Material brought to you at the expense of McGwire and Kiffin

While I will admit to previous consumption of alcohol, I’m not willing to concede that this substance assisted me while I spent time at wedding receptions perfecting dance moves that have hopefully never been imitated.  

I mean, those same convulsions have occurred after an early-morning shot of V-8.   

Seriously though, it was both comical and maddening to hear Mark McGwire’s unwillingness to concede that steroids allowed him to morph into one of the most powerful creatures the game of baseball has ever seen.    

As McGwire continued to speak to Bob Costas during his hour-long acknowledgement address on Monday night, I could only think that it might be time for Saturday Night Live’s producers to resurrect that “Really” skit they did about Michael Vick a few years back.

McGwire has the right to maintain his opinion that these steroids didn’t serve as performance or statistical enhancers.  But as he minimizes their benefit by saying that he simply used them in a therapeutic manner to expedite the healing process, doesn’t he also show disregard for the determination many others have shown while dealing with the daily grinds of this game.  
While watching Monday’s interview, I couldn’t help but think about Tom Glavine.  Here’s a 300-game winner who arguably came close to maximizing the potential success he could gain through the game.  But how much better might his troublesome left shoulder felt had he consumed these chemicals that allow the body to bounce back quicker than normal?  

Over the past couple of years, Chipper Jones has said that he is disturbed about the fact that history will forever look suspiciously at the statistics that he and every other player from this era produce.  
 
Like this is sad but true, so too is the fact that we’ve reached a point where very little surprises me when it comes to this subject.
 
Of course if you were to tell me that Glavine was structurally enhanced by anything more than the occasional shot of cortisone, then I’d probably respond with something like, “yeah and Lane Kiffin will become as USC’s version of Joe Paterno.”  

Cy Young Trio:  Some of you were discussing the fractured state of Atlanta’s Cy Young trio after Greg Maddux was hired as an assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.  

While I understand why some of you wonder whether this was a slap in the face to the Braves, I didn’t see this as surprising.   When he was still with the Braves, Maddux told me that the game’s business model had always led him to stay away from making anything other than Las Vegas his family’s permanent residence.

Maddux loved the Braves and his family loves the city of Atlanta.  But his earliest ties are to the Cubs and his more recent dealings have been with Cubs GM Jim Hendry.   Truthfully, I really don’t know how well he got to know Frank Wren, who joined the Braves in September of 1999 and was still the club’s assistant GM when Maddux went to Chicago after the 2003 season.  

These special assistant roles are usually reserved for guys who have strong relationships and some kind of history with the GMs.   With this in mind, I just think the better fit at this time was for Maddux to lock horns with Hendry.   

My question is, does this arrangement provide any more reason to debate which hat Maddux should be wearing when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame?

Now to round up the update on the Cy Young trio, John Smoltz took time about two months ago to begin mending his relationship with the organization.  Everything seems to be heading in the right direction on that front.  

So while Smoltz might never again throw a pitch for the Braves, I don’t think he’ll feel the desire to stay completely away from Turner Field during his retirement years.

As for Glavine, I think he still has a right to feel just as infuriated as some of those Tennessee students and fans who have creatively found ways to destroy their Lane Kiffin t-shirts.   But this guy is a class act I get the sense that his relationship with the organization will also be repaired in the near future.

Speaking of former Braves left-handers, Chuck James is expected to begin throwing for teams within the next week.  The 28-year-old southpaw missed all of the 2009 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.   

While the Braves might have a need for somebody like James to improve their organizational depth in the starting pitching department, the southpaw may still be upset about how they handled his shoulder which bothered him for more than a year before he was completely shut down.
  
Chris Resop spent the past season and a half pitching in Japan and now he’s ready to once again compete for a spot in the Braves bullpen. He has signed a Minor League contract and received an invitation to Spring Training.  

The 27-year-old right-hander, who made 16 appearances with the 2008 Braves, is excited about his arm strength and the sink that he’s recently gained with his two-seam fastball. 
 
Catch you later this week.   Follow me on Twitter @mlbbowman

19 Comments

Thanks for the new post Mark. Hopefully it won’t be infected with NY vitriol. I have to agree wholeheartedly with your comments about McGwire. To even suggest that he wasn’t using the roids to bulk up is laughable. And I even argue vociferously against the idea that he and Sammy’s roid rage sparked HR derby “saved” baseball. Baseball would have been fine coming back from the frustration of greedy people squabbling over who got all the money. It always does. What I have really been thinking about lately is how phenomenal the pitching was throughout that era despite the chemical advantage many hitters were being allowed to have (square head Clemens excepted). I mean think of Maddux taking the mound to oppose these juice heads. I think it was even apparent to the umps who started giving Doggie and Glavine that outside corner in order to compensate for the chemical advantage.

Not saying the report is wrong, I haven’t been given any reason to change my thoughts about Damon. I just have never been given indication that there is interest. Now I don’t know if this applies if he says he’d play for $1 or 2 million. But for now, I still don’t see a fit.

Braves and Melky avoided arb with a one-year, $3.1 mil. deal. Moylan remains their only unsigned arb-eligible player and don’t worry this is one issue that won’t be affected by their ban against the Wasserman Group, which represents the Aussie reliever.

Given Dave O’brian’s track record… I won’t believe the Johnny Damon rumors until they come from someone else. Trusting DOB as a source is like trusting Alec Baldwin for parenting advice… or John Rocker for sensitivity training… you get the point. See Ken Griffey JR. last year for reference. Or just ask Tim Hudson.
I’ll wait on you for that kind of news, Mark.

Nice post Mark and very enjoyable to read. I was breaking down the stats regarding Maddux and what cap he wears in the Hall. I know the hall could pick either, but the stats seem strong towards Atlanta.

Cubs

Record 124-97
5 time Gold Glove
2 time All Star
1 time Cy Young
2 time Player of the Week
League Leader in Wins 1 time

Braves

Record 194-88
10 time Gold Glove
6 time All Star
3 time Cy Young
6 Time Player of the Week
League leader in wins 2 times
League leader in ERA 4 times
League leader in BAA 1 time
World Champions in 1995

When you compare the numbers, there really doesn’t seem to be any question about which hat he should wear and I still hold the belief he’ll be wearing the one with an “A” on it.

I think it would be a no-brainer to put maddux in as a Braves that’s where he experienced the most success. The same will be said for Glavine, Smoltz, and Cox.

It would be really uncomfortable for Maddux to wear a Braves hat when he’s working for the Cubbies. I will bet he wears a hat with a C despite the numbers, it is his choice and I think that is the way he will head especially as ATL fades in the background and he is renewing a loyalty to the Cubbies. It’s sad but I think he will want to go that way.

My USF Bulls just signed Skip Holtz, WHEEEEE!!!!!! We have arrived.

Oh and Mark, we’ll see you in the hills next year when we will once again dash that “Almost heaven” feeling. You know , I really liked your post in it’s altered state, I mean it worked for Hemingway, why not for you?

I just as rather we leave Damon in the trash heap. I don’t understand why people think we need him. Obviously since the new Yankee Stadium is a hitters park, and Turner field is not (at least its more balanced at any rate compared to Citizen Bank or Citi Field) signing Damon would just be a waste of money. Id rather we sign another low name on the totem pole if we are looking for just a bench filler till its time for mid-season/late season additions and I think the Braves think so too. Which is why Damon will not be wearing a Braves uniform. Thank God. Its obvious that Dave O’Brien is just repeating nuggets that Boras is throwing his way to drive up the price for his client. Mark, you haven’t been wrong in the two years ive been reading your blog, so I know it ain’t true till I hear it from you.

I really do hope Glavine comes back. Ive watched his interviews he’s done for SportSouth during rain delays and over the years. Broadcasting might be a good fit for him, but id rather he take the job as an instructor since he might still be able to do some good on Jo-Jo Reyes who looked like he was beginning to get some good pointers before we all lost whatever confidence he had gained and just completely blows it when Bobby hands him the ball.

Someone touched on this somewhere, but who exactly does Gwinnet have lined up to step into one of our starters places in case something does happen and someone goes on the DL? JoJo has been up and down so much, Bobby must pick someone else. But who else do we have that we could call up that is if not ready yet, but capable? Rother? Mark? Who else follows Gwinnet?

sounds more like a hall of fame career to me…..Damon is far from a HOFer

What does Andre Dawson have to do with Johnny Damon? The only way Damon is close to Dawson is when they stand in line alphabetically.

Gwinnett ended up the year with retreads last year. JoJo and Todd Richmond are about it as carry overs. The kids coming up from AA may end up being the guys by the time the Braves need them. It all depends on how they do when they arrive. I think Cofield and Gustafson are going to be in Gwinnett. Tony Armas was in Gwinnett for a little while, but I don’t know if he is coming to Spring Training or not, or if he has much left.

Kinda makes me regret that we gave Charlie Morton to the Pirates. Morton seemed like he was just 3 clicks from becoming a new great pitcher. I was at the game in Atlanta when he got shellacked in the first couple innings against the Cubs in 08. After that game, I was glad we got rid of him in that trade, but if it comes down to between JoJo, Cofield, Gustafson and Tony Armas, I don’t know who I would pick to step into the starters place if someone went down on the DL. Do you think Medlin would just be the spot starter and we’d pick up another reliever to take Medlin’s spot? I dunno if our Gwinnett Bullpen gives me that much more hope either. Unless thats where Mike Dunn is going to starting the season after ST.

Maybe the bullpen arms added this offseason (Dunn, Chavez, Proctor) will allow Medlin to start the season in Gwinnett’s rotation and prepare to join the major league rotation when needed.

Looking at our starting depth past the main 5, I would be shocked to see Medlen start in the Atlanta bullpen.

We will have some NRIs at ST. Resop is trying out and Bobby likes him. Mariano Gomez may be ready to make the jump he had a really nice year at Gwinnett and he threw 72 innings last year with a 1.99 ERA. If we needed spot starts I think they would come from Medlen and somebody would move up to fill the long relief role. And you guys his name is spelled “Medlen” unless you think he might be meddlin’ in somebody elses business.
Oh, and I bet there is a kind of older lefty who “hasn’t retired yet” who would jump into the rotation if someone went down.

So you think that older lefty might pull a Roger Clemens from his last season when he joined halfway thru the season? hmm…well that would certainly make it a storybook/hollywood-esque picture in light of this being Bobby’s last season. Actually, I kinda like that. I just hope with all his touring and coaching, he’s keeping himself in pitching shape.

You know Jim I hadn’t really even thought about the hollywood-esque angle but it might be a great baseball story and especially if we wound up in a 1991 type mammoth struggle. Not worst-to-first but old-to-gold. And I think this unamed 1st ballot HOFer is in shape and those “old” bones aren’t creaking yet. He still has the itch, and he might even play with a little blood on his sock to recapture a moment of former glory.

His arm strength is coming Diesel Jeans around, he just needs to pitch more. I don’t know if he is coming to Spring Ed Hardy Training or not, or if he has much left.

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