Something memorable will occur

During the final day of last year’s September series in Philadelphia, Jeff Francoeur sat in the dugout and talked about how he was looking forward to being back in that same spot to open this season. 

At the time, he specifically mentioned being here on the afternoon of April 6.  But that was before the Phillies won a World Series and prompted ESPN to choose tonight’s game as the one that will kick off Major League Baseball’s season. 

This marks the second straight year that the Braves will participate in the first game played on United States soil.  Last year in Washington, the Nationals were opening a new stadium and George Bush was present to throw the first pitch, which drew an ovation only trumped by the one elicited after Ryan Zimmerman drilled the evening’s final pitch over the left-centerfield wall.

After tonight, this long marathon will include 161 more regular season games and
there’s sure to be some pitching matchups that will create some
midseason energy.  But until you get to October, it’s hard to match the
adrenaline you feel leading into an Opening Night (Day) game. 

Something will happen tonight that you’ll remember for many years to come.    

I seriously can’t remember the second game that was played during any of the past four seasons.  But  Ihave vivid memories of each of the Opening Day contests that were played during this span.  In 2005, the Marlins ruined John Smoltz’s return to the rotation and in 2006, Tim Hudson teamed with Derek Lowe to allow the Braves and Dodgers to stage an 11-10 offensive slugfest that was decided by Ryan Langerhans’ eighth-inning solo homer.  

In 2007, Edgar Renteria hit a late-inning opposite-field homer that propelled the Braves to victory over the Phillies and then last year, Zimmerman gave Nationals fans reason to celebrate by christening the stadium with its first walk-off homer.

The Braves opened the 2007 season with a three-game sweep in Philadelphia and then, six months later, watched the Phillies celebrate the first of two consecutive division titles.

Obviously nothing will be detemined tonight, this week or even this month.  But you can be assured that something memorable will happen tonight. 

Speaking of memorable, I’m looking forward to July 17, when the Braves retire Greg Maddux’s number.  It was an absolute pleasure to watch him on the mound and a true honor to get to know him.  Analytical, hilarious, crude, competitive and humble are all appropriate descriptions.

To provide an example that his analytical skills functioned away from the mound, I’ll tell you about a day in 2003, when we were in Puerto Rico.  Chipper Jones told me that Mark DeRosa had visited a store and bought a can of dip that he was sure must have been transported on The Mayflower. 

After relaying DeRosa’s humorous line, Maddux simply looked at me and said, “It wouldn’t have been the Mayflower.  I think the Pinta or Santa Maria were the boats that would have landed down here.”

It doesn’t matter whether the Pinta or Santa Maria actually arrived in Puerto Rico.  The point is that Maddux was always thinking and while taking joy in his argumentitive skills, he always made you feel like he was that much smarter than you.  But he always did so in a very humble manner.

Maddux had a great impact on a number of pitchers, including Derek Lowe, who will make his Braves debut tonight against Brett Myers and the Phillies. 

This marks the fourth straight year the Braves have opened on the road and their only two Opening Day wins during this span came in games that were started by Lowe (2006 Dodgers) and Myers (2007 Phillies).

Will Jordan Schafer be the one who provides the lasting memory while making his Major League debut tonight?  Or will it be Francoeur, who would love to take the opportunity to show a national television audience why this year will be so much different than last year.   
 

 

105 Comments

Do you know tonight’s lineups?

My money is on the following:

Johnson
Escobar
C. Jones
McCann
Anderson
Francoeur
Kothchman
Schafer
Lowe

AND

Rollins
Victorino
Utley
Howard
Ibanez
Werth
Feliz
Ruiz
Myers

Thank You. i was curious.

http://metsgo.mlblogs.com/

Thank You. i was curious.

http://metsgo.mlblogs.com/

They haven’t posted the lineups…I’ll probably have them within the next hour.

They haven’t posted the lineups…I’ll probably have them within the next hour.

They haven’t posted the lineups…I’ll probably have them within the next hour.

Where do they get posted? At the stadium? I would think that they are already up at the stadium.

http://metsgo.mlblogs.com/

Where do they get posted? At the stadium? I would think that they are already up at the stadium.

http://metsgo.mlblogs.com/

Can somebody help me? My 2 year-old daughter spilled grape juice on my 1995 ATL Braves locker room t. I have spent hours on ebay and google trying to find a site that sells the t-shirt. Does anyone have any recommendations?
If so, my email address is joeghalimu99@hotmail.com

Tonight’s lineups:
Kelly Johnson Yunel Escobar Chipper Jones Brian McCann Garret Anderson Jeff Francoeur Casey Kotchman Jordan Schafer Derek Lowe.
PHILLIES Jimmy Rollins Jayson Werth Chase Utley Ryan Howard Raul Ibanez Shane Victorino Pedro Feliz Carlos Ruiz Brett Myers

Alright, it’d baseball again!!!
However, Mark, as we have discussed before, I am a little concerned because Derrick Lowe just isn’t a number one guy.
There, I’ve done my part now.
Play Ball!!!!

This game would be a whole lot easier to watch if Steve Phillips wasn’t there. What a moron.
Also, what’s the over under inning on Joe Morgan’s first Jackie Robinson reference? I say 2nd inning.

I loved ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are amazing. But Steve Phillips, ugh. Maybe I can listen to the gameday audio on MLB.TV haha.

I say the fourth inning, rother. He’s got to warm up a little. And I like the attempt at a reverse hex. Hope it works.

Meanwhile, I hope my playing of MLB 09 the Show doesn’t hex Escobar, who broke his ankle and went on the 60 day DL in the first week of the season while sliding into second lol.

I know my wife (an avid Red Sox fan) is happy because she doesn’t have to hear my incessant countdown to the start of this game.

Ball 1. It’s gonna be a good season.

It was good like it was I agree. Let’s just hope Philips doesn’t feel the need to get the last word every time. I didn’t like his work on the WBC telecasts so much.

GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOOOO! Who can? McCann can. Haha Go Braves

You guys think that might keep Phillips quiet for a few minutes about our lack of power?

Who said Mark Bradley can’t make predictions? That early homer should at least calm the nerves of Rother’s ace.

Man
Brian LAUNCHED it. 2nd deck. Just amazing.
Go Braves!

I missed it if they said it. Did they say what the tape measure was on that?

I missed it if they said it. Did they say what the tape measure was on that?

Hey Lowe has already pitched more than Hampton did in like 3 years!

Chipper’s currently batting 1000. Let the 400 watch begin.

It barely made 2nd deck, but Im not sure how far it went.

I missed it if they said it. Did they say what the tape measure was on that?

FRENCHYYYYYYYYYY is BACK!!!!

haha PW. It was fun watching Chipper do that last year.
Maybe McCann will join him this time.
Lowe also has that 0.00 ERA going on.

So excited about Francouer. Hopefully he doesn’t get big headed like he did a few times last year after hitting a homerun.

Never doubted Jeff. Not for a second.

1st major league at bat? Welcome to the show Schafer!!!

Way to start off Scahfer! What a hit. How’s that outfield power now?

Schafer Home Run!!!!!! First At bat!!!!!

Now we only need 26 more homers to beat last year.

It’s so quiet now you can here a cheesesteak drop.

wow!!!!!

Make that 25.

How good do the Braves look so far??? They look great to me.
Schafer took his first step to winning ROY.

“Will Jordan Schafer be the one who provides the lasting memory while making his Major League debut tonight? Or will it be Francoeur, who would love to take the opportunity to show a national television audience why this year will be so much different than last year.”
To answer your question Mark, they will both.

They look loose, and confident, which is a really nice combination. They are having fun right now.

Someone in the dugout is probably giving Escobar crap for having warning track power now. LOL.

Do we know how long McCann’s home run was?

Someone in the dugout is probably giving Escobar crap for having warning track power now. LOL.

The ESPN announcers on the radio said its was 427ft. I dont know though

Good inning by Lowe. I think that double probably should have been foul, but I’m not totally sure.

Lol so this morning I told my friend The Braves would have every batter on the active roster would hit for the cycle and Derek Lowe would throw a complete game no hitter… of course a joke but I think they’re closer to that than anyone would have thought, eh? (not Canadian)

Schafer is hitting 1.000

Lowe won’t have the no-hitter, but Schafer has a chance of hitting for the cycle! lol

Chipper is hitting over .600 so far.

JScaffer
KJohnson
CJones
GAnderson/MDiaz
BMccan
YEscober
JFrancoer
Kotchman
Pitcher

Yes? No? Thoughts?

Hilarious quote from Braves announcer:
“Can you image Jordan telling his grandchildren about todays game (as Schaffer) “Yeah and by the 6th inning they were just tired of pitching to me”” That was after the Int Walk

No don’t really like it. You should have Frenchy or McCann hitting behind Chipper.

Anyone know that Schafer was a pitcher?
Here is something from Baseball America

“BB: The stuff about converting from pitching and hitting to just pitching full-time is interesting. I know I’ve talked to other guys who have made the switch, like Sean Doolittle, an A’s prospect who was also a pitcher Virginia, and he said it’s hard to get enough reps as both a hitter and a pitcher to develop fully at each. Would you agree with that?

JS: I had no idea in my mind that I’d ever be drafted as a hitter. That never crossed my mind until my senior year when people were just like, “Hey, you can do it.” I was like, “What? Are you kidding me?” I was like, “No, I’m gonna pitch. Leave me alone.” Going through the repetitions, and really it’s just mentally?if you believe you can do something, chances are you’re going to be pretty successful at it.

BB: Do you believe you could get out there and be a pitcher if you put your mind to it?

JS: (laughs) I joke with them sometimes and tell them, “Hey, let me go out there and just throw an inning.” And they’re like, “No, no shot.” I’m like, “Come on, just let me throw one inning, just let me throw a bullpen.” They’re like, “Nah, there’s no way.””

What a play Lowe!

So, 7 innings. 2 hits. 0 runs. He looks like an ace, he sounds like an ace, he… smells… like an ace…

Well, never mind, he’s an ace. And… so is Tim Hudson. And so is Hanson. What are we going to do come September, seriously? Heck, Jair Jurrjens could be an Ace, and Kawakami and Vazquez have served in those roles before.

I hate these announcers, though.

Haha, I like that quote, Darion.

KEPT LOWE IN!!!! I know you dont want to over use him but a shutout here could shut those Mets/Phillies fans up, plus a shutout looks great on a All Star Pitcher’s resume!

So if I was a Phillie batter I would expect a sinker EVERY PITCH, seriously this is just sad for the defending champs

Has Rother deemed Lowe an ace yet?

Well after today, I think he should. What a performance by Derek Lowe tonight.

Damn you Bobby! Lowe was on fire!!!

Lowe’s out now, so I can’t change anything. You’re welcome.

I’m a little concerned about our strikeouts. We have struck out 10 times tonight. That’s a bit too much.

Lowe is absolutely an Ace. It was a joke that these ESPN people could stand up there and say he wasn’t in the first place.

9in inning rally, Braves lose…(Because Lowe was taken out) Sorry fellow Braves fans

Won’t happen KK

Well I’ll be damned

There’s one.

Lets go BABY!!!

I was so nervous when Howard came up to bat…

THere’s the other, Tasty Kakes for all!!!!!

NICE GAME!!

That IDIOT is apologizing for the Phillies not winning. What a Jack ??OFF???

Great win. 1 win down, more to come for this year.

Mark I told you I had to keep that one for tonight. Lowe was great tonight.

Now the guys can play relaxed right from the start. Very, very good news for the Braves.

I was more nervous of the possible walks from the Phillies, but I remember John Smoltz talking about purposely throwing balls to make the count full during clutch time to make the hitters nervous when Smoltz full well knew his command was on it to get a strikeout…Wonder if Gonzo did the same thing

That IDIOT is apologizing for the Phillies not winning. What a Jack ??OFF???—–Who??

Joe Morgan

So the memorable events tonight have to be Francouer roping the first pitch he saw, along with B-Mac’s second deck shot and Jordan’s first AB for a CF shot.

And, of course, Lowe’s 8 shutout innings. 14 pitches in his final two innings combined. What an outing.

Joe Morgan. Sigh.

Man – I couldn’t have asked for a better opening game. I hate the analyst though. I was fed up of them referring to Jordan Schafer as Logan Schafer.
Also – how’s this for irony?
During McCann’s at bat here is a paraphrase from Steve Phillips. “Brian McCann hitting cleanup is a testament to the lack of power that the Braves have this year.”
McCann deposited the next pitch in the upper deck.
During Schafer’s at bat, here’s another paraphrase from Miller – “I don’t know why Myers is pitching around this rookie. They should really go after him with fastballs.”
Schafer deposited the next pitch in the center field seats.

Not sure if my heart can take 161 more games like that…

Reminds me of the reason Chipper gave for becoming a switch hitter. It’s easier to hit breaking pitches if they are breaking into you. Both of those hits in the 9th were off that slider coming into the right handers. Gonzo is gonna have to fix that.

Great win!! Couldn’t have asked for anything better.

They played an awesome game. They got out to a fast start, killed the crowd, and took care of business. Well done all the way around.

I’ll have to wait til the game is archived and the national blackout is lifted to check that out… Joe margan is a horrible commentator, he is the reason why I returned MLB 2K8 4 days after I bought it and why it was muted on my 2nd 3rd and 4th games

My thoughts about tonight:
I hate Kelly Johnson in the lead off spot and I always have.
Gonzalez needs to calm down.
Lowe should have completed the game and the shutout. I don’t care if it’s the first game. He was in the zone and it was obvious that the Phils were excited to see someone else.
Gonzalez should not have been brought in to face a right handed hitter either.
I love our team! It will be exciting to see Schafer and Hanson battle for ROY and Frenchy should be making room on his mantle for comeback player of the year. Lowe will win at least 15 games. I’m stoked!!!

Lowe should have completed the game and the shutout. I don’t care if it’s the first game. He was in the zone and it was obvious that the Phils were excited to see someone else.——– AGREED!!!!

We all agree Hanson is ready, but here’s the question of the day, what will be the circumstance that trigger’s his call up, and if it isn’t a pitching injury, who goes down to make room?
Glavine throws a simulated game Tuesday in Gwinnett if anyone is interested.

Way to go Lowe.. Looked like an ACE to me.. Saw some power tonight, however, that is a very homerun friendly ballpark.. Strikeouts need to be cut out by half.. And I like Steve Philips as an anouncer more than Morgan and Miller.. Dont understand why Lowe didnt finish it ( that was our problem last year, no innings from our starters).. Now that we have the starters that can go the distance we need to use that to our advantage.. But overall i was impressed so far and this could be our year to be back on top of the NL East.. GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!

It would have been interesting if Lowe had come to hit in the top of the ninth. I’d have considered walking him if I was Manuel to get him on the bases and try to force Bobby’s hand that way. Bobby just made it easy for them by pinch hitting.

Well that’s one win, 161 more to go til the playoffs!!

It’s an interesting question you asked rother (re: Hanson call-up), as I’ve been thinking about the same thing in light of everyone discussing that the call-up is inevitable. It’s hard to fathom scenarios absent injury where he comes up….though with last year’s experience it may be difficult to fathom scenarios where an injury doesn’t occur. I’d rank our starters in this order of most-likely to least-likely to experience injury this year: 1) Glavine, 2) Kawakami (shoulder fatigue already?), 3) Jurrjens (188 innings last year, never pitched more than 150 in a season prior), 4) Vazquez, 5) Lowe. However, if the injury happens prior to late-May/early-June and it’s short in nature, Reyes is likely to be the guy. I’ve read in a few places the “ideal” scenario would be for Hanson to get 100-150 innings at the major this year, and they’re going to want to delay that arb. clock as well.
As for non-injury scenarios….Lowe, Vazquez, and Jurrjens I believe are set even if they had a really bad start. Though I suppose if Jurrjens really struggled he could get relegated the way Chuck James was after his initial breakout campaign. It also doesn’t strike me likely that in his very last year of baseball (probably) Glavine would go to the bullpen. He doesn’t really have the “stuff” at this point in his career to be a short-term guy and with Campillo and Carlyle the need for a long reliever seems limited. Additionally, for better or worse, Glavine’s our only lefty starter and is the biggest change of pace from the remainder of the starters. My absolute guess on this issue would be Kawakami for half a year if the issue was forced (again, not likely in light of the contract he’s signed to). I also don’t think the Braves organization would be interested in bringing up Hanson in a relief role ala Chamberlain as that seems like it’s more a mess than a solution. So, my rankings of starters most to least-likely to just get shifted out of a starting position would be: 1) Kawakami, 2) Glavine, 3) Jurrjens, 4-tie) Vazquez/Lowe. In other words, I don’t know the scenario absent injury where it happens……I just said it in a very long way.

I think what will end up happening is Hanson splitting time with Glavine and/or Kawakami. We can’t go with a 6 man rotation since Lowe, Vazquez, and Jurrjens need as much time on the mound as possible.

The situation will sort itself out. Someone will be hurt or having a crappy year by June. If not, you just take the worst person and move them to the bullpen/triple-A/release(Glavine)/diagnose with an anxiety disorder. I could see Kawakami moving to the bullpen, but probably not Vazquez, Jurrjens, or Lowe. Or Glavine, really. And if an injury occurs before late-May, Reyes or Campillo can fill in until then.

I’m leaning towards spot starts in ATL on days he Hanson would normally be pitching for Gwinnett. He can come up and down that way without messing with his schedule, and spell the guys in Atlanta doing so. Beyond that, I just can’t see it, even if he is on fire on Gwinnett. Too many veteran contracts for quality arms in the rotation.

Did anyone else find it odd that they never showed a replay of Escobar’s “double”? Even the fan in the outfield signaled homerun with his hand. Am I the only one that found that odd? ESPN showed a replay of EVERY play… except that one. I found that interesting. Can’t the umpires review those plays now? Even if there were a question… how it is it that they never showed that?
I guess that’s just my conspiracy theory
We’re not going to fare well against left-handed pitching… that concerned me. As soon as they brought the left specialist in, we were shut down.

I also found it odd there was no review, I thought it was gone for sure. All is well that ends well though and only Escobar’s fantasy owners were actually hurt.
– Toby
http://welcometotheshow.mlblogs.com/

rother, I could not believe that they did not show a reply, especially, because, as you said, the fan signaled home run with his hand. If my memory serves me correctly, when the fan circled with his hand, he did so while keeping his hand under the railing, as if he was trying to disguise it. Maybe the cameras didn’t have a good shot of it so the announcers were told not to discuss it, but yes, I was shocked, since that’s usually the kind of thing that they will replay and discuss ad nauseum.

I found it strange as well that they didn’t at least show a replay of Escobar’s home run turned double, but when Bobby didn’t come out and at least contest it, then I figured it must have really been off the wall. Not sure why a guy wearing a Philly’s jersey would have been signaling for a home run though (even if it really was). Makes you wonder about the fans in Philly…..

Speaking of their fans, I work with a guy that is die hard, so of course I couldn’t just let last night go. So, I sent him and email this morning telling him how happy I was that I got to hear so much about Ryan Howard’s weight loss and how he can be so much better than what he currently is. It got me thinking about how much weight Ryan Howard has really lost.? I mean we all know that Big Mac has dropped about 25 pounds and he blasted that shot into the second deck. So, after some highly scientific measurements and a 93 MPH fastball right down the middle of the plate, it has been determined that Ryan Howard has lost 0-4 or 5 pounds.

Now please tell me that I don’t have to explain that to any of you true blue Braves fans, like I did to that guy.

I found it strange as well that they didn’t at least show a replay of Escobar’s home run turned double, but when Bobby didn’t come out and at least contest it, then I figured it must have really been off the wall. Not sure why a guy wearing a Philly’s jersey would have been signaling for a home run though (even if it really was). Makes you wonder about the fans in Philly…..

Speaking of their fans, I work with a guy that is die hard, so of course I couldn’t just let last night go. So, I sent him and email this morning telling him how happy I was that I got to hear so much about Ryan Howard’s weight loss and how he can be so much better than what he currently is. It got me thinking about how much weight Ryan Howard has really lost.? I mean we all know that Big Mac has dropped about 25 pounds and he blasted that shot into the second deck. So, after some highly scientific measurements and a 93 MPH fastball right down the middle of the plate, it has been determined that Ryan Howard has lost 0-4 or 5 pounds.

Now please tell me that I don’t have to explain that to any of you true blue Braves fans, like I did to that guy.

Joe Morgan sucks, he really does. There was no reason for his remarks last night. The Braves played their hearts out and he acted like it was all just a joke. He should be ashamed of himself. Totally unbecming of an announcer. It was the same as turning on SNY and listening to Keith Hernandez worship the entire Mets team and bust on everyone else. Otherwise, MArk, you are a god. You guessed it perfectly that we were gonna see something special from Jeff and Jordan and it sure as hell did.

Joe Morgan sucks, he really does. There was no reason for his remarks last night. The Braves played their hearts out and he acted like it was all just a joke. He should be ashamed of himself. Totally unbecming of an announcer. It was the same as turning on SNY and listening to Keith Hernandez worship the entire Mets team and bust on everyone else. Otherwise, MArk, you are a god. You guessed it perfectly that we were gonna see something special from Jeff and Jordan and it sure as hell did.

sorry about the double post, my computer hates me :(

JOE MORGAN IS A HALL OF FAMER. JOE MORGAN KNOWS MORE ABOUT BASEBALL THAN YOU EVER WILL…. I waste my time reading these dumb posts by what seems to be a gang of middle schoolers, and eventhough I should just read Bowman’s Blog and leave, I feel it is necasary to tell you guys that NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR OPINION. Comments to discuss the article are one thing, I dont need YOUR analysis too! Theres a reason youre not a sportswriter… YOU DONT MAKE SENSE!

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