Like most of the baseball world I have been astounded by the recent moves the Atlanta Braves have made and the new youth of organization. I had expected the elevation of Andy Marte to be the end of it. But then they go and get Brian McCann from Mississippi. Of course there is no way this can continue, but somehow it does.
Tonight is was announced that 23-year-old Blaine Boyer, born in Marietta, Georgia but lately of Pearl, Mississippi, was called to Atlanta and put on the 25-man roster. Now over 10% of the Atlanta Braves Major League roster was on the Rome Braves Sally League Championship team in 2003!
Also announced tonight were several other changes that to youthen (Youthen: verb meaning to make younger) the entire Braves organization. Former Auburn Tiger and current Mississippi Second Baseman Jonathan Schuerholz was called to the big club in Atlanta as well. However, Jonathan will not be playing second base; he will be taking over as General Manager effective immediately. Young Mr. Schuerholz's first move was to thank Bobby Cox and then fire him in favor of his daughter Skyla. Jonathan believes that she can relate to the younger ball players on the team and her career in college softball has more than prepared her for her new role.
The new Braves Skippette has already made sweeping changes on her coaching staff. Leo Mazzone has been replaced Leo the Lion of MGM fame. "We feel the king of beasts can really sink his teeth into the job, and maybe get these young pitchers the respect they have been lacking from the umpires," Skyla said.
Third Base Coach Fredi Gonzalez has been replaced with former horror star Freddie Kruger. Ms. Cox said, "Let's see them run through a sign at third base now". Former Braves infielder and First Base Coach Glenn Hubbard was replaced with Mother Goose Hall of Famer Old Mother Hubbard. "We like the link she gives us to the past and she provides stability and experience to a young team" she said. "Besides, you know how kids love dogs".
The new GM also remarked that "we have talked to Ma Hubbard and she has agreed to replace "The Goose" with the AFLAC Duck. This gives us endless marketing ability.
I also have it on good authority that the locker room will now be referred to as "the cupboard". Pat Corrales has been retained because I don't thing anyone has the guts to fire him. Also retained, of course, is Bullpen Coach Bobby Dews. "Doozie has been the picture of youth and vigor for so many years that he fits in with the "New" Braves," Ms. Cox said. "Besides with his degree in English from Georgia Tech, he will be able to help the boys with homework while on the road."
The changes are not just taking place on the field either. The Braves locker room (Cupboard), long the class of Major League Baseball, is "too stuffy," says younger Schuerholz. During the next road trip the lockers will be torn out and replaced with 1 by 10 planks and milk crates held up by cement blocks. The Braves dining/relaxation area furniture will be exchanged for a couch found on Cleveland Avenue this evening (as soon as the couch dries out). Pre-game meal choices will be cut down and reflect the new youth movement. Aramark has been replaced as the official caterer of the Braves in favor of Gerber. The putting green, long a staple of the Turner Field clubhouse, is being eliminated. Instead, folding chairs will be added with cool new Gameboy interfaces. PowerAde in the dugout is a thing of the past; starting with the next home stand Juice Boxes will be available in the dugout in several flavors.
Other changes include the closure of Sky Field. "We think it will be a distraction if the players have to choose between running the real bases or running the cool one on the roof," young Ms. Cox told me. Additional changes include…nachos out - Jell-O in, Huckleberry hound out - Power Puff Girls in, and Chop Shop out - Milk Mall in.
One of the more expensive changes will be the replacing of the old HD TV in center field. Schuerholz tells me, "That is old technology. We will be changing to plasma by the all star break".
The best news is several international baseball magazines has the Braves picked to win the next World Series. When asked about this both the new Manager and GM were both ecstatic. And they agreed that the Braves should be the favorite to win it all. The problem is finding someone who knows the way to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Ok, obvious all of that was in fun. Probably the euphoria caused by good news in the middle of the night. The truth is…I LOVE IT! This is good for the Braves and good for baseball. How can you help but love this? The best team in baseball is now the youngest team in baseball? Guess what? Before this is over they will also be division winners, THIS YEAR. To quote a recent commercial "These guys are good". And, it might not be over. Someone in Mississippi can hit at least .230 in the majors and play better defense doing it. Brian Jordan is one of my favorite Braves and I truly believe he is an incredible person, but these kids are good people too and they can play the game.
Julio Franco needs to stay as long as he is ambulatory. Last night when he went to Brian McCann after he was doubled off of first base was what leaders and veterans do. Julio will be one of the best things to happen to these kids and his attention will be welcomed.
Another leader on this team you might not suspect Adam LaRoche. Keep an eye out for him to very quietly step up and be a role model. And since he thrives in pressure situations look for his game to improve as well.
I am more excited about this team and the future of the Braves than I have ever been in my life. The future is brighter than I have ever seen it. So, hang on folks, this ride isn't nearly over. And, if you want get to know the next wave of Braves talent, take in a little league game in Marietta, Georgia next week. My guess is that at least three of the players will be playing at Turner Field in 2010.
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