August 12, 2010 – On the morning radio I heard the voice of Buck Belue, Valdostan by birth, former quarterback, current partner in the crime of sports talk radio with the carpetbagger from Philadelphia, John Kinkade. And let me give Kinkade a pass here, for this was all Belue. He, the alumnus of Georgia, was doing some kind of spiel that ended something like this:
“I am the one who threw that touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott against Georgia Tech in 1980,” and I darn near fainted.
Did I miss something along the way? Did I mis-hear it (vocabulary by Roger Clemens)? So I waited for a second show, for they do repeat themselves frequently on talk shows. And sure enough, he did.
Belue again: “I am the one who threw that touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott against Georgia Tech in 1980.”
Belue, surely you meant Florida. You did throw a touchdown pass against Georgia Tech in 1981, but that was ROUT. Nobody remembers THAT one.
Somehow, it seems that Leo Mazzone can’t get Bruce Chen out of his hair now that he’s another one of those radio talking guys. He was the Braves pitching coach when Chen came up, labeled their No. 1 pitching prospect. Frankly, Mazzone was not impressed, and his disdain surfaced during spring training, and in time, Chen was gone.
His next life was a ride on the merry-go-round of a pitcher not able to make his nest. From the Braves to the Phillies, the Mets, the Reds, the Orioles. the Rangers and Kansas City, his latest stop.
Mazzone left the Braves for Baltimore and a fat contract, and there, if you can imagine, who was one of his pitchers? Bruce Chen, who had a record of 13-7 the season before. But this was a marriage that would not survive. Chen was gone before long, and not too long afterward, Mazzone was gone, too, but to broadcasting, not coaching. The Oriole act had come apart and Peter Angelos cleaned house.
Meantime, Chen has kept his major league papers, and during all these nomadic years has accumulated over $6 million in salary. The Royals were playing the Yankees the other day, Chen matched against the great, the high-salaried C.C. Sabbathia. Well, Leo couldn’t resist, couldn’t get the distaste for Bruce Chen out of his mouth. That was his pitching mismatch of the day, and he broadcast it with glee.
Sometimes it’s best to bite your lip and move on. Forget it, Leo.
Sometimes trades like this get lost in the flow of history. But in 1971, the New York Mets traded four players, Don Rose, Leroy Stanton, Francisco Estrada AND Nolan Ryan to the California Angels for infielder Jim Fregosi, now a Braves scout. This is the same Nolan Ryan who headed a consortium that paid around $600-million to buy the Texas Rangers the other day. After all the scrambling trading that took place around the deadline, I’d say that the Texas Rangers fared best of them all when they made the deal for Cliff Lee, a game-changer. One of the “prize” prospects the Rangers sent to Seattle, Justin Smoak, has already been dispatched to the minors.
Best decisions Bobby Cox made last spring: Settling on Brooks Conrad for his bench and Jonny Venters for his bullpen. And tell me, from the heart, do you really think Bobby is going to retire after this season? And walk away from a team like these Braves, with all those glory prospects down on the farm? Just asking.