On September 5th, the Atlanta Braves held a 8.5 game lead in the NL wild card race and looked to coast into the playoffs. 24 days later, that lead has vanished and the season is over. This team will be the topic of conversation for a while, and you can add another page to the long list of Atlanta sports under-achievements, failures and disappointments. By The Numbers: 2-8 in last 10 games.10-20 in last 30 games.18-18 vs. Mets/Nationals1-8 in last 9 vs. PhilliesA rookie lead the team in batting average (Freeman .283).A guy with a career worst slump lead the team in HR/RBI (Uggla 36/82). Blame Game: Jason HeywardJason was projected as a top pick in fantasy this year, but a monumental sophomore slump and the new Braves curse of right field left a huge hole in the lineup. Heyward wrapped up the season with a .226 average, 14 homers and only 42 (yes- FORTY TWO) RBI. The Hank comparisons can wait one more year. Kenshin KawakamiJust because… Training StaffAnother year, another series up key injuries and fatigue problems flare up with the Braves. The loss of Jurrjens and Hanson left the team having to call up players from Gwinnett premature. Most of these youngsters did fairly well, but they couldn’t duplicate the success of the key duo lost. Another key injury and rush to get Moylan ready may also end his career- with a 6 month recovery period and surgery being projected. Freddi GonzalezFreddi has yet to show much emotion or disappointment in a post game interview after a loss. Freddi’s yet to show much ‘fire’ as a manager; he has yet to place blame on anyone, call out his club or hold anyone accountable for the underachievement, including himself. Bobby Cox got away with this because of his record; Freddi needs to learn to become his own manager and realize he doesn’t have the accolades or records of Cox. He also should criticized for the way he has managed his bullpen, over-working his young top pitchers and allowing them to run out of gas late in the season. Kimbrel (2), Venters (1) and O’Flaherty (5) were among the top 5 pitchers in MAJORS in appearances. This shouldn’t have been the case considering the risk of injury and damage it could have caused to their careers. Another season like this in 2012 could spell the end of the road for Gonzalez in Atlanta. Bright Spots: The Boston Red Sox The Sox duplicated collapse will get most of ESPN and the media’s attention; that’s good right? Julio Teheran20 year old Julio Teheran was named the INTL League Rookie of The Year, allowing one earned run or less in 15 of his 23 starts. Teheran also had a sparkling record of 8-0 with a 1.34 ERA on the road this season for Gwinnett. Craig KimbrelKimbrel tied for the NL lead in saves and set the all-time rookie saves record. He finished the season with 78 innings pitched, 126 Ks, 46 saves and 2nd in the majors in appearances. More Bullpen The 7th-8th inning guys were money in the bank, greatly exceeding expectations. O’Flaherty quietly finished the season with an ERA under 1.00 and allowed only 8 runs in 73 innings pitched. Venters finished the year with a 1.86 ERA while leading the major leagues in appearances. Brandon BeachyThe Braves rookie lead the team in Ks with 169 and posted a 7-3 record/3.68 ERA in 2011. Dan UgglaAfter a horrible first half, Uggla rebounded to hit .283/21 HR/76 RBI after the all-star break. Uggla’s hitting streak of 33 games was also the longest in the majors since 2006. Freddie FreemanOne of the Braves two ROY candidates, Freeman had a remarkable season in 2011; posting a team leading .283 average and 76 RBI. Freddie had a stellar year with the glove, as well several clutch game winning hits. Freeman was the first Brave to eclipse the 20 HR mark in his rookie year since Chipper Jones in 1995. Acquisition of Michael BournThe Bourn Identity was a great pickup for the Braves, a team desperately needing some consistency from the leadoff spot. Bourn will be back with the team in 2012 after finishing the season with a .292 batting average and 61 stolen bases. Youthful ArmsThe staff is stockpiled; no other major league team has as many cornerstone, projected star pitchers as do the Braves. Atlanta’s Teheran (20), Delgado (21), Vizcaino (20), Kimbrel (23), Minor (23), Beachy (25), Hanson (25) and Jurrjens (25) are all under the age of 25.
Pet Food Bags with The Slogan – “New & Improved Taste”I want proof, are people testing the pet food themselves and conclusively decided that it’s better? Are they interviewing the pets? how big of a sample size are they testing? maybe east coast pets hate the food but west coast pets love it. False advertising; I feel that this is a general statement that someone just made up randomly because it looks good. Those People That Spend Hundreds of Dollars on Lottery TicketsDon’t get me wrong, I enjoy getting a $2 scratch off ticket 3-4 times a year. But don’t you hate going to a gas station and having to wait for someone to buy a very unique, well thought out assortment of scratch off tickets; especially those who drop 50+ dollars on them. Do these people understand the law of odds? the fact that even a winning lottery ticket has a 90%+ chance of a reward of 100 dollars or less? Maybe if they put all that money in a jar they would have a small fortune in 6 months. Really Cheesy Email AddressesIf you are an adult- please don’t make an excuse for why your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org; I realize you registered your email in 1999 but It’s time to make the change. Getting a new email is a fairly simple process- Just take a second of your time to complete the 2 minute registration process at gmail.com- everyone will love your professionalism! Drivers That Have No Concept of A Proper Turn-SignalI know it is somewhat inconvenient to move your hand 3 inches and flip your turn signal on at least 5 seconds before you turn, but I would greatly appreciate it. Hitting your turn signal as you are turning slightly defeats the purpose of it’s existence. Using it properly makes the world a much safer place for everyone! People That Say: ‘EVERY VOTE COUNTS!’I vote and I feel strongly about voting, but the electoral college system for the presidential election is a completely pointless system that would give me no reason to vote if I lived in a completely one sided, predictable state. Please let me know the next time California votes red and Texas votes blue and my opinion may possibly be swayed. The American Court SystemMichael Vick serves 2 years in prison for dog fighting and Casey Anthony walks free without complete and total conclusive proof. Would Peyton Manning have gone to jail for cock fighting? Who decides what is moral and immoral? Who’s to say boxing, trophy hunting, shooting an injured race horse, pet shows or zoos are more morally correct that dog fighting? It is human perception, emotion or the attitude of ‘that is the way its always been done’ that decides what is OK and what is not. Hunters say- ‘its for food’ ‘its for animal control’ or ‘its a sport’ but isn’t it murder nonetheless? no matter how you slice it? Maybe we should ask the animals which one is worse; if it were up to you- would you choose a life of being forced to box other humans or a death sentence if you had an injury and couldn’t walk? I don’t know the answer, its just something to think about. People Who Epically Struggle Using The Self-CheckoutA store self-checkout is designed for those extremely gifted, technologically supreme individuals that needs one or two items and want to get in, get out and get on their way. If you have 40 items or have no idea how to operate this very complex and difficult system- please steer clear of using it. Mathematically Challenged Menus & AdvertisingThis one is a sort of nit picky, but it bothers me a great deal reading a sign that says something along the lines of, “1 cookie…$0.49, 2 cookies…$0.99”; so lets see- if i buy one cookie and come back and buy one more cookie later on I would be a much better shopper because I would be paying $0.98 instead of $0.99! Mathmatics is just not some peoples thing.