Getting re-acquainted with the ’09 Braves has not been a pleasant experience. I can’t remember the last time I saw a major league outfielder drop two fly balls, almost in succession. Thankfully, both were foul balls, but nevertheless, Garret Anderson was still made to look like a modern-day version of Smead Jolley.
Oops, probably shouldn’t have brought up ol’ Smead. He was an outfielder, of course, a helluva hitter with a plus-.300 average in the American League. Hit over .400 one season in the Pacific Coast League, but he was a klutz of a fielder. The Red Sox brought him up and tried to make a leftfielder of him—when there was a slope leading up to the Green Monster. When a ball was hit to leftfield, Smead had to come down that slope to field it, or try to turn around and catch it, if a fly ball. It was like watching a beginning skiier trying to come down an Olympic jump. He spent a pathetic amount of his time sprawled on the grass in Fenway. He hit a ton, but not enough to keep him in the major leagues very long.
Garret Anderson is not an indifferent fielder. But on one of the two flubs in leftfield he did come down in an ungainly heap. He was not the only Brave having a bad night. Except for Kelly Johnson, the Braves were neutered at bat. Only five times did one of them reach base, once on Johnson’s home run. I’m still not aglow about the prospects of this team.
If Chipper Jones were a car, he’d spend too much time in the garage. I wonder if they aren’t expecting too much from the kid centerfielder, Jordan Schafer. Casey Kotchman is a journeyman first baseman, a kind of player who fills his role on a team with the strength of the Angels, but not a star.
And Tom Glavine—sadly, I think it’s over for him. He keeps trying to get over the hump, but it seems the old body is ready to retire. Otherwise, the pitching staff is creditable, but short of pennant strong. We shall now sit back and watch the show unfold, but don’t expect too much too soon. Or at all.