Dear Mr. Gonzalez,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you this letter. Nearly a week later, I continue to feel the frustration of a squandered Braves post-season as I watch what's left of the MLB continue on. I just watched Matheny discuss the Cards approach to game three of the NLCS, a game the Braves should be playing, and it gave me the impetus to write this letter.
First and foremost, everyone in Braves country feels as bad, if not worse, than you about the sad NLDS outcome. We all know the adversity you faced this past season and what an amazing job you did winning 96 games in the regular season, a brilliant accomplishment, to say the least. Thank you for that!!!
However, please for the love of baseball watch this video. In case you're too busy, let me recap. Matheny states, "We draw on every experience we have, and I think if you're not improving, and you're not learning from the things that have happened to ya', good or bad, then you're missing a great opportunity." So here's your opportunity. You have officially stated the opposite, "But I'm not second-guessing myself with any of those decisions, starting Freddy Garcia or not bringing Kimbrel in for two innings." All of Braves country knows you should have brought Kimbrel in for the 8th inning of that game. Hitting for the Dogers were Puig, Uribe, and Schumaker vs, the 8,9, &1 hitters in the 9th.
It's okay to make mistakes, we all do it, but I beg of you, as a 40 year braves fan...learn from what was an obvious mistake. Don't take a stubborn defensive stance and repeat the same thing over again, Braves fans have had enough of that. Just admit you got it wrong, and the next time you have a chance to win a do or die game, just put in the best pitcher in baseball and win the game! Learn from your mistakes. Note that Matheny pitched Rosenthal two innings in Game 1 and one inning in Game 2 of the NLCS (look where he's at).
So, moving forward, the following things are in order:
(1) Bring back Terry Pendelton as the hitting coach. Under his tenure, the braves averaged 780.1 runs per season. The average since he was released has been 676.9. This is over a 100 run differential. More importantly, there wasn't a single season under TP's coaching in which we scored fewer runs than any of the seasons since he's been at first base. It's a pretty good mistake to learn from, don't you think?
(2) If you have a player with a .355+ OBP, who doesn't hit home runs, make sure that player bats ahead of the guys who do hit home runs, another fabulous mistake to learn from. For the vast majority of the season, you batted Chris Johnson behind all the guys who hit 20+ homers. Learn...please!
(3) Don't leave an established player, and friend of the team, off the post-season roster for a rookie you wont even play, no matter how bad the established player performed. Leaving Uggs off the roster was a massive mistake as a manager. Yes, we all know he sucked this season, pretty much every season as a brave (see #1). But you don't shock the entire team like that just before the playoffs. (If you're reading this Dan, I never wanted you on the team, but I respect you and your value as a member (.309 OBP pretty damn good given your terrible season)). Killing morale by leaving Uggla off the roster was a mistake of hubris. Even Bob Uecker was left on the '64 Cards championship roster.
(4) Learn from your success! For the entire season, you were the manager not afraid to change things around (except the guy with a .355+ OBP), but in the post season, you didn't change anything. Even though the lefty we all love was 0'fer in the series going against the best lefty in the game, you left him in. What? The lefty/righty match-up was your thing all season...a 96 win season. Learn from your successes!!!
All of Brave's Country wants to win. We spend endless hours, without making millions of dollars and/or making you millions of dollars, cheering on what has become a yearly depression. So please for the millions of fans out here who desperately want you to succeed, learn from everything, second guess everything. There is no difference between second guessing and learning. In fact, it's not a guess at all, if you have a chance to pit the best pitcher in baseball against the best rookie and the best ancient in baseball, you take it...no seconds. We're all very, very tired of second, guessing or not.
With utmost respect,