The Braves skipped BP, but I found Johnny and Marshal sitting in the shade in LF. Their topic of conversation – BJ Upton. Johnny admitted he enjoyed weekday games because the crowds were lighter, and was glad attendance was lower at baseball games Had a long chat with Marshal as the Phillies prepared for their BP. I clumsily missed a bouncing BP ball that should've been an easy grab. Delta was giving away H&F burgers to every 10th person to register for a free flight, but I didn't win. Cashed in my 250 all-star ballots – they were still giving away BJ Upton bobble heads. I was out of town when they originally had the BJ Upton bobblehead giveaway.
During BP Ryan Howard effortlessly sprayed line drive singles, then came up in the first inning and launched the home run to left. After the 5th inning I left my perch in section 415 and watched the 6th and 7th from the eating tables behind the third base dugout. Without much gas I didn't want to get stuck in traffic, so I left after that. As I walked out I passed people holding tickets on their way into the game.
After being called out on strikes in the first (and jawing with the plate umpire on the way back to the dugout), BJ later lined a first-pitch single to left. That's what I'm talking about – swinging to make contact and not thinking so much, using his athletic ability instead of his brain. But later instead of attempting a diving catch, BJ slowing up, faked catching the ball, grabbed the ball on the bounce barehanded, and fired home – allowing the batter to reach second. Perhaps it was a good time to take the chance, though they rarely work out for BJ. I'll try not to not single out every mistake he makes – he is doing better than last year.
Saw at least one fan wearing an old brown Padres cap, giving tribute to Tony Gwynn. Saw where several teams gave tribute to Gwynn with symbols in the hole between short and third. Amazing career – after hitting .289 in 54 games in his rookie season, Gwynn never batted under .309. In my mind a comparable hitter was Rod Carew, if not Ichiro.
338 394 20 3141 9288 2440 15 Gwynn
328 388 19 3053 9315 2469 18 Carew
319 372 14 2781 8731 2118 10 Ichiro MLB
200 hit seasons: Ichiro 10, Carew 4, Gwynn 5 (plus two 197 hit seasons).
Batting championships: Gwynn 8, Carew 6, Ichiro 2
Rob says: You mentioned BJ and Stanton trade. I think the Braves have a better trade partner in the LA Dodgers. As of July 1, the Braves owe BJ $53MM (thru 2017) and Uggla $19.5MM (thru 2015). As of that same date, the Dodgers owe Matt Kemp $117.5MM (thru 2019), Carl Crawford $72.38MM (thru 2017) and Andre Ethier $78.75MM (thru 2018).
Kemp and BJ are 29; Crawford and Ethier are 32 and Uggla is 34. If you look at their production over 2013 and 2014 and average that over 600 plate appearances, BJ has a WAR of (1.0) per 600 PA's, Uggla (2.3), Kemp (0.4), Crawford 2.2 and Ethier 2.8. As a reminder, a 2.0 WAR over a full season (600 PA's) is considered an "average" major league starter.
The Dodgers owe more money, for a longer time to their bad contracts, although their bad contract players are slightly more productive than ours. Puig and Scott Van Slyke are better players in 2014 than any of the 3 veteran outfielders they have.
Though now that I look at it, maybe it is better that the Braves stay away from this idea. BTW, BJ and Uggla combine to make $143,000 per day.
Did I tell you that my CRV got hit? Didn't realize I parked on a side street – at the end of someone's driveway. A girl backed out and hit the driver's side door. Her insurance (Geico) was very efficient in getting it fixed. Ceil took it up to Classic Collision in Alpharetta, and was able to drive a Camry while it was repaired. He dropped it off last Monday and they finished late Wednesday. They even detailed the CRV inside and out.
My knock on wood: The Civic check engine light was on, but since getting the oil changed and transmission serviced the light has stayed off for a few weeks. I need to get the emissions tested now. I'll be needing at least 2 tires for the Civic soon. They're not rear bad, but they have a lot of miles on them. Now I've got to keep track of maintenance for Will's Jeep and my father-in-law's Jeep that Anna drives.
Guess you didn't take advantage of that $24 off at Express Oil Change, did you? Bet the line was long.
So far "The Zen of Zim" is good, though a good chunk of it is how Steinbrenner turned against Zimmer. His first book, more of an autobiography, is probably better.