After ending a 4-year partnership with the Lynchburg Hillcats, the Braves organization began to look for a new Advanced-A team. It eventually came down to either the Carolina Mudcats or one of 2 teams out in California. Fortunately, the Braves were able to dodge the bullet of having one of their minor-league teams all the way across the country and managed to come to a 2-year agreement with the Carolina Mudcats. This is good news because A) It's no secret that the Braves want to keep their minor league clubs as close as possible and the Mudcats are pretty deep in Braves territory and B) Look at this logo! What a fantastic logo!
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>brb, getting that logo tattooed on my chest. RT <a href="https://twitter.com/Braves">@Braves</a> Welcome, <a href="https://twitter.com/CarolinaMudcats">@CarolinaMudcats</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Braves?src=hash">#Braves</a> new Advanced-A affiliate! <a href="http://t.co/JewGbC4hpW">pic.twitter.com/JewGbC4hpW</a></p>— Dayton from Nebraska (@BravesAmerica) <a href="https://twitter.com/BravesAmerica/status/516734566007312385">September 29, 2014</a></blockquote>
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For the first time in 5 years, the Braves will be entering the offseason without having endured a crippling loss the day before. Instead of having the death blow come in one fell swoop, the 2014 Braves were diagnosed with a terminal illness sometime after the All-Star break and finally died peacefully with a victory this past Sunday. However, with the specter of a new GM looming over the heads of pretty much everybody in the organization, it's safe to say that this is going to be an intriguing offseason for the Braves. Mark Bowman reports that manager Fredi Gonzalez will meet with Interim (and maybe permanent) GM Tom Hart tomorrow and while Fredi appears to be safe (Here's Charlie Brown's response to that news), the coaching staff is anything but safe.
And speak of the devil, one of the coaches who is probably on the way out is Hitting Coach Greg Walker, who appears to be shouldering much of the blame for the offense's putrid finish to the season. It's extremely professional on his part to publicly declare that he failed at his job this season, but at the same time it's a bit sad because these sound like the quotes of a man who knows that he's probably on his way out. He talks about giving away at-bats in the quote below (which they most definitely did at an alarming rate) and straight-up says that he failed, and that's not the only time where he said so, either.
"Way too many given-away at-bats, which is a tragedy in this game. If you get big-league at-bats, they’re precious. And you can not give them away. And we gave them away by the handfuls. And that comes under my department, too. So I failed in that respect, that we gave away way too many at-bats this season.
Last week, our friends at Purple Row tried to dump a bill of goods on us Braves fans by running with open speculation that their GM, Dan O'Dowd, could possibly leave the Rockies to pursue a job in the Braves organization. The speculation continues with this column from Woody Page, who is now basically begging the Braves to take O'Dowd off their hands, in a way that only Paige knows how.
Frankly, the best thing in the world for the Braves franchise is to "steal" O'Dowd away from the Rockies. "Dealin' Dan," as he is referred to affectionately throughout the Rocky Mountains, has accomplished as much as he possibly can for the Little Mid-Market Team in Our Dusty Old Cowtown, and it's time for him to move on and up to a sophisticated, successful baseball city such as Atlanta.
If you were one of the brave and loyal souls still watching the Braves on Saturday night, then you were "treated" to Phillie Phans mocking Craig Kimbrel's stance as he was in the midst of a high-leverage save situation. The attempt failed because Kimbrel rarely ever breaks from the script per se, but it was still pretty funny to see those fans behind home plate all getting in on the act. Apparently, it started with a couple who went to the game knowing nobody in their section but thanks to small talk and a case of monkey-see monkey-do, eventually most of the section joined in on the fun and what we got was this weird scene of Craig Kmbrel facing down dozens of low-rent Craig Kimbrels in the stands. Good ol' Philly fan, at it again!
Oh hey, the Postseason starts today! Not that anybody here cares about that because missing the playoffs is the cool thing to do nowadays, and you may as well call the Braves Andre 3000 because they're cooler than cool. But for all the lame-o dweeb teams who did make the Postseaason, Grant Brisbee decided to rank all of 25 of the potential World Series matchups. Spoiler Alert: The Pirates are in 4 of the top 5 matchups, because who can honestly say that they aren't rooting at least a little bit for the Pirates?
Another team who rarely anybody can say with any sincerity that they're rooting against is the Kansas City Royals, who are returning to the Postseason for the first time since 1985, when they won the World Series (that included one of the most controversial calls in baseball history), and I was negative 3 years old. SB Nation's Marc Normandin decided to take a look at what's transpired in baseball since the Royals last made the playoffs. To make things Braves-related and give you a sneak peek at this piece, Greg Maddux's entire MLB experience, from his rookie season in 1986 to being inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this month happened in between Postseason appearances. Amazing. Now, enjoy some video evidence of the Kansas City Royals actually winning a World Series.
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We didn't have a Black Monday of sorts after the regular season ended on Sunday (mainly because most of the teams went about firing their personnel during the season this year), but one man who got the axe yesterday was longtime Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. I guess as a sign of respect to Gardenhire, the Twins actually held a presser announcing the firing with Ol' Gardy not only at the presser, but behind the podium with the GM as well. Gardenhire ends his Twins tenure with a record of 1068-1039, and although this has probably been overdue for Minnesota, it'll definitely be strange seeing a new face managing that ballclub.