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Geoff Jenkins has returned for the Brewers, which helps the Brew Crew immeasurably on defense and should provide an offensive boost as well... provided he is actually healthy.

Jenkins was not fully fit last year and his hitting numbers suffered. He's still the best defensive leftfielder in the game. Jenkins hit a home run and made the difference as the Brewers actually won again, 3-2 over the Buccos.

Paul Byrd needs surgery, bone spurs on the elbow is the problem. Don't expect him back this year, although it's a possibility. It's looking more and more like the Braves are going to struggle to contend, now without Byrd as well. I still think they will challenge, but my prediction of a Braves division title looks worse and worse with every Greg Maddux start.

Someone on Primer asked yesterday if Mark Prior was the best young pitcher ever. I brought up Rozema, Fidrych, Gooden, Saberhagen, Fernando, and Gary Nolan, amongst a couple others including Prior's teammate Kerry Wood. I probably could have mentioned a couple dozen others who were also better before 23 than Prior has been so far.... though Prior has been very, very good. Who was the best ever? Assuming we make post-deadball-era the primary qualification, my personal vote would go to Bob Feller.

Interestingly, in the 19h century, there was a venerable tradition of superb teenage pitchers who were washed up by their late twenties. That's what pitching 500 innings a year of anything will do to you!

I was going to write a note on some strange management decisions, including batting order shenanigans with Jeff Torborg in Florida, the end of the Jim Parque Experiment in Tampa (which I believe was some sort of hovercraft), and Buck Showalter's frankly bizarre insistence that "a decision has to be made quickly" on whether or not to move Chan Ho Park to the Ranger bullpen. But on further reflection, looking at the mess my own affairs are currently in, criticizing someone else for apparent managerial ineptitude seemed more than a tad hypocritical.

Enjoy the sweep tonight, everybody!
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Coach - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#90997) #
Prior reminds me most of Tom Seaver. Same alma mater, same lower-body strength, same intelligent approach. Mark's about four inches taller and might have slightly better stuff. He's amazing.

I loathe the Braves; didn't mind them in Milwaukee when Spahn was still around, but the last Atlanta player I've rooted for was Henry Aaron. Nothing against Maddux; I'd admire him in another jersey. I don't even mind Bobby Cox, and I think Rockin' Leo is great; it's mostly a reaction to Ted and Jane, the corporate approach and that damn chant. This year is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Someone just asked me about an ex-Brave, and possible D-Ray -- can you imagine Lou Piniella motivating John Rocker? Stand clear of the sparks...
_benum - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#90998) #
You have to admit, "the Jim Parque Experiment" would be a great band name. Purple Haze...
_Spicol - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#90999) #
the end of the Jim Parque Experiment in Tampa (which I believe was some sort of hovercraft)

The Jim Parque Experiment was something else. I think you're thinking of The Danny Graves Project.
_Sean - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#91000) #
By that I take it to mean that also signifies how mad his own manager gets when watching him get lit up?
Craig B - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#91001) #
Coach, no one exceeds me in their hatred of the damn Braves. Except possibly my wife. Her only concerns about baseball, other than when it's on once hockey is done, are (1) did the Jays win, and (2) did the Braves lose.
_Jurgen Maas - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#91002) #
My hatred for the Braves is the reason I've never hated Bonds, even when he was merely the best mortal player in the National League back with the Pirates. I was thrilled to see him overcome his demons last year and not only have a great post-season, but have one of the greatest post-seasons ever pushing past his old nemesis.

I really think it's something about that smirk on Tom Glavine's face.
_Cristian - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#91003) #
My Braves hatred comes from:

1. The Tomahawk Chop -- blatantly offensive to Native Americans
2. That old Wendy's commercial with Dave Thomas and Chipper Jones --"Hit it here Chipper." I don't know what it was about that commercial that made me angry.
3. TBS and how they edit every good movie down to a G rating--can't offend the Bible Belt after all.

Here's a story about what TBS is doing to halt the downturn in Braves baseball telecasts. I guess they didn't consider pulling the Braves and Showing Dumb and Dumber and Boyz N tha Hood more often than they already do.
_Spicol - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#91004) #
I've always despised the "look at us, we're the rich white pitchers who can actually hit and we have hot wives who dig the longball and we're all great golfers" nature of the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz/AveryNeagleMillwood Atlanta rotation. They are like the guy on your street with the hair who just got the new JetSkiTM and can't stop talking about his new JetSkiTM and how we should all go out on his new JetSkiTM. Hate that guy!

So, in summation, it would be good to see the Atlanta rotation crumble for the deep seeded psychological benefit it will provide me.

There was a time when I cheered for Atlanta's hitters, because who doesn't like Fred McGriff or Andres Galarraga, but never the pitchers.
_Sean - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#91005) #
Amen, Spicol.
_Cristian - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#91006) #
I don't know if I hated all of Atlanta's pitchers.

I vividly remember in 1992 cheering whenever Jeff Reardon would come in from the bullpen.
_Mick - Thursday, April 10 2003 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#91007) #
I was always a big Charlie Leibrandt fan. But he was pre-Maddux, right? It was Glavine-Smoltz-Avery-Leibrandt, as I recall.
_S.K. - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#91008) #
I've always liked Maddux... he's so crafty and he looks like an accountant; I love baseball players who look like I could beat them up.
Glavine certainly looks like a cocky fellow. I've disliked the Braves because of their habit of always carrying around at least one lineup anchor - I don't think that a team stupid enough to insist on Terry Pendleton, Mark Lemke, and now Vinny Castilla should win anything.
_S.K. - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#91009) #
Not to mention the true stupidity of the Millwood fiasco. Schuerholz does NOT deserve to get away with possibly the single stupidest bit of roster management EVER. Go Phillies.
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