Okay, I can't sleep, so that means one thing: photo post!
Despite the fact that Atlanta Braves were in town this weekend, I just didn't feel like going to any of the games versus the Marlins. Maybe it's a superstitious fear that going to any of the games would result in a demoralizing loss, especially crucial right now, since the team needs all the wins they can get right about now. So, upon hearing the news that there was a potential Tim Hudson vs. Jake Peavy rehab matchup, over at AAA, I decided that it was worth a trip out to Gwinnett to see two top-tier pitchers, donning minor league uniforms, trying to get themselves back into Major League shape.
Unfortunately, that plan was dashed, as upon arriving at Gwinnett Stadium, it was revealed that Peavy was going to be pitching on Monday instead. Kind of strange, maybe Charlotte/White Sox didn't want Peavy to have to face off against Major League opposition just yet? Who knows. All I know is that I was disappointed in not getting to see the matchup, and that the image they used, combined with the font selection, makes it looks like Jake Peavy died or something. The "Trajan" typeface is one used for "epic" treatments, like Star Wars advertising, or about 65% of Hollywood movie posters.
Walking around the park for a little bit, as I arrived a little on the early side, I noticed Mrs. Huddy, Kim Hudson walking around with some acquaintances. Shortly afterward, they apparently ran into Buddy Carlyle, who was walking around inconspicuously in the plaza. Good to see Buddy looking healthier than he did prior to discovering his diabeetus, and it looks like he's put some weight back on.
I'm guessing it has more to do with the fact that only really at Minor League parks, do I really put an effort to get good seating, but I forget how manically rabid that children are when it comes to panhandling for free baseballs and/or autographs. Sitting near the Gwinnett dugout, it was a little irritating trying to soak in some sunlight and read a book while waiting for game time, with children running around climbing up and over seats at the slightest glimpse of what could be a professional baseball player. Kids who have no idea who Barbaro Canizares, Van Pope, or Wes Timmons are going bonkers trying to get their signatures on a baseball. Oddly, there was one man who had the uber-collectible baseball case, who's life appeared to be fulfilled after he got Chris Burke to sign the baseball meant to go into it. Above, is Tim Hudson, getting swarmed by autograph seekers, trying to get a piece of Huddy prior to him heading to the outfield to prepare.
This shot is for all the gals who could probably have some imaginative fun with this picture of Brooks Conrad.
Huddy and Clint Sammons returning to the dugout after warming up. I must say, the superb pitching staff in Atlanta right now really has the absence of Tim Hudson feel very minimal, but it really does make a Braves fan feel good and more optimistic to know that this top-tier pitcher is steadily working his way back to the fold, and is on the cusp of creating a convenient dilemma in the Braves' rotation.
This is probably the only fairly acceptable shot of Huddy in action I was able to get from my seat. The game itself was decent, and Huddy worked a full six innings, and allowed only three runs. It was also deceptively warm; despite the umbrella term of "Metro Atlanta," that still encompasses like about a 100 mile radius, depending on whom you ask. And naturally with that much space, there's plenty of possibility of varying climates. It was cool and beautiful at my house, which is closer to Turner Field, but 68 miles north up in Lawrenceville, the breeze is gone, the clouds are more, and some are dark, and it's blazing hot when the sun is out.
Huddy breezed through the first inning, but then ran into some control problems in the second, where he ended up allowing his three runs. His FB velocity hovered around 89-90, and topped out at 91 mph, from my watch, but he seemed to have a lot of difficulty with his breaking stuff. Either sliders sliding too early, or bad curveball command, but during his troublesome patch, he was throwing a lot of pitches into the dirt. And when he was forced to make pitches, he was still inducing the promising amount of ground balls, but the Gwinnett infield wasn't doing him many favors by fielding them efficiently, if at all. There was one embarrassing moment, when neither Van Pope or Chris Burke called for a ground ball, and they ended up colliding, with the runner being safe. Oddly, it was still charged as a base hit. I also noticed Burke has a tendency to field and throw flat-footed, but it still gets to first, so I guess it's not too bad, and I'd rather see him over Diory Hernandez any day, regardless.
One fun moment was in the 6th inning, Charlotte catcher, Cole Armstrong is ejected for what appeared to be arguing balls and strikes with the HP umpire. But instead of a few choice words and then walking away, Cole decides he's going to get up in the ump's grill, and start aggressively removing the catcher's gear. You can see the chest protector and the helmet on the ground, and not long afterwards, the shin guards and knee pads were off too.
But the big story of the day would be Brandon Jones, who had a monster of a day, that should not go unnoticed. After the ejection, and the game resumed, the bases were loaded, and apparently replacement catcher, Justin Knoedler made one hell of a bad call, because Bjönes crushed the first pitch he saw into the right-center berm section, for a huge go-ahead grand slam. The 6th inning, the G-Braves piled on five runs in total, including a Canizares sac-fly, but most importantly, it showed a good mix of offensive prowess, with drawing walks, hitting line drives, and good base-running. On the day, Bjönes went 3-for-4, with 5 RBI, and two walks.
The rest of my pictures are pretty much crap(pier than usual), so I don't feel like posting them. Overall, it was a good baseball day, and it pleased me to hear that the Atlanta Braves came back and took the crucial series against the Marlins, and I got a great laugh hearing about Jeff Francoeur's lining into an unassisted triple-play to end the game, despite the fact that the Phillies are continuing to win. I also got to briefly meet long-time TCer, secondbass, and chat for a few minutes, and meet his adorable daughter. I seriously wish I had a teacher back in my school days as cool as him. If he decides to post his own images from the game, I guarantee that they will be a million-times better. I hope you got your T-Flow autograph!
If all goes according to plan, then next Sunday, I'll be making a day trip out to Mississippi, to see the M-Braves, and Trustmark Park, for the very first time. If I succeed, I'll have successfully made it out to the homes of all four levels of our Minor League affiliates.