Look at it this way: The Braves have played the season without an identifiable outfield. With a rookie first baseman only 38 years old. With a better team on the disabled list at times that they could put on the field. They kept the highway hot between Turner Field and Lawrenceville, but the players involved never had to change their home address.
Two of their historic old-timers spent a lot time in the broadcast booth. They polished up their pitching corps with a kid out of Vanderbilt University, usually a bailiwick of academics. Anyway you looked at it, it was a goofy season that only began to take form after the All-Star Game. They now see how well they can harmonize on their September song. This is their run to glory, or their fall from grace. Take your pick.
Amazing, the way the season has taken shape. Brooks Conrad came out of the back of the pack and rescued about a half-dozen games. Conrad, who had spent the better part of ten seasons running the gamut of the minor leagues. Four seasons he spent in Round Rock, Tex., a nice little town still growing up around Dell Computers. He liked it. “It’s a nice little town,” he said. “The ball park is a beauty, a miniature copy of some of the nicest parks you’ll find in the major leagues.” I agree. I’m prejudiced. I have a son, a daughter-in-law and two granddaughters who live there.
Well, look at the Braves roster now with the September call-ups in effect. They have three first baseman, three catchers, three center-fielders (or allegedly so) and a bullpen that defies arithmetic. Remember, this is a team with a $23-million reliever (Kawakami) and a $60-million starter who’s having trouble finding the kind of job he can handle (Lowe). Yet, they’re doing just handsomely with the surge of Jason Heyward, who’s on his way to rookie of the year, and the two Venzuelans, Martin Prado and Omar Infante.
Stand by for further developments.