Does Cox still have some magic in his tank?

When Jeff Bennett decided to be the one doing the hitting earlier this week, Braves manager Bobby Cox said that the reliever’s decision to punch a door wasn’t exactly smart.  Then he added that it was at least encouraging to see that Bennett cared.
 
Using this same logic, I guess many Braves fans are proving that they still have some passion while questioning whether Cox is the right man to lead this year’s team. 

Dating back to the days when Cox was leading the Braves into the postseason on an annual basis, there was always a small group of fans who questioned his tactical approach.  But this seems to be the first year that a growing legion is questioning whether his time has passed.
 
As our faithful blogger Rother pointed out in the comments section earlier this week, Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno are among the most recent coaching legends who have heard fans question whether they’re too old to prolong the traditions of excellence that they established at their respective universities. 
 
Like Bowden with Florida State and Paterno with Penn State, Cox is the man most responsible for the fact that the Braves transformed from laughingstock to a perennial championship contender.  He rebuilt the Minor League system during the late 1980’s and then served as an unmatched general while leading the Braves to an unprecedented 14 consecutive division titles. 

About five years ago, I wrote that Cox had earned the right to continue managing the Braves as long as he desires.  As I’ve had the opportunity to be around this game longer, I’ve come to view that as a  short-sighted comment that should never be made in reference to any legend, regardless of their accomplishments. 
 
Still I’m not ready to concede that Cox isn’t the right man for this job.   This year’s team possesses flaws that extend beyond the fact that the offense hasn’t adequately backed a strong starting rotation.   But while this clubhouse might not be as harmonious as some of the recent ones that have existed in Atlanta, the fault shouldn’t squarely be placed on the manager.
 
The Braves have pushed for Yunel Escobar to enhance his knowledge of the English language and he told them that he intended to do so this past offseason.  But other than the expletive he mouthed toward the press box after being charged with an error on Thursday, I haven’t seen him provide much indication that he’s willing to speak anything other than Spanish.

With limited communication skills and his stubborn personality, Escobar has proven to be both unable and unwilling to fully grasp the messages that veterans like Chipper Jones and the Braves coaching staff have attempted to deliver over the course of his two years at the Major League level.
  
Like Bowden and Paterno, Cox has reached a point where he has to rely more heavily on his assistant coaches.  Within this framework, the responsibility of guiding Escobar has been placed on the shoulders of bench coach Chino Cadahia, who at least attempted to show provide some discipline after the shortstop displayed his unprofessional reactions on Thursday.
 
As for Garret Anderson,  there isn’t anybody who was going to be able to alter the lifeless approach that he’s developed throughout his 16-season Major League career.
 
Provided no other external alternatives, Cox pushed for the Braves to sign Anderson during February’s final week and the veteran outfielder has at least rewarded him with consistent offensive production that lacks power.
 
But while Anderson’s bat has been solid, his defensive skills have proven to be worse than expected.   His limited range has been on display throughout the season and he certainly didn’t gain any supporters  on Friday night, when he didn’t even react to Dustin Pedroia’s high chopper  until it landed in shallow left field.
  
Instead of publicly ripping Escobar or Anderson, Cox has continued to shower them with the same kind of support that Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson have been provided while proving to be this year’s top two offensive disappointments.
 
While this approach might prove maddening to fans while the team is losing, it’s one that allowed for the dramatic turnarounds the 1991, 1993 and 2004 clubs experienced on their way to division titles. 

So for now, I’m just going to maintain the belief that Cox has earned the right to prove he still has some magic in the tank.  

49 Comments

Mark, I understand what you are saying, but my question is how long? The Braves haven’t finished better than third in the last three seasons and are on pace to lose another 90 games this season. So how many more seasons is it going to take before something changes? Should the Braves be a below .500 team for 5 years in a row? 6 years? You can’t keep a coach around for as long as he likes just because of what he’s done in the past. Braves fans need something to get excited about soon.

I don’t think the manager has that much impact on a baseball team. The main issue is that the Braves have no money to spend. Can you imagine if this team had Mark Texiera and Adam Dunn, instead of Anderson and Kochman – big difference. They got burned so bad by injuries last year that they made sure that they had pitching depth. If they would have known how well the pitching would have been, they could have maybe passed on Lowe or KK and used that money for offense. I would be more than happy with Vasquez, JJ, Hanson, Charlie Morton (if not traded), Glavine, Medlin, and either KK or Lowe. Let’s see how they play in July. Hopefully Lowe will return to form. Go Braves.
Has anybody noticed JF looks much better at the plate?

acziffer, a huge myth in baseball is that the Braves don’t have money. Last season the Braves were 10th in payroll in the MLB. In other words, 20 teams had a smaller payroll than the Braves (two of those teams went to the world series), yet they still lost 90 games. Maybe it’s over spending, I don’t know. But the thing about it is, in sports the head coach takes the heat when a team is not playing well. So my question is: how many more losing seasons before the front office say “thanks, but no thanks” to renewing Cox’s contract?

Mark, I’m pretty disappointed to see you writing in response to some of these pathetic fans who have been posting recently. The “fire bobby”, “wren is a moron”, “demote yunel” people are absolute jokes. Acziffer was right in saying that if there was 1 player in the outfield or 1B who could hit for power and avg then the braves would have won about 10 more games so far. You know, sometimes you have to use your closer more than you want to; sometimes the relievers blow games; sometimes your SS gets frustrated and makes stupid mistakes. But you can’t win without hitting! And to those that think the guys will start to hit if Bobby starts yelling and calling them out, well… I’m surprised you can use a computer, or even string together words into semi-full thoughts.
I think I’m going to have to stop reading this blog because most of the comments on here piss me off so much.

Oh Jake.. Remember the Braves’ entire pitching staff went down last year? Did Bobby do that? Pay attention, people.

vivabeta, that’s a good point. I’m not saying that firing Bobby Cox is what the Braves need to do right now. What I AM saying is that eventually something is going to have to change. Every year we can make excuses as to why we’re losing, but the fact is that we are still losing! I just don’t want this thing to get out of hand, where we’re finishing under .500 every season and we keep all our coaching staff around because of what they did for us 10 years ago.

The things that need to change are LF, RF (hopefully not), and 2B.

Hey, we’re all in this together. We all want to see this team do well, that’s why we’re fans. You don’t have to get so worked up when some people have other opinions on how a team can better themselves than you do. We don’t have any say in what goes on anyway, we’re just discussing our opinions.

I agree with vivabeta, this team has had enough P.R. problems this year. A coach can only do so much it’s on the the players to perform up to their abilities. With Bobby being a players manager I doubt the players want to go on a hot streak or a winning streak so the media can say that he was the reason that the players were under performing.

If any coach should be on the hot seat it should be Terry. When was the last time has any one heard a player praise him on how much he has helped them. I’ve heard players say how Chipper has helped them. Now I’m not calling for him to be fired because I’m nothing more than an outsider looking in as many of us are.

Cox needed to retire two years ago. Atlanta fans are too soft. Yankees let go of Torre after 4 rings. everyone complains about Cox been too soft with Francour and others but fan are doing same to Cox. Put fire in him and watch attitude change.

My position on the issue is rather neutral. Bobby Cox has always struggled with the tactical and strategically aspect of the game. Particularly over-use of 1-run strategies, intentional walks, bullpen roles selection (though I think he’s done a wonderful job of that this season, a 180 from years past), and bullpen overuse. But it’s always been my opinion that you don’t win or lose too many games because of that. I scrutionize his decision making, but I’ve never thought it would be enough reason to warrant a change. We sort of miss the forest for the trees when we do that. The manager’s main job is to maintain clubhouse chemistry and get the most out of his players. And despite Bobby’s awful on-field decisions, I’ve always thought he did such a great job of the important things (namely getting 100% out of the players) that I lived with his sub-optimal strategies.
Well, he’s still making the same bad on-field decisions. But I’m not convinced he is still capable of doing the most important part of his job. The clubhouse chemistry issues with Kotchman, Garret, and Escobar have been well-documented. Additionally, I don’t see many players giving 100%. The mental mistakes and lack-luster at-bats tell it all. Maybe it’s a perception problem. Maybe it isn’t Bobby’s fault. But this team has under-achieved for 4 straight years. And if Bobby is responsible for the clubhouse chemistry issues, the lack of full mental and physical effort, and the gross underachievement; it is indeed time for him to go. I tend to think it probably is his time to go, but I don’t pretend to know.

The Yankees didn’t let Torre go. He got sick of dealing with Steinbrener’s crap and left himself.

The braves have sacrificed their offensive minor league talent for pitching and they keep signing pitchers. Ask the Dodgers of a couple years ago about pitching and no hitting. They are going to have to go for speed in the post steriod era. Right now they can’t hit and they can’t run or they don’t choose to run. What will help the team the most, right now is a lead off hitter/Second baseman who can run. When Omar Infante comes back, if they don’t trade for someone before hand, he needs to be the everyday second baseman. This will let Nate move to a run producing slot in the order. If you are not going to trade for an outfielder with power let the backup catcher play left field. He has power and would be no more of a defensive liability than Garrett Anderson.

The offense is WEAK on talent, and no one is hitting. Its clear that the Braves need to add someone who can hit homeruns on a regular basis. (More than 10 by this time at least) Bobby Cox is not to blame for guys not hitting the baseball; the men on the field are not winning anything.

AND I think that Yunel Escobar is a terrific talent, and if the Braves trade him for someone else’s young player it could turn out to be another in a long line of disappointing, misguided, and regretful personnel trades.

The more I look at the stats, the more skeptical I become.

NATE MCCLOUTH has huge offensive numbers because he played for the offensive powerhouse known as the Pittsburgh Pirates.

If only we could replace dopey Garret Anderson with the POWER THREAT of Nyjer Morgan.

I’ve admired cox whole my life, but a change must come, obviously there is a lack of motivation in this team, we have a great starting rotation but at the mean time the worst hitting team in whole league, with all respect I think we need to change all coaches including Cox.
It looks like many players don’t enjoy playing baseball anymore
Cheers,
PS Wren must hit the road

Great comments by PWHjort. The Braves are under-achieving. They have poor clubhouse chemistry. Play has been lackadaisical, with poor fundamentals and poor execution. Those are all on the manager. What would be the downside to Bobby leaving, other than Terry Pendleton – the batting coach for an offensively challenged team – is his heir apparent. Sometimes you fire a coach or manager to send a message to the team, or maybe the entire organization, that the status quo is unacceptable. The Rockies fired Clint Hurdle and caught fire. Bobby’s 14 division championships are an albatross holding back the team from making the changes needed now. Bobby WILL leave the Braves one day, by his choice or theirs.

I dont understand how in this situation its a coaching problem. There grown adults, if you need to tell them to go out there and give it there all then, there is a problem with the player, this isnt little league, where the coach has to tell 12-13 yr olds to pay attention to the game. The problem is b/c there the player nothing they do is bad, if a coach tries to punish them, they run to higer managment for example Willie Randolph and Jose Reyes.. The players run the teams now not the managers and that is where the problem lies in most cases… SO lets start docking pay and or suspending players and if that doesnt work then you release them.. Its that simple

I dont understand how in this situation its a coaching problem. There grown adults, if you need to tell them to go out there and give it there all then, there is a problem with the player, this isnt little league, where the coach has to tell 12-13 yr olds to pay attention to the game. The problem is b/c there the player nothing they do is bad, if a coach tries to punish them, they run to higer managment for example Willie Randolph and Jose Reyes.. The players run the teams now not the managers and that is where the problem lies in most cases… SO lets start docking pay and or suspending players and if that doesnt work then you release them.. Its that simple

Sometimes, I do think Bobby should go, but I just don’t see it happening anytime soon. With all the drama over Smoltz and Glavine, the FO isn’t going to make a move this season. The best we can do is hope for next season when it comes to Bobby Cox.

I can understand both viewpoints, but I approach the situation by asking myself this question, “Would a different manager really make all that much difference?” I think the answer to that question is no. Look at our lineup today….Diory Hernandez, Gregor Blanco….what? Then throw in Francoeur, Anderson, Kotchman and it’s no wonder why our offense is absolutely pathetic. Now, if our team was stacked with All-Stars like the Red Sox or Yankees and we still had a record of 6-below .500, then I’d be calling for the manager’s head. But this is ridiculous…simply because Bobby has so little to work with. Our some of his on-field decision questionable? Sure. But I agree with PWHjort, in that a manager’s biggest responsibility is in the clubhouse. That said, is it Bobby’s fault that Yunel is a hothead and immature? It’s been well documented that the Bobby has let Yunel hear it on several occasions, including a recent mid-game benching. Is it Bobby’s fault that Anderson is virtually lifeless out in the field? I don’t think so; Garrett has played 16 seasons and isn’t about to change at this stage in his career. But Anderson is who we have and, with the lack of funds, the Braves are in no position to do anything about it. Another point: I don’t necessarily agree with all the decisions Wren has made, but anyone who watched the Braves last season and saw what they put out on the mound day in and day out can appreciate what Wren has done to revamp the staff. And all that revamping without giving up on our future by trading away the likes of Heyward, Hanson, etc.

Something I want to throw out there for naysayers. When John Scherholz took over as GM, there were a lot of people calling for his head. (granted some thought he was nuts to leave the prize winning Royals for the basement dweller Braves) but is history repeating itself with Frank Wren? Those Braves in ’90 lost A LOT of games under the then new GM.

And have you ever noticed that the people that call for Wren’s head are usually the same people that attribute the Texeira trade (from Texas) to Wren and not to Scheurholz?

Cox should be offered a position within the offices of the team. I think that He should be brought up stairs, Pendleton should be shown where the Turner Field exit is, and possibly have the turf guys drive him to it on their cart. Bring up Wellman as hitting coach or possibly manager, if hitting coach(reasoning is last year he helped get Francouer to raise his average, you can see my blog for more on that though). We could lure Jaramillo away from the Rangers with a fairly large salary and then we would have Baseball America’s number one assistant coach as our head coach and an exciting can’t blink your eyes in hopes he throws a fit like he did a couple years ago at Mississippi. His fire is what makes me think he would be a good manager and it was said a few years ago that Jeff Blauser was to be in line for manager when he was the Miss. Braves manager and now Wellman is in the same position now that Blauser has been fired.

geez this team couldn’t hit my Grandmother in a crosswalk. This is reality check time people. I love Bobby and I love all those magical years he gave us, but you will never change the chemistry of this team without a change in management. For those of you who say “managers don’t matter” try looking at the Dodgers(they have a salary structure almost equivalent to the Braves). They are 22 games over .500.

John Scheurholz needs to start fresh. Bobby has had a great run. TP definitely needs to find a new home. A new young inspired baseball guy may yet light a fire under these uninspired players. For all of the guys who claim “these guys are grownups and they are responsible for how they play” I suggest that you have either never played sports or have forgotten how important your coaches were. Have you forgotten that 4 years of different players are now producing alnmost identical results?

We need help, it needs to be dramatic, it needs to start at the top and the personnel issues will follow. It’s the only way you can turn this ocean liner. A dramatic change may be able to correct the tea

team chemistry and the conflicts that are tearing this team apart

We are NOT underperforming this year. We are performing how the vast majority thought we would…that is, 3rd to 4th best in our division. We had way too many holes in our team to be able to right the ship completely this past offseason. I think we need to give Bobby a “winning” roster and see how they do. If we still don’t perform, then you have a great reason for change. No manager could win with this team. Period. What- bring a passionate manager like Wellman and he’s going to be able to inspire the likes of Anderson, Kotchman, Francoeur, Diory Hernandez (who has started a number of games for us this year) to the playoffs? Seriously? No, those players are who they are….average (and that’s being generous in some cases) at best. We haven’t made the playoffs the last several years not because of Bobby but because our teams have been inferior, in several ways, to other teams.

Heck, the way our team is playing, im up for using the training techniques they used in the Major League movie series. Do we need to hire a ballet instructor to make Garret Anderson and Chipper more limber? How often do our guys spend in the batting cage (aside from the 45 min before the game)? Does Bobby need to grab someone’s contract and throw it on the grass infront of the mound and urinate on it?

Do we have some cardboard cut out of a woman who we hate that we strip off pieces when we win games? Boy, I’d like to hear Bobby Cox make that inspirational speech.

I was watching Stan Kasten’s remarks to the National Press Club lunch on C-SPAN, and he recounted a recent anecdote that I think is on point for this discussion. He was asked a question about Manny Acta (and who his successor should be), and Stan’s response (and please excuse any paraphrasing I do) was that just a couple of days ago he was talking to to the young, brilliant manager of the Boston Red Sox, Terry Francona, and Stan said to Terry: “Remember, when everyone thought you were a dunce managing the Philadelphia Phillies?” Terry’s response was: “Trust me, I’m still the same dunce, I just have better players.”
I can understand the arguments on both sides of the Bobby Cox debate. As the cliche goes, you can’t get rid of all the players, but you can get rid of all the coaches. It’s tough to know what the “right” thing to do in a situation like Atlanta’s is, but perhaps Francona’s response to Stan’s question is at least reason to pause and remember that a manager will always get more credit than he deserves when a team does well and will always shoulder more blame than he should when the team fails.

Bravo! Encore! Encore!

I agree 100% tomatalk

In support of the comment that this team is not under
performing, I would offer the following: when our team
takes the field, it’s like men playing against boys – and
we certainly ain’t the men.

You can?t keep a coach around a long as he wants. And if I thought Cox was going to be stubborn and simply continue managing simply to manage, I?d view this as a problem. But I?m pretty sure he?s going to know when it?s best for him to step away. He loves this organization and won?t willingly jeopardize its future just to satisfy his own selfish desires.

Cox has said many times that his success has been a product of having great players. While this is true, he is also discounting the role he played while making sure his players stayed motivated on a regular basis over the course of a 162-game season. This year’s roster is filled with some toxic and uninspiring players. It also is burdened by the disappointing seasons produced by Casey Kotchman, Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson. That’s nearly 40 percent of the projected everyday lineup. Right now, this team reeks of mediocrity and I’m inclined to believe that regardless of the manager and coaching staff, this is a team that was destined to battle offensive woes that would keep them out of the postseason for a fourth consecutive season.

As a Penn State fan, I wouldn’t agree more Bowman. What I see more bloggers commenting on though is the batting coach TP. When hitters are supposed to be doing much better than they are, that should be the place where the owners should look. Fire TP and get someone like Dusty Baker, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, etc.

This discussion is one of the better ones we’ve had in this space. Let me clarify something. I am not convinced Bobby should stay or he should go. I don’t have a position. Though I lean towards the latter. On the underperforming issue, our runs scored and allowed have out done our winning percentage and our offensive components have outdone our actual runs scored for a few years now, so yes this team is underperforming. What has been causing this is another issue, but we are underperforming. I will say this, when Bobby stops managing I will be upset if Eddie Perez isn’t chosen to replace him.

Mark – I appreciate this post and especially your comments about Garrett Anderson. He got off to a slow start with the bat and that seemed to get him off on the wrong foot with a lot of people. And even though he has come around lately, it’s clear now that he is simply a reasonably good player who is playing for the wrong team (and in the wrong League).

The Braves don’t really seem to understand what they are as a team. They don’t hit for power, they don’t hit for average and they don’t steal bases. Why should they expect to score a lot of runs, or contend for anything but golf course reservations come October?

Added to this, the entire left side of their defense has been laughable thus far, and this adds to the pressure the pitching staff must feel.

This whole mess has been created not by Bobby Cox, but by a front office that has simply refused to admit the glory years are over. At a time when they should have been dumping players in order to rebuild for the future, they’ve tried a higgly-piggly approach to player trades and acquisitions in order to maintain some sort of hope among fans that they might contend.

So the fault for this wreck of a franchise in my book lies not on the field, but in the offices that lost touch with the reality of their situation, and simply refused to make genuinely tough short-term choices.

Leadership on a sports team is an interesting dynamic to be sure. It doesn’t matter if it is the Braves, or your weekend warrior softball team, people emerge as the leaders that carry good teams forward. The real struggle that I think the Braves have is that the veteran players that perform the best don’t possess leadership personalities (McCann, Anderson) or work ethics (Chipper, Anderson again) and the personalities that are born leaders, and folks Francoeur is one of the best, are not performing at a level where they feel they can step up. So onward we go until Francoeur finds himself, or the Braves bring in a new leader from the outside. Derrick Lowe is that guy for the pitchers. We need the position player version.
I hear all the time that this is Chipper’s team, but a team that takes on Chipper’s personality would be a team that doesn’t run out balls, or hustle much. Wait a minute, maybe this is Chipper’s team after all.
The bottom line is this team just isn’t aggressive enough in their approach. They never put pressure on the opponents, and they always give the extra base away late in the game playing it safe. That is the personality that needs to change, no matter who we want to credit with producing it.

There does seem to be a large void between the Majors and the quality players in the minors right now. Somehow we got to the point where there is a 3 year window for position players that are potential solid major league players. I don’t even think that was caused by the trades lately either. Flowers is in AA at Birmingham, Lillibridge is not nearly what we thought he was coming from Pittsburgh, and Salty has the same basic numbers as Jordan Schafer K/AB ratio anyway. The only “one that got away” is really Andrus, and with Escobar’s rookie season, the Braves obviously went with the “Bird in the hand” knowing that Escobar possesses All Star physical skills.
If we look at the Braves coming out of camp last season, you have a decent hitting lineup with Teixeira in the mix, and a pitching staff that included Glavine, Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Moylan, Soriano, and at least half a season of Gonzalez. If that team stayed healthy, it would have been competitive for the playoffs. But the wheels fell off and we all saw the results. The Teixeira trade netted much less than the Braves thought they were getting in Kotchman, but financially he added to the stability and gave them the flexibility they knew by that point in the season they were going to have to have to get the broken down pitching staff replaced. The only really bad move was Kotsay for a Rookie ball “power guy” who weighs all of 175 pounds and has hit only 2 HRs as a Rome Brave to this point. (Sumoza).
When the BRaves bought a new pitching staff for this season, and sign them all for 3 years, the right thing to do by the way, they effectively ended the chances that the AAA wave of pitchers added to the 40 man during the train wreck that was last season ever had of playing for the Braves. Now we see what they have to do. Morton got us McLouth, that is a good start. Jo Jo and Bennett/Carlyle/Acosta will get us another bat, and so on until we are back balanced like we need to be.
It is hard to document just how disasterous last season’s injuries were to the Braves organization as a whole. It will probably take 2 or 3 years to recover from all of the moves necessitated by the injuries. Why else would Elmer Dessens and Freddie Kruger Tavarez ever get to where a Braves uniform?
Flowers was moved at a time when his value was maxed out. Vazquez was a steal and a great addition. By the time Flowers is ready to start in the Majors the Braves will have gotten years of top quality pitching and maybe another bat. Frank is really doing a very good job. Especially given the Smoltz, Glavine, Chipper, Cox era issues he has to tiptoe through on a daily basis.
I’m patient, Go Braves!!!

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. That is where we stand at right now.

For those that think a manager has not much impact on a team, I aks these questions. Who decides if a player bunts or takes a pitch? Who decides if a player should steal a base or place the hit and run on? Who makes out the line-up and the batting order for that line up? Who decides how long to leave the starting pitcher in and what relief pitcher will be used next when the starter comes out? The answer is the manager.

Talking about payrolls. Just going with the national league there are just 5 teams with higher payrolls than the Braves and they are the Mets, Cubs, Phillies, Astros, Dodgers and then the Braves are 6th. If you look at all ML teams then they Braves are 11th. Florida, Tampa and Colorado have far less payrolls and they have all gone to the world series and they all have better records right now than the Braves. So money is not the reason the Braves are where they are at.

Now let’s look at numbers for this year and compare to some of the other teams.
Batting Average – 10th in the league behind the Dodgers, Mets, Astros, Pirates, Rockies, Giants, Nationals, Cardinels and Phillies.
Home Runs – 13th in league behind Phillies, Rockies, Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Reds, Padres, Nationals, Astros and Dodgers
Runs scored – 12th in the league behind Colorado, Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers, Marlins, Cardinels, Mets, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Nationals and Reds.
ERA – 5th in league behind Dodgers, Giants, Cardinels and Cubs.

Now lets go back in the past to 1991 and compare this year to then with the players from that year to this year.
1991
1b – Bream – .253 avg
2b – treadway – .320
3b – Pendleton – .319
SS – Belliard – .249
CF – Nixon – .297
RF – Justice – .275
LF – Gant – .251
C – Olson – .241
Complete Team Average – .258 HR – 141

2009
1b – Kotchman – .270 average
2b – Johnson – .218
3b – Jones – .290
SS – Escobar – .292
CF – McLouth – .259
RF – Francoeur – .246
LF – Anderson – .280
C – McCann – .323
Complete team average .256 HR – 120

Of course for this year since we are about half way over the 120 for HR’s are doubling where they stand at right now.

So you see, from the 1st year that we started to taste what winning was like to this year the batting average is the same. Also the same manager. So now I ask all what has really changed???

The fire in the team. Yes the players get paid to play a sport that they love. Lucky them. I wish for all of us we could say the same, but in the end it does fall back on the manager to get the most out of his team and ALL the players on that team. Take a look at Video from the 1991 year and you will see a team that played with fire and never thought they were out of a game. Now actually watch the games going forward from today. When the team starts to lose in a game, you can actually see the wind coming out of their sails.
Yes this team does not have the power that other teams have but their power numbers could be better if the following started to happen.

1. Patienece at the plate. Make the pitcher pitch the ball where you want it. I see to many of the Braves swinging at the 1st pitch and either grounding out or popping out. The more you make a pitcher throw a ball, the better chance for a mistake and you might even draw a walk from it. Take note Francoeur!

2. What ever happen to the hit and run play??? I know a lot of teams have got away from this but is there a rule out there that all must follow?? This team is not built for the Homerun so they must explore other options. When you put the hit a run on and the other team knows that this may happen, more fastballs are thrown and then your chance for HR’s increase.

Now to talk about attitudes. I do not care what anyones says, it is up to the manager to run his team not the team to run him. There are 2 players that have issues and that is Escobar and Anderson.
Escobar has a lot of talent but if his attitude cost you games then it is up to the manager to solve the problem. Not fair to the team and most importantly the fans to allow this to continue.
Anderson – Has talent also but watch him play the outfield. Does he know that the game is only played with 1 LF in the game? It seems like he is waiting for someone else to get the ball. Again up to the manager to get the most out of this player especially since this manager was instrumental on bringing this guy here.

There is no way to change the way Anderson is, I will give you that but there is still hope for Escobar but the time is now. If Bobby waits much longer, does the name Milton Bradley mean anything? Milton also has great talent but all the teams he has played for has allowed it to continue to a point that he is what he is and there is no changing him now.

Now I want to compair the Braves to the Rockies starting with the beginning of the season to May 28th.

Rockies – 18 wins 28 losses
Braves – 24 wins 24 losses

May 29th to present
Rockies – 21 wins 7 losses
Braves – 10 wins 28 losses

It is not the Yankees or Redsox that we are talking about, it is the Rockies. Jim Tracy took over on May 29th and you SEE the difference that a team with fire makes.

I again say it is time for Bobby to end his career. Yes he has done a lot for the Braves over the years but this is not the same team as it was in the 90’s and early to mid 00’s.

He has been doing the samething for 20 years. I don’t know about the rest of you out there but if I did the same position for 20 years, I would lose my fire as well and it would reflect on all around me.

So again I will say, “When you forget about the past you are condemen

I just know the fans in Atlanta deserve more than what they have been getting for the past 4 years. Last year was very understandable with the whole starting pitching going down but injuries are a part of life. If last year and lets say 1 more year was all we were talking about, I think the fans would understand that you cannot always be on top but to go from where we were at in 2005 with a lot of baby Braves to now is just unacceptable.

I have been a Braves fan since 1981. From 1983 to 1990 I kept telling myself at the end of each year, maybe next year. From 2006 to now I find myself back to the point that I am saying maybe next year.

So I will say again, “When you forget about the past you will be condemned to repeat it”.

What I want to know is how you guys know so much about the chemistry in the locker room, because I’m pretty sure you have no clue. McCann said he’s having more fun playing with this team than any others before.

I have problems with people saying they are having fun with losing instead of winning. These ball players are paid by the fans to win. If they have fun along the way, even better.
I guess if McCann did say this, it does help explain why the year is going the way it is.

Great comment tazz. Our hitting isn’t great, but I feel like the talent is there (for the most part). What I’m more distressed about is our defense. The Braves are 11th in the NL in Fielding Percentage (.983), but the more telling defensive stat is UZR, where the Braves rank 3rd to last in the Majors…3rd to last. The Braves have a -20 UZR so far this year, and, correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s the number of runs gained or lost compared to a major league average player. Batting averages will jump around (although I’ve given up on JF and KJ), but defense should be solid year round. Just imagine if this team, at the very least, played average defense…then our run differential would be something closer to zero, at the least. Right now it’s -21 (308 RS to 329 RA). Coming into this season, I thought the only major defensive liability would be Anderson, but it looks like Chipper and Yunel are having horrible defensive years too (GA: -6.4, CJ: -7.7, and YE: -6.2). I don’t think this team is done for the year, but any significant change is probably going to come in the offseason. I doubt our offensive woes will improve too dramatically this season, but at the very least, some fire should help the team when they’re on the field. I’m not in favor of sacking any coaches in the middle of the season, but if that can start a fire like it did for the Rockies, then by all means…PS: Who do you think would replace either TP or Bobby (since they seem to be the two mentioned a lot recently) either during this season, or during the off-season, or as heir-apparent, either internally or externally? I’ve heard Brad Mills, the BoSox’s bench coach, and Ned Yost mentioned so far as potential Bobby replacements in the future.

tazz you obviously put time into your comments but the one thing im going to disagree with is some of your comparisons. if you are going to compare lets make sure we are comparing apples to apples, if you look at the rockies schedule vs. the braves schedule since may 29th there is no comparison! Lets see the rockies play boston twice and the yankees ( thats a third of our schedule since may 29th). As for the problems on our team it is very evident that there is great chemistry in the club house and the guys love playing w/ eachother as well as for bobby cox. The only coach i can see whose job should be in jeopardy is TP, and thats again pretty evident. however, the MAIN problem on this team and i can not stress it enough is KJ. I would send him down so quick and play Martin prado everyday until omar is off the DL, and the other problem that needs to be addressed is LF. At this point GA is at leasting proving that he would be a decent DH in the AL so we need to find a power bat to complimet MAC and Protect Chipper who isnt a defensive liability. All in all we are only 5 gms out with a huge series starting vs. philly a team who thus far we have had some success with. LETS GO BRAVES!!!!!

Bravefan62 yes the Braves did play 2 very solid teams and 1 of them twice. The Rockies however played the Dodgers during the month span. They also played Milwaukee and Pittsburgh just like we did during that span and the rockies went 6-0 against those two teams while we went 3-4 against them.
My point for what I typed is yes they played some weaker teams but they did take full advantage of it. On the other hand, we did not. If we would have won the series against Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati we would be looking at our record being 39-36

All in All we have to win the series that we are suppose to win to have a shot at the east.

I have one burning question that I would LOVE for someone to answer for me. Why doesn’t Bobby bat Casey Kotchman 2nd?????? This is driving me absolutely NUTS!!!! He did this for a stretch and we scored plenty of runs until Casey got hurt in Arizona when he was hit by that pitch on the shin. Casey is the PERFECT man to bat 2nd!!! He doesn’t have speed but he can draw walks and get base hits and that’s all you need in front of Chipper and Brian. I am sick of seeing Yunel ground into double plays!!! Finally Bobby quit putting Yunel batting 2nd. How long should it have taken to realize that Yunel grounds into WAY TO MANY double plays when the lead off batter gets on????? And then to top this off he put Kelly batting 2nd yesterday!!!! That is laughable!!! Kelly should be on the bench with Frenchy. Put Prado and Blanco in their places!!! I can’t wait for Omar to come back so he can REPLACE KELLY. If Bobby doesn’t do this then I am through with the Braves this year. I will just wait until training camp opens for football. Bobby plays favorites way tooooo much!!! If the guy isn’t getting the job done then BENCH HIM!!! Just like last year when Joe Simpson was basically begging Bobby to put Blanco in leadoff instead of Kelly and Yunel. It seams we always start the game off with 2 outs when those to morons bat 1 and 2 but ole Bobby cant see this or either he is playing favorites and doesn’t want to see it. I am sick of watching the same batting order produce no runs when you can put Casey batting second and see what happens!!!

I’m amazed at the brilliance of these comments. Wow… most of you should be coaching or have a management job in Major League Baseball.
Anderson was hired for his BAT, similar to BONDS in San Fransico, except no steroids.
The Yankees have proved that money can’t buy the championship. Their World Series run came with the emotional fortitude of the players, not the coaches or management.
The Braves mediocre run came off the backs of three pitchers and a mistake that Justice hit out of the park to win the series in 95.
The players make the team successful. They have to want to win; not think of their press pictures, their agents and how much money they can swindle out of management.
It won’t matter who coaches the Braves. The players have to decide if they want to be a team that loves playing the game and not how they look or if they’ll get more money next season.
My final thought… Wren should be fired immediately..

With 1 extra decent bat, and francouer not leaving 5+ men on base a game when they actually DO get men on base and are we even having this conversation?

i thank bobby cox has plenty left but that batten coach of theres is juss not getting it done !!! i like ur oppions and all u should check my blog and all u should now this but http//atlantbravesneeds.mlblogs.com
u should check out what i thank but i agreee with a lot of ur stuff !!

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