October 17, 2006. A Tuesday. A lot of rain that morning. Temp seemed about normal for that time of year in Georgia. The autumn air first starting to move in, the rain only making it colder. I grabbed a grey fleece out of the closet before I left the house that morning. My wife of two weeks, and two dogs, still sound asleep. It was a peaceful morning. Like many before it. The rain at 6am when you’re the only one awake can put anyone at ease, I suppose.
It would be the last time I felt any sense of ease at all for a long time.
How the Atlanta GM turned the Braves from a 90 loss team to the decade’s winningest organization.
On October 11, 2007, for the first time in seventeen seasons, the Atlanta Braves had a new general manager. Granted, it was a familiar face in assistant Frank Wren, but with John Schuerholz’s ascension to team president, there was a new name on the door. It was also a time of stagnation for the organization; the Braves hadn’t won a playoff series since the 2001 season and had now missed the playoffs entirely two years running. At this point, a change was almost a necessary. Continue reading
There are probably still Braves fans who wake up in the middle of the night with cold sweats thinking about Chipper Jones tracking a ball in LF. Or remembering him in a pile in the gap as his hamstring finally said “I quit.” He may not have been the world’s worst outfielder, but that didn’t make it any less mesmerizing. Here’s a look at the wonderment that was Larry’s left field legacy.
The story of the Braves moving Chipper Jones to left field is a longer one than most people realize or remember. While most recall the stint from 2002 through the start of the 2004 campaign, the story begins much earlier.
Following a brief call-up at the end of the 1993 season, Chipper had cemented himself as not only one of the best prospects in the Braves system, but also one of the premiere young players in all of baseball. When Baseball America released their prospect rankings for the 1994 season, Jones name was right at #1, already having been Atlanta’s top prospect for three years running. The question most had, however was where the prodigy would end up positionally. Continue reading
So, some buddies of mine have a multi-purpose blog centered the Braves and based on a Twitter discussion yesterday morning, they asked me to stop by and write a piece on GM Frank Wren and some of his recent contracts. Here’s a link to go check it out:
Braves General Store: An Uggla, Upton, and Johnson Retrospective
“I’ve thought so much about suicide, parts of me have already died.”
Old 97’s, “Lonely Holiday”
So, this is a story I’ve only ever shared with a handful of people, but I thought it would be a good time to throw it out into the ether.
So, recently I’ve been tooling around with some new ideas for the Braves I is. Combining eras and elements, just throwing a bunch of shit against the wall and seeing what sticks. I love some, dislike some, hate some. Swing by and check out what I’ve come up with so far…
Flickr: Braves Concepts
So, this little bit is inspired by a segment on the NPR podcast “Snap Judgment” a few weeks ago.
If you wish to check out the episode, it was titled “The Stranger” and dealt with someone you love being something different than what you thought. You can listen to it here, with the specific segment being “Keeping Hope Alive” which you can choose to listen to by itself at that link.
The segment was about a father dealing with the ramifications of his son having a mental illness, namely schizophrenia. The main quote that jumped out at me, and summed up so much of my own life is this:
One of the reasons why you have children is this concept of hope. What this illness does is to rob you of that hope. So you start making deals in your head where you go from “Well, I hope my son will be the next President of the United States”… The illness makes your hope go “I hope my son doesn’t kill himself or kill somebody.”
60 Minutes: Nowhere to Go
The above linked video is a piece that aired on 60 Minutes last night about the availability of beds to sufferers of mental illness in our country. “Beds” essentially refers to space being available to someone who either goes to the emergency room or a mental health facility and needs to be admitted for inpatient care.
I’ll let you watch the video for the gist of the story itself, because I primarily wanted to share my own personal experience here and not double-down on details you can pull from that piece yourself.
As I have stated many times, I suffer from a number of mental illnesses — bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, severe anxiety and major bouts of depression. I have been both hospitalized long-term for these conditions at numerous inpatient behavioral health facilities, been on far too many medications, and made attempts at taking my own life. Continue reading
Lonnie Smith will be forever remembered by Braves fans for one thing: the baserunning miscue in game seven of the 1991 World Series, which arguably cost the team the Series. The unfortunate thing for Lonnie is that it overshadows two very good seasons in 1989 and 1990. While those two seasons fall outside of the scope of this series, I would be remiss to not mention them to try and take some of the sting of that October night in Minneapolis away.
The man known as Skates was one of the most polarizing players of his time. From numerous battles with drug addiction, to threatening and plotting to kill his GM (John Schuerholz, who he would later reunite with in Atlanta), and his many adventures on the basepaths and in the outfield, no one was more of a wildcard than Lonnie Smith. Continue reading