Opening Day in Braves Country

Opening Day in Braves Country

I haven’t written any poetry in years and this week I got inspired to write something for opening day. It may seem a little cheesy, but my hope is that this poem prompts you to think about all the great things that you love about baseball and the Braves. So, if you will, this is my ode to opening day and you, Braves Country. Play ball!

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Walking up to the gate,
I can hardly wait.

Banners are hung in light of a new season,
When spring begins, Braves fandom has a reason.

The smell of hotdogs skates through the air,
As I whisper a hopeful-winning prayer.

‘Click’ of the ticket taker & a crisp program in hand,
On to my seat as I wait for the band.

Batting practice begins in a joyous state,
Because Braves country is ready for a slugger at the plate.

‘Oh say does that star spangled…’
Play ball! and with that, it’s time for a wrangle.

One strike and then two,
As Ender chomps on some Big Chew.

A crack of the bat & around the bases,
A triple is earned but only by God’s good graces.

RBIs and errors are dealt like cards,
While the ball is thrown across the yard.

Peanuts & cracker jacks spread over the ground,
As we watch Teheran take the mound.

Chip and Joe commentate from above,
While Markakis runs to catch the ball in his glove.

Here’s hoping Teheran hits Bryce Harper in the face,
For I will cheer from the mountain tops, showing no grace.

It isn’t a game without a little bit of trash talk,
Or hanging out with friends telling a knock-knock.

Two innings down and only a run to show,
A fastball here & there with a heaving throw.

The Braves are up to bat with Albies on deck,
The game is heating up now, ready to raise a little heck.

Onlookers watch in amazement
While a ball goes over the wall hitting the pavement.

The crowd stands and erupts in a roar,
for Dansby Swanson has scored!

The smell of freshly cut grass stuck in your nose,
when the game hits the 9th, fans are on their toes.

Freddie stretching across the chalk,
Hoping for anything but a walk or balk.

Dusk has arrived accompanied by a pink sky
While fans rise to chop-on with pride!

Bring on the popcorn and another hotdog,
Rally caps on as Suzuki jumps through the fog.

Braves win and fans let out a shout,
Nothing about today can make me pout!

The stadium empties and the lights turn off
As the cool evening air makes me cough.

Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose,
I’ll be a Braves fan for life no matter the abuse.

Stayin up late to watch a game in the dark,
For it’s opening day at Suntrust Park!

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Having Albies AND Acuna for almost a full year in 2018…will DRASTICALLY improve The Braves offense ESPECIALLY if Freddie Freeman can stay healthy for the whole year.

While in future years I’ve downplayed the importance of Dansby Swanson being ‘a superstar’ (with the hypothetical additions of Manny Manchado and Bryce Harper, I’ve taken ‘the position’ that all Swanson has to do is 1. play good defense. 2. be an effective #8 hitter who can somehow get on base/routinely clear the pitcher’s spot of the order).

However, if The Braves in 2018 are going to have the success…it is ESSENTIAL that Swanson shows EARLY that he’s ‘somehow’ deserving of being elevated into the #2 spot of the order (which would allow Albies to be slotted to the #3 spot, Freeman the #4, Acuna the #5, Markakis the #6 and Flowers/Suzuki the #7).

Swanson elevating himself into the #2 spot before Acuna gets called up (I know, wishful thinking) would allow Snitker (not exactly the most ‘progressive manager’ out there) to LENGTHEN out his line-up…having some power in the #3-#5 spots..as well as the #7 spot (with Markakis providing some ‘lefty-righty’ balance with his insertion in the #6 slot of the batting order).

1. Inciarte…CF
2. Swanson…SS
3. Albies….2nd
4. Freeman…1st
5. Acuna….LF
6. Markakis..RF
7. Flowers/Suzuki…C
8. Flaherty/Culberson/Carmago (now if Carmago shows upon his return that his performance last year was NO FLUKE…than perhaps Snitker should elevate Carmago to the #2 slot of the order).

I’m just hypothesizing here..because ROGER and KING feel that AA has WASTED AWAY a season where ‘the opportunities’ were there for AA to sign certain ‘affordable players’ like Frazier, Moustakis..as well as trade for ‘designated for assignment rejects like Dickerson and Cake’, lol. However, I feel that this lineup..gives Snitker OPTIONS for The Braves to actually COMPETE in 2018 (compete IS NOT the same as ‘being a serious World Series Contender, which we SHOULD BE in 2019 IF AA does his job during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason).

Just having Albies the 1st two weeks of The 2018 Season hitting in front of a HEALTHY Freeman…is going to do wonders for The Braves Offense. Getting Acuna in mid-April…will do even more EXCITING THINGS! I’ve RESISTED getting on ‘The Braves can be Wild Card Contenders’ bandwangon’ (because of the IMPORTANCE of getting Soroka, Allard and Wright…along with other young bullpen prospects who will be starting The 2018 Season BOTH in Double A AND Triple A, YET candidates to start FLOODING Atlanta’s roster, starting around The All Star Break…which means that AA will have to start making TRADES that open up spots for these VITAL FUTURE PIECES to get their ‘cups of coffee’ the last couple months of The 2018 Season. One thing we know about young players..they make MISTAKES while learning on the job).

With that said, I feel that if The Braves weather this early season TOUGH SCHEDULE…as well as JELL offensively with Acuna and Albies helping Freeman CARRY The Braves Offense…The Braves could be around 5-10 games ABOVE .500 around The ASB (no kidding..ESPECIALLY if The Starting pitching is healthy). Given the offensive improvements..our starting pitching WILL NOT have to be ‘perfect’ in order to win games in 2018! Acuna will team with Freddie to protect leads/recover from blown leads!

One concern..is our team defense! The SILLY ERRORS/not turning double plays that should be turned….has to GO AWAY! This team cannot afford to give away outs!

In future years, AA is going to have to address the lack of power behind Freddie (because our next manager come 2019 should IMMEDIATELY insert Albies #1 and Acuna #2…while hitting in front of Freddie #3). AA’s job is to find some SERIOUS POP to hit #4-#5/while playing 3rd and left field (which would allow the manager to slot Flowers/Suzuki or Jackson….Inciarte..and Swanson down to their more ‘suited’ bottom of the order spots in the lineup)!

I’m going to call our win total right now for 2018: 88 wins (whether we win The Wild Card DEPENDS on how ‘desperate’ other teams are willing to SACRIFICE their future in order to win more than 88 games in 2018)! I cannot believe I’m saying it (after all, I spent all winter basically ‘giving’ away the season to focus on 2019). However if Albies and Acuna really make the kind of difference teaming with a healthy Freeman..AND..if our rotation holds up like I think it can..then AA will have to find a way to ‘juggle’ using our ‘soon to be ready’ prospects into a roster that is trying to contend for a playoff spot in 2018.

AS LONG as AA does not mortgage the farm in order to try and chase a PIPE DREAM playoff spot in 2018 (sacrificing the future for only A ONE GAME PLAYOFF SPOT, given what lies ahead for our future IF we keep our soon to be ready for prime time prospects….would be grounds for A LIFETIME BAN FROM MLB, lol), I’ll have no problem with AA trying to give our players ‘a little help’ to improve their chances the last couple months of the season. Still, I feel that a lot of ‘the help’ (especially if the bullpen needs to be ‘shored up’ can come from WITHIN..or if we need another starting pitcher! Mike Soroka will be able to more than HOLD HIS OWN when it’s time for him to pitch for The Braves).

Now if AA was able to make moves that 1. helped The Braves win games after The ASB WITHOUT sacrificing the future…2. make moves that cleared out the deadwood (players that may help other teams in their playoff chase while 1. bringing back a ‘useful piece’ while creating room for a prospect who is ready to contribute and get his ‘cup of coffee’ RIGHT AWAY)…then he could very well be a DARKHORSE CANDIDATE for Executive of The Year (sometimes, it’s the moves that you DONT MAKE..that make you a successful GM long term. I’m sure that Albies was the centerpiece of A BUNCH of trade proposals that The Marlins asked about when they were in the midst of trading Yelich and company).

I know a lot of people hate on Coppy…but I’d like to close by saying THANK YOU COPPY for NOT trading Albies for any of the INSANE packages that many on other Blogs were clamoring for (whether it is for a pitcher like Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Sonny Gray, Jose Quintanna, etc…or a hitter like Yelich) the past few years!

Keeping onto BOTH Albies and Acuna..is going to give AA BIG TIME FLEXIBILITY when it comes to building The Braves Offense in the next year! Braves Management is going to pay BOTH Albies and Acuna…around $550k in 2018, 2019 AND 2020! That’s a total of $3.3 MILLION COMBINED…for the services of Albies AND Acuna during the next three seasons….COMBINED for the both of them (unless AA is able to sign one/both of them to an extension that will keep one/both of them in a Braves uniform for at least the next 8-9 years)! That is totally INSANE (given that Albies is 21 and Acuna is only 20 years old)!

I wish I could just go back, collect all those INSANE trade propositions the past couple of years I’ve come across..wrap them up..and VIRTUALLY SLAP some sense into the faces of those MORONS who kept harping on The Braves to trade Albies for ‘a frontline starting pitcher’!

Your thoughts?

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