Though I've been scouring this sight for some time, this is my first post, and any others from me will probably be sparse. I do however feel an urge to share a sentiment...I am surprised by the absence of excitement for the incredible potential our team does have. Most of this blog is a back and forth of critical analysis--a debate of how good we are or aren't. What is stunning to me is that there has been no post about how absolutely phenomenal this team can be if it lives up to its potential. Now I know us fans are hesitant to ever believe that potential will be maximized, but this is Bobby's last year, and this is Bobby's best skill. I am not trying to predict or prophesy that we will be everything that we can. I do however find it necessary that there be a depiction, or positive image, of what this team will look like if its potential is maximized.
I am also not talking about any of these players doing anything they've never done before--save Heyward, who is one of the few beacons of optimism anyway. I am talking about these players living up to a level of performance that they have before, and are certainly physically capable of again. Glaus might get injured, but he also might hit 30+ homers. Saito or Wagner might get injured, but they are both proven sub 3 era guys when they aren't. Besides, Moylan is behind them. This might be a fizzle year for Chipper, but would anyone be truly surprised if he bats above 310 and hits more than 20 homers? Diaz will continue to embarrass lefties, simple as that. Prado might not repeat last year, but there is certainly reason to believe this guy will hit over .300. Hinske is a great bat bench, and I like his optimism in the clubhouse. Cabrera is a very solid replacement for any outfield position, I even have hopes for Mitch Jones. David Ross is the man, if I had my wish we would bring in a third catcher and let him pinch hit. I've heard criticism about mclouth, but he is gonna hit 20 homers, steal 20 bases, and continue to show off his sweet swing. I don't have to defend McCann, but I have to point out that the youngster could very well improve, 25 homers, loads of doubles, 100+ rbis, and a .300+ avg. are well within range.
That leaves us with our pitchers, hudson might struggle coming back, but there is also reason to believe he will show his best stuff in years--with his only homer coming last year, i don't know what else demonstrates new hand strength. Do I even need to comment on Hanson, his potential is out of this league. Kawakami pitched gloriously in every single game against an ace or a top team--honestly long live the dragon slayer. Lowe might struggle again, but it was not age or injury that kept him from performing at his reward worthy level last year, his potential is still very high. JJ...I saw him pitch in spring training last year when he couldnt get a pitch past a batter if he had to, but he has one of the strongest minds in baseball, and he proved it last season. This guy is determined...maybe if he had 15 wins last year he would slide a bit this year, but he is still on a mission, and this man on a mission is like a polar bear chasing down a female he smells 40 miles away...he is gonna get there and nothing will distract him.
As fans it seems there is little we can do to contribute, but it's us that carry the power of optimism or pessimism. As fan's our pessimism does nothing good for our team. Our optimism however, our excitement for our team's success, our presence in the seats, has more power than can be conveyed. There is nothing more empowering than knowing someone believes in you. This is why Cox is the man, and why braves fan's got to see their team in the playoffs every year.