Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

Welcome Back Matt…As If You Ever Left…

20180216_104924-1.jpgKicking it with The Bison during Fabulous 50th, December ’08

Hey there Bison! Welcome back ! You’re looking better than ever there…(OK, let’s not get too carried away…) But we can’t deny he’s looking better than expected, right?

When we traded for you back in December we all thought you we’re going to be a key piece for The Blue, just not in the way we’ve seen through Spring Training. When we picked you up from the A-T-L, you know, that so-called baseball town you always wanted to play for, we all thought you’d be a key piece for a trade toward a team in the Junior Circuit so that all parties involved, you included, would be satisfied, we’d get another pitching arm and you, well, at this point in your career you’d be content to be a DH, right? I mean, it’s not as if we’re getting the 5 tool shoulda been 2011 MVP Matt Kemp…

dreispics046.jpgMatt Kemp, August ’11. Looking sharp in those throwback threads…

I often said that you we’re the most gifted of that group from’06 that included you, Dre, Loney and Russell Martin. When Russ and James left, I still had hope that you and Dre would be the last ones celebrating during some late October/early November evening….

FB_IMG_1520639441603.jpgOh yeah…Good Times with Dre and Bison, even Juan Pierre would join in…2009

Though you and Dre would make it to the post-season 5 times together, you 2 just couldn’t quite reach The Fall Classic. There we’re some bad breaks along the way too, the ineptness of The McCourt regime, a Jonathan Broxton pitch or two…A break here a break there and maybe you and Dre have not one but two World Series rings together…

Heading South Down I-5…

20150821_213112.jpg August ’15. You don’t look to happy there Matt… Perhaps you’re not thinking you shoulda gone hoops at Oklahoma…

20150821_180723.jpg Blue didn’t forget about you Bison…(Time for a new cap, Drei?)

20150906_171046.jpgKid N Drei would never forget about you…

20160522_130953.jpgHey there Matt…You got that smile back…(May ’16. This Sunday afternoon affair would last almost 6 hours, with Bison going 0 for 7 against his old mates…)

Kemp would spend close to two season from ’15 to July of ’16 down I-5. Though he would put up some good individual offensive stats, as a team, the Friars would struggle…

With the Friars deciding to move another direction, Matt would be traded to the Braves in late July ’16…

“Hello Atlanta….”

In a piece you penned in The Players Tribune, Hello Atlanta, you are quoted as saying you never really played in a baseball town. You we’re even quoted as saying the Hollywood lifestyle got you sidetracked. While you are hardly the first (And likely not the last) athlete to get caught up in the Hollywood scene, you words penned did not set in well with the SoCal natives on down toward San Diego

Ah, but as we all know, any player can be moved at any moment. Having said that, no one could have seen you back in Dodger Blue. Even with the trade with Atlanta, we all thought we’d have you wearing a jersey of an AL team by now. But as of now, you’re here to stay. 

You may have said some words that may not have pleased some here in the Southland , even offering an explanation for your words ,stating this was a Lakers town when you arrived in ’06 and it was all about Shaq and Kobe. (In truth, you are half right. But Shaq was already gone in ’06…). But you know, we all say things that at some point we regret. 

As of now, it looks like The Bison is here to stay. For now. From the looks of things, it just may be a good thing. Sure this is not The Bison of 2011. Sure he probably won’t be the everyday left fielder. Sure, there’s a good chance he may not be around after July 31st. 

But for now, Bison is here to stay.  Who know, he just may be the missing piece to bringing home the big prize that’s eluded us since ’88. I always said in my heart that he and Dre would some day be the last one’s dancing. 

Matt won’t be the focal point in this team. That’s ok. If Matt is here to stay, if he can give us even some of the numbers of ’11, with an occasional clutch hit while patrolling left field for, what, Pederson? 

After 3 seasons without no Bison roaming the outfield in Chavez Ravine, does it feel like he ever left?

Welcome Home, Matt…

kemp (Kickin’ it with The Bison, Santa Monica, February ’11. This now makes this the what, un-teenth time i’ve used this pic?)

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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…

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