Optimal Optimistic Optimism? Braves Offense Ready To Pounce!


Aloha everyone! I’m writing from poolside during the band’s break here at the Hilton resort on the Big Island of Hawaii! Aside from the fact that I can’t think of a reason to be inside when it’s 77 degrees and breezy, this seems to be one of the few places here with reliable Wifi coverage!

I know that some of you are concerned that the Braves might have a few issues as we get set for the preseason to commence. Having spent the last hour or so browsing, I’m here to tell you that this just can’t be possible! In fact, the Braves might win 125 games this season, based on the reports out of camp. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much optimism ooze out of every pore in the team. And it seems that most of the intrepid press corp is presenting all this as fact (so much so, in fact, that I haven’t cited a source for every quote, as they seemed to appear everywhere; let’s just say that sources are available upon request!). Without further ado, Tomahawk Take presents the All-Star Pre-Season Optimal Optimistic Optimism Awards, Offensive Edition, going to:

Brian McCann, poised to erase all catching records as he “has dropped 15 pounds, down to 220, and his midsection is noticeably slimmer”, plus he’s “the best catcher in the big leagues”. And now he’s going to be as good in the field, as “I (Fredi Gonzalez) kidded him, you’ve got all these All-Stars and Silver Sluggers, how ‘bout a Gold Glove? And he’s capable of doing that. He’s got that ability to do that.” Need I say more?

Freddie Freeman, is equalled poised to win the Rookie Of The Year Award (in both leagues) as “In many ways, Freeman is a more advanced hitter than Heyward,” and “His approach is that of someone who’s in his fifth or sixth year in the big leagues”, plus he has “at the least the power of Adam LaRoche”. And he’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated along with Jason Heyward. Wow!

Dan Uggla is set for an MVP campaign as, beyond the huge numbers he’ll put up almost by mistake he’s one of those “right way” guys as “He only knows how to play the game one way. Even the first day of BP out here, that’s the way he swings. And he’ll run the bases just one way, and field ground balls…”. Cool!

I couldn’t find any really outstanding Alex Gonzalez quotes, but that’s probably because they’re being heaped upon his left-side of the diamond mate (and runaway winner of 2011 Comeback Player of The Year), Chipper Jones. Where to start? Chipper, beyond knocking the cover off the ball as we covered here, is drawing praise like “Chipper was impressive in the batting cage. Really. Hitting from both sides, but especially from the right. He pulled a line-drive homer just inside the left-field foul pole that had some serious spin and velocity on it” and “He’s got a little chip on his shoulder, letting everybody know that he can still do it. We all have total confidence in him. There’s not a prettier swing in the game”. Nuff said!

But don’t forget Martin Prado! “You’re not going to find a guy who works harder than Prado,” said Braves strength and conditioning coach Phil Falco who beams with pride when asked about the dedication shown by Prado, saying “He’s got a great intensity level. He’s a pleasure to work with. If I had 100 guys like that, it would be the easiest job in America.” Prado “dropped weight and stayed strong during the most rigorous conditioning program he ever followed over the winter”. Per Brian McCann, “He’s going to be going for batting title after batting title. That’s how I feel about it. He’s as good as it gets.” And, let’s throw in that he’s already auditioning for the role of Superman in the outfield, as “he has been seen making a number of over-the-shoulder catches during the first week of camp”. Another MVP, maybe?

And for those of you who thought the team has concerns in center field? Pshaw! Already Nate McLouth is
“looking like a different player,” G.M. Frank Wren said. “He’s really driving all the way through the ball.” And Jordan Schafer said he’s (finally) been pain-free since early winter and felt better hitting the past two days than he has in two years. Not to be outdone, Joe Mather “crushed some balls during BP today, showing the pop that put him on the cusp of a regular job with the Cardinals before injury woes”. And that leads us to…

Jason Heyward (did I mention the Sports Illustrated cover), who is “clearly someone who will not be satisfied with his accomplishments” and he’s again healthy in the thumb department prompting David O’Brien of the AJC to quip “He looked again like the guy who announced his arrival on the big-league scene by hitting tape-measure long balls last spring”. And no less of an authority than Chipper said “I think you didn’t even see the tip of the iceberg last year”. Sweet!

The good news is that the optimism on the pitching side is higher. If I have Internet access tomorrow, I’ll post about those guys then. Until then, here’s a Mai Tai to you!