, the reception for Matt Kemp from both the Friar Faithful and the local media was anything but cordial

I really hope Matt Kemp continues to produce. After starting out hot his average has dipped below .300. He is still on pace to 25-30 home runs along with 90 plus RBIs. 

Sure, there was a time we all had a love/hate relationship with the former Beast Mode. His should have been MVP season of 2011 seems but a distant memory to many a blue clad fan. I never really had an issue with Matt Kemp in the few times I’ve crossed paths with him. Does he say much? No. But he’s not asked to be a motivational speaker.  When healthy he certainly could be clutch. Remember the 8th inning home run in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS? 

While the dream of Beast Mode carrying The Blue toward October Glory may be over, I still wish Matt all the success in the world. As for the type of reception the fans from this so-called baseball town of ours gives you? I don’t expect any drama. If any drama is to happen, it’s more likely to come through some 9th inning fireworks. (Haven’t we seen that a lot lately?)

Extra Innings…Throwing Back Thursday With Kid Marley Marlz

Marlz_ElysianHills

Yes Kid, Ol’ Bison will be back at The Ravine for four this weekend. Hey, 11 in a row for The Blue. They’re just cruising by the competition, you know…Like Cruising Music…

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Throwing Back Thursday…Kid N Drei Takin’ It Back

picsart_04-19-12.17.23.jpg Because it’s just not a tale without a Kid, Even the Kid at Heart, Kid Marley Marlz… ” Is That Right Drei ? “KID N DREI 3 5 years ago today, 4/21/2011…

Kid: “What up Drei ! “

Drei: ” KID ! “

Kid: ” I heard your screaming voice up in the Top Deck…”

Is my voice really that loud ? 

It had been a little over 5 years since Kid N Drei crossed paths. It would only be fitting that Kid N Drei would cross paths at, of course…Dodger Stadium. Ironically enough, The Blue would be playing the Braves in a midweek afternoon game…Much like today…The Blue playing in a midweek afternoon game…Against…Of Course…The Atlanta Braves…That afternoon’s starting pitcher ? Of course…Kid K…Clayton Kershaw…Just like today…

It’s funny how some things never change even with the passage of time… It’s also funny who even with the passage of time, the presence of Dodger Blue, be it within or beyond The Ravine, just brings out the kid in us…Since then, it seems there’s just never enough of Kid N Drei…Or shall we say…Tales From and Beyond The Yard with KID N DREI…

Kid Marley Marlz living up to his name always know how to throw a foam party with his pet Minion Dave…Kid Marley Marlz sure knows how to bring the tales…

DRE_BEATSWhile Drei-Beats, as Kid likes to call Drei, well, Drei just brings the beats…What ? Hey thats not right…

Kid Marley Marlz is the one not only bringin’ but spittin’ The Beats…Drei, well, Drei just tells the tales…Hey Kid, maybe someday someone in the Dodger Blue will use one of your beats as their walk-up song…

KID N DREI 2 Hey Kid, you may be a KID AT HEART…But Drei STILL says…”YOU’RE OUT” !!!! Hey Kid, speaking of being a Kid at Heart… Remember that extra inning game against the Mariners when you and the Mariner Moose bonded ?

Yup. Its been 5 years of Fun N Tales  from and Beyond The Yard with Kid N Drei. Do we keep the tales and the beats coming ?

We really are kid’s at heart aren’t we ?

KID N DREI_PETCO AND KEMP 2 Hey Kid, as much as you dig Drei’s tales, Drei is a bigger fan of your beats… Drei says you got lots more of those beats ahead of you…Heck, you never know, maybe someday we just may get someone in Blue to walk up to the plate, using your Gluten Free Beats…

KID N DREI_LACMA 2 Kid just loves the spotlight…

Aren’t you one for the spotlight, KID…

And the tales go back to the day we crossed paths…Where ?…Of course, Dodger Stadium…Has it really been 5 years since we started bringing the tales ?

20160414_220640 Good Times Kid…Good Times…

Drei’s Thoughts From Vin Scully Avenue

DODGERS_V SCULLY _DREI Greetings Dodgers fans ! After 13 games at 8-5 our Boys in Blue currently stand atop the division. If not for some early bullpen struggles The Blue could be 12-1. Oh well. However, the bullpen has turned it around the last 5 games….

Other Thoughts From Drei…

After struggling in his first start, Alex Wood bounced back nicely against the Snakes, going 7 1/3 to get his first win. Hopefully this is will be the start of some good fortune we expected when The Blue acquired him last season form the Braves…

Scott Kazmir, after blanking the Padres, has struggled the last two starts, both against the Giants. I’m still confident he will get his stroke back, my concern with Scott is how he holds up the entire season, given his recent history of ailments…

Kenta Maeda, well, he’s been everything we’ve expected and some

Possible Rookie of the Year candidate, or is Corey Seager still the team favorite ?

Off to The TED, One Last Time…

dre_hank The Blue heads down to Georgia to start off a six game road trip, with the first three of six at Turner Field against the Braves. Unless these two should meet in October ( Which many find highly unlikely ), this will be the Dodgers final appearance in Turner Field as the Braves are set to move into their shiny new digs next season. 

TURNER_DREI N TOMAHAWK Just happened to “Dodge” this tomahawk…

9th Inning…From Sunset to The Ravine

DODGERS_VIN SCULLY AVE BEFORE AND AFTER Before and After…

DODGERS_VIN SCULLY MARQUEE ” A Very Pleasant Good Evening and Welcome…”

 

 

Drei’s 2016 N.L. Forecast

Leading Off…

Here’s what Drei had to say heading into last season…

“Since Don Mattingly took over the managerial reins in 2011, the Dodgers have improved their win total by an average of 4 games. Should that trend continue into this season, the Blue Crew should finish with 98 wins, and yet, he seems to be on the hot seat every season…It’s been 27 years now. There are enough Dodger fans out there young enough asking what was it like to have experienced a World Series victory.”

Don Mattingly guided The Blue to their 3rd consecutive division title with 92 wins, yet the hot seat never cooled, sending to a much cooler summer climate, Miami. It’s been 28 years now, and Dodgers fans of all generations are growing somewhat impatient for that October experience…

N.L. East

Two of baseball’s best pitching staffs just may reside here in the NL East. The Mets return the bulk of their starting rotation that led them to their first World Series appearance since 2000 and with Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndegaard and Steve Matz ready to take on a full season, this team could be primed for another WS run. The Nationals, last year’s favorites among many of the experts to win the WS, still posses a pretty potent all-around lineup to compliment their strong rotation, anchored by Stephen Strasburg. Injuries and the lack of team unity played key roles in the Nats late season meltdown, costing Matt Williams his job.   The lineup will once again count on Bryce Harper to put up some big numbers along Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and their newest addition Daniel Murphy. It is hoped that proven skipper Dusty Baker will be able to keep this team completely focused. Dealing with players with adverse personalities is nothing new for Dusty. Let’s not forget he managed both Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent for several seasons. The Braves and Phillies, once the class of this division, could are in serious rebuild mode and could both potentially lose over 100 games…

N.L. Central

The Cubs made some key off-season moves, including the additions of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist to an already dangerous lineup. Much of the attention will be focused on their pitching, considered to be one of the deepest with the top 3 in the rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey. Many are picking the Cubs to not only go deep into October but to also win that big Fall Prize that has eluded them the last 108 years. This could just be their year…

The Pirates, post-season participants for 3 consecutive seasons, will be highly competitive again this season even the the loss of A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ from their rotation. The rotation still has a top 1-2 tandem between Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano. The lineup is still anchored by Andrew McCutchen, and his supporting cast with Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco is pretty dynamic themselves. It may be a stretch to pick the Bucs to finish atop the Central, but a 4th consecutive post-season appearance is not out of the question. Now if they could just find a way to avoid that dreaded wild card game. The Pirates, riding their most successive run since 1990-92, may have 3 consecutive post-season appearances under their belt but two consecutive one and done’s may unfairly have Clint Hurdle in the hot seat should the Bucs fail to make a deep October run…

The Cardinals, owners of last years best record in baseball, lost starter John Lackey to the rival Cubs and will be without Lance Lynn for the season. If Adam Wainwright can remain healthy throughout the season, along with Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, both who are still young, and the addition of Mike Leake, there’s no reason the Cardinals should not be able to compete in what could be baseball’s best division for the second consecutive season. If Matt Adams and Matt Holliday can rebound from injury plagued seasons, this lineup, along with Matt Carpenter at the top, could quietly be one of the leagues best.

N.L. West

I’m not going to lie. Though I do truly believe the Dodgers will win the West for the 4th consecutive season, I am mostly going with my heart. But hey, most so-called experts rarely ever get their predictions on the mark, right ?

Much has been made of the off-season moves within the division and it is expected to be a 3 team race between the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks. The two big additions to the rivals was the addition of Johnny Cueto to the Giants, and of course the addition of Zack Greinke away from the Blue over to the DBacks, who we’re among the league leaders in offense last season. 

Spring Training has not entirely been so kind to the Dodgers, who already are beset by some health issues in the back end of the rotation. The good news, in spite of our early season worries, not every Dodger got hurt during Spring TrainingThe top 3, led by Kid K with Scott Kazmir and off-season addition Kenta Maeda, will give the Blue a formidable front end of the rotation. My concerns however are how will Maeda, coming off a solid spring,  hold up in his first big league season… Can Kazmir stay healthy and retain his 2015 form ? Can Alex Wood bounce back from his 2nd half swoon and prove to be a legitimate 4th starter ? Hyun-Jin Ryu, who missed all of last season, is expected to give the rotation a boost if he should return by mid-May at the earliest.

The outfield, even with the loss of Andre Ethier until at least June, is still pretty deep, however these questions loom…Will Puig finally display a full season of his potential ? Can Joc Pederson cut down on his strikeouts and improve upon his on base percentage ? Can Carl Crawford stay healthy enough until Andre returns ? It’s expected that Crawford and Scott Van Slyke will be platooning in left field. The infield will be a good combo of experience and youth. This lineup has the potential to put up some big numbers and could have 3 30 plus home run boppers in Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig. If Puig can give us a 20/20 season, and Joc can hit somewhere in the .270’s our offense should be allright. 

So everyone expects a 3 team race here in the NL West. The Rockies and Padres are not expected to do much and there have been talks that the Friars are looking to unload some of their key acquisitions from last year, including Matt Kemp. If the Padres are out of contention by July, I see Kemp, who in typical fashion had a strong finish last season, heading to one of two possible sleepers, Seattle or Miami ( Yeah, Kemp reunited with Mattingly, playing with Dee Gordon, and Barry Bonds as his hitting coach. Hmmm )

NL Wild Card

Cubs over the Cards. Again, after this one-game elimination game is over, talks and debates will resume over an expanded WC series… 

NLDS

Cubs over the Pirates. The Pirates will finally be playing in an actual playoff series, only to be disappointed once again by everyone’s pre-season favorites. Does an appearance past the WC keep Hurdle off the hot seat ?

Dodgers over the Mets. In another closely contested series, this time, it’s OUR Boys in Blue who prevails 

NLCS

In a battle of two teams who have 97 years combined without a World Series appearance, someone finally ends their drought. Why not us ? Dodgers over the Cubs

As I’ve admitted, my pick of our Blue going all the way is for all intents and purposes, from the heart. The Blue is expected to contend once again this season. They may be banged up right now, but hey, no team goes through a full 162 game season without some dings and scratches, right ? 

World Series… A Battle of Blue

It’s been 27 years. In that time, we’ve endured 2 Bush’s, and we may be on our way toward a 2nd Clinton…. Oh yeah, it would be great if we can give Good Ol’ Vin a Grand Sendoff, right ?

9th Inning…A Tale From The Park…With KID N DREI…

20140831_164815.jpg Because Kid Marley Marlz has all that ” Kid Like ” energy during the off-season, Drei needs to take him to the park…

20140831_164829.jpg ” HEY KID ! When are we gonna come up with that Dodger song ? ” Kid Marley Marlz may call me Dre Beats, but it’s The Kid who spits out The Beats and the Everyday Blessings, while Drei, well, Drei just tells The Tales.  Hey Kid ! When our we gonna do that Dodger song ?… ‘Til The Next Episode…Close us out KID !!!

Everyday Blessings… Kid Marley Marlz

 

 

Throwback Thursday, Drei’s Ballpark Adventures… Turner Field, 5/5-6 2007

Before serving as the home to the Atlanta Braves, Turner Field would be the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics, hosting track and field events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. It would be transformed into it’s baseball configuration prior to the 1997 season, eliminating roughly over 35,000 seats.

TURNER FIELD_PREGAME VIEW UPPER FL Pregame view from upper left field, 5/5/2007

Despite entering it’s 19th season in operation, Turner Field’s days appear to be numbered as the Atlanta Braves are scheduled to move into their new stadium in Cobb County in 2017 as part of a mixed use facility. Many factors have played into why the Braves, after only 20 season, will be leaving Turner Field, ranging from location to attendance numbers not meeting expectations. 

The announced move to Cobb County has been met with plenty of mixed reviews. As for why attendance numbers have not consistently topped the charts , despite the fact the Braves have made it to post season play 17 times since 1991, the reasons vary from the hot summer months, to a fan base dulled by the teams success all the way down to it’s location, which many feel is the main reason for the Braves scheduled 2017 move. Atlanta Magazine recently wrote a piece on the location surrounding Turner Field which discusses the surrounding area throughout the rest of the year, The Other 284 Days .  

Turner Field, May 5-6, 2007

TURNER FIELD_OUTSIDE GRAND ENTRANCE Grand Plaza, The Left Field Entrance

TURNER FIELD_PARKING LOT OLYMPIC PILLARS View from the parking lot. Notice the pillars in front of the stadium. Those are what remain from the 1996 Summer Olympic stadium use

When visiting Turner Field, if you’re one who likes to re-create history, you may want to arrive early and visit the parking lot across the street. Why you may ask ? The field layout from the Braves previous home, Fulton County Stadium, is displayed with the original locations of each base, including home plate, as well as the location of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run

TURNER FIELD_OLD HP LOCATION

TURNER FIELD_PARKING LOT HANK ARRON FANS Envisioning Hank rounding the bases after hitting 715 and the 2 fans joining him in celebration

picsart Hey, there’s Bill Russel and Davey Lopes looking on. The two would remain teammates in the same position until 1981

TURNER FIELD_HANK AARON 715 MARKER Location where Hank’s 715 landed

Inside Turner Field, the Braves did a good job of providing some in-game entertainment options, including a team Hall of Fame museum and a drum line, dubbed the Heavy Hittaz. It’s a good thing too, because the surrounding area outside The Ted really does not offer much in terms of pre or post game entertainment

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In the upper reaches of the left field corner is the Sky Field…

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TURNER FIELD_COKE BOTTLE Old Coke Bottle. The current one is now made up of LED displays

Turner Field did not exactly wow me, yet did not disappoint either. There really is no signature feature inside The Ted or any kind of special ambiance that would give you that true baseball feel. However, should you be in attendance when there are over 40,000 in the stands doing the Tomahawk Chop, the experience is definitely different as opposed to hearing it on television.  Turner Field is still worth a visit for you ballpark travelers, especially with The Ted shutting down in 2 years. Tickets for most any game, including post-season should the Braves make it into October play, are generally easy to come by. 

TURNER FIELD_UPPER RIGHT FIELD SEAT 5 5 View from upper right field, 5/5/2007

TURNER_VIDEO BOARD Cinco De Mayo. Of course, who better to represent than Nomar…

TURNER FIELD_HANK STATUE Hammerin’ Hank

TURNER_DREI N HANK Kickin’ it with Hammerin’ Hank

TURNER_DREI N TOMAHAWK With my tomahawk that I managed to dodge…

Also in Atlanta…

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who would have been 86 today…

King HOme If you have the opportunity, you may want to pass through the Auburn district.  Pictured here is the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. 

ebeneezer Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

king coretta Tomb dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta Scott King

 

Dodgers…Giants…1993, 103 Wins and Not a Wild Scene In The Bay

1993.  Not exactly a memorable season for the Blue.  The 1993 Dodgers would finish at .500 , 81-81, an 18 game improvement from 1992’s 63-99 showing, their worst in L.A. franchise history and the first ( and LAST ) time the Dodgers would finish in last place since 1905.  The 1993 season would mark Barry Bond’s first season with the hated ones after 7 seasons in Pittsburgh, with his final moment in a Bucs uniform coming in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS as he was unable to throw out the speedster Sid Bream .  As the Braves would continue their yearly post-season run that would last until 2005 ( In the process dulling their fan base ) , the Pirates would go into a 20 year tailspin .  

In the meantime, the 1993 season would be the last season for baseball’s 2 division format.  That meant that even if you we’re baseball’s 2nd best team, if you we’re 2nd best in your division as well, that meant no October baseball.  Imagine a team winning 103 games and missing out on post-season play ?  Under today’s 2 team wild card format, that would be all but impossible today.

However, in 1993, one team that would win 103 games was on the outside looking in.  Yup, it was the San Francisco Giants.  Heading into the seasons final four games at Dodger Stadium, the NL West would come down between the Giants and the Atlanta Braves before divisional re-alignment took place . ( The baseball lords finally got their geography right.  When division play started in 1969, the Cubs and Cardinals we’re placed in the NL East, while the Reds and Braves we’re placed in the NL West ) .  The Giants, led by first year manager and former Dodger Dusty Baker, started the season hot behind the huge off-season acquisition of Barry Bonds.  The Giants had lead the NL West by as many as 9 games ( Sound familiar Dodger fans ? ) as late as July.  The Braves, coming off back to back NL pennants, we’re to good to fold and would eventually take over 1st place in the NL West.  The Giants would right themselves and after taking the first 3 games of the seasons final four at Chavez Ravine, the Braves and Giants would find themselves tied for the NL West lead heading into their final games of the season.  Some have called the 1993 NL West race the The Last Real Race .  In the context of today’s wild-card format, a true argument can be made of that.

So now, let Drei here take you back to that final game of the 1993 season .  October 3, 1993.  Earlier in the day, the Braves had defeated the first year expansion Colorado Rockies to ensure they would be playing at least one more game.  The Braves win would force the Giants into a win or go home situation, 103 wins and all.  Win, and the Braves and Giants play a one-game playoff the next evening at Candlestick Park to determine the NL West winner.  Lose, and the Giants, 103 wins and all, like the other 24 teams, start an early winter .  

As for Drei here, I was long aware of the fact this game meant nothing in the standings.  But for Drei and the many blue clad fans in the southland that day, this game WAS our World Series.  For the old-schoolers, this was to ease the pain of ’51 and ’62.  For us baby boomers of the early 90s, this was to ease the pain of  Joe Morgan’s home run in 1982 and Will Clark’s boastfulness in 1991 .  Would there be any dramatic finishes to this 1993 finale between The Blue and the Hated Ones ?  Hardly…

On this day, it would be the Dodgers who would do more than play the role of spoilers.  Backed by 2 home runs by Mike Piazza, who would win the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year honors, it would be the Dodgers driving a stake into the hearts of San Francisco, breaking many hearts in The City By The Bay.  Division re-alignment and the addition of the Central Division in both leagues would occur the following season in 1994, as well as the Wild Card format.  But on this day in 1993, the 103 win Giants squad would  spend the post-season like the other 24 teams, watching the post-season, much to the delight of this then 19 year old fan.  Many a Giants fans heart would be left broken… In San Francisco….  ( Is it too obvious a Dodgers fan is writing this ?) Of course our stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley would be proud to remind the folks of Northern California as she would serenade everyone with Tony Bennet’s classic tune after the game’s final out…

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Piazza being greeted at home by Tim Wallach after crushing his second home run of the game that would knock the 103 win Giants team out of the playoffs

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT

wpid-img_3421357097977.jpeg A BIG HAPPY 30TH to The Bison !!!  Was it 2 months ago that many of you out there had a Love/Hate Relationship with Matt ?  Nothing like a great 2nd half run to quiet all doubters huh ?  As we head toward the post-season, I’ll say it once more.  This is STILL your team Matt !!!  Time for The Bison to take charge !  HAPPY 30TH Matt !!!

MAGIC NUMBER

wpid-img_16571948723949.jpeg After last night’s gut-wrenching 5-2 loss in 13 to the Giants , the magic number to clinch the NL West remains at 3.  Zack Greinke takes his perfect 4-0 record against the Giants to the mound for The Blue as he matches up against Madison Bumgarner in The Blue’s attempt to cut the magic number down to one.

GREINKE_92314

wpid-img_20140916_222740.jpg Time to Turn L.A. BLUE !!!