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Yeah, and they won't let it happen again. Atlanta would have let someone else start a MLS franchise, but not someone who already owns a sports team here.
MLB has to approve ownership and wouldn't allow Blank to own the Braves if the city didn't want to allow it.
That's just not true. The city wouldn't turn down Blank for anything. They have no authority to do something like that.
An MLS team probably would have played outside the city limits anyway.
When he gets a new stadium built for the Falcons, an MLS team can play there.
This post was edited by NigelUno 2 years ago
How good is this Pastornicky guy supposed to be? I just hope Prado and Heyward can get going offensively. If so, we can be a playoff team this year.
Reports vary. All agree he needs alittle more seasoning, but he has the potential to play at this level. Glove is better than his bat. Speed is above average.
good to know , cant wait to see the kid play but wish he had a couple more years to develop in the minors ; pitching is going to be unreal on this team this year - should be a good year
Really excited to see this. Always thought his violent arm action would eventually cause major problems down the road. Really hoping this works well for him.
Follow me on Twitter @Tusks247
Atlanta feels like home to Greg Walker
First order of business for Braves' new hitting coach will be to "fix" Jason Heyward
[IMG]By Jerry Crasnick
Greg Walker grew up in Douglas, Ga., a rural community of about 11,500 people in the deep southern portion of the state. Douglas is the hometown of Jennifer Nettles of the county music duo Sugarland. Bobby Bowden did an early coaching stint in the city at South Georgia College, and James Brown worked briefly at a local sawmill before graduating to bigger things as the Godfather of Soul.
Greg Walker is set to begin his first season as the Braves' hitting coach after serving in the same capacity for the White Sox since 2003.
As a child of the '60s, Walker was a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan, and a Hank Aaron fan in particular. So it was quite a thrill when he pulled into the Turner Field parking lot recently and saw Hammerin' Hank, now a senior vice president with the team, getting out of his car.
"I've been in baseball for 30 years and never had the opportunity to meet him," Walker said, "so I went over and introduced myself. That was pretty cool."
So much for the job perks. Walker has since graduated from star-gazing to bull sessions in the cage with Jason Heyward, winter caravan trips to Tennessee and the quest for some tangible results in a new role.
The Braves disdained a 25-man roster makeover this winter despite an 8-18 finish that left them a game short of the playoffs. Pitcher Jair Jurrjens and outfielder Martin Prado, both the focus of offseason trade rumors, will be on hand for spring training at the Disney complex in Orlando. Derek Lowe has departed for Cleveland and Alex Gonzalez signed with Milwaukee, leaving rookie Tyler Pastornicky as the new starting shortstop. He's backed up by Jack Wilson, the team's big-ticket free-agent acquisition on a one-year, $1 million deal.
General manager Frank Wren, while hamstrung by payroll constraints, is betting that the returning talent from the 2011 roster is good enough for the Braves to improve upon their total of 641 runs scored -- 10th-best in the league. Chances are Dan Uggla won't hit .185 in the first half again, nor will Brian McCann, who tried to come back too soon from an oblique injury, bat .203 after the break. The Braves also have reason to expect more from Prado, who missed several weeks with a staph infection and was ineffectual in August and September.
But the Atlanta hitters might need a push in the right direction. Toward that end, the Braves fired hitting coach Larry Parrish in September and replaced him with Walker, who was suddenly available after resigning as Chicago White Sox hitting instructor.
Coaches, like players, can benefit from a change of scenery, and Walker, a White Sox guy to the core, is about to find out whether that's the case. He broke into the majors with the Sox under manager Tony La Russa in 1982 and played 841 games in a Chicago uniform before a 14-game cameo with Baltimore in 1990. Walker began his big league coaching tenure with the Sox in 2003 and spent nine seasons working under Jerry Manuel and Ozzie Guillen.
Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and numerous other Chicago hitters swore by Walker as a teacher and mentor. "He's gotten me to places as a hitter and a player that I would have never gotten to without him," Konerko told reporters upon Walker's departure from Chicago. "I trust him with every inch of my swing."
But the 2011 season was challenging for a lot of people in Chicago. Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios were disappointing, Adam Dunn was a .159-caliber disaster, and Walker inevitably became a target for blame. He clashed with general manager Kenny Williams, and their relationship bottomed out with a shouting match in September. According to one baseball insider who's familiar with the situation, the two men "are not on each other's Christmas card list."
Walker was extremely loyal to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. But as the season progressed, he assessed the situation and determined that his time in Chicago had run its course. He would have been gone anyway when Guillen left for Miami, but he made it official in late September by announcing his resignation.
"Looking back, I have my own feelings about what happened there. But the bottom line is you just have to cut the cord and move on," Walker said. "I have a lot of good friends back in Chicago that I'm wishing nothing but the best. They're dear friends that I care about, and always will. But professionally it was time for me to move on. I knew it."
Walker has pronounced himself "re-energized" by the move to Atlanta, but he also faces some new and distinct challenges. The day after the Braves hired him, the Macon Telegraph ran the headline "Walker will have to fix Heyward." That salvage job could go a long way toward determining where the Braves finish in the NL East in 2012.
Heyward's travails have been well-documented. After posting an .849 OPS and finishing second to Buster Posey in the 2010 rookie of the year balloting, Heyward hurt his shoulder, messed up his swing while making some mechanical adjustments and had his fortitude publicly questioned by Chipper Jones. From all accounts, Heyward never clicked with Parrish, a respected coach who had earned rave reviews for his work with hitters in the Detroit system.
"Larry is an outstanding baseball man," Wren said. "I've known him for 25 years and he is really good. But for whatever reason, it wasn't a good fit for us. Just because it isn't a fit doesn't make him a bad coach or a bad baseball guy. It just didn't work."
Icon SMIJason Heyward had a down year in 2011, as he hit just .227 with 14 home runs in 128 games.
According to Wren, a "perfect storm" of developments led the Braves to Walker. Jim Fregosi, a special assistant to Wren and former White Sox manager, was strongly in Walker's corner, and the Braves liked Walker's mix of old-school fundamentals and receptiveness to new-age technology and information. Walker also has an amiable, disarming way with people that the Braves think will resonate with the team's hitters. No matter how well-conceived the message, it's meaningless if no one is listening.
"If you have a strong relationship with a player, you can be brutally honest," Wren said. "If you don't, you might have to hedge about what the real issues are. Greg has proven that. Players trust him and like him, and that sets up the ability for him to be honest and get the most out of them."
Walker, who ranks former Chicago hitting coaches Charley Lau and Walt Hriniak among his main professional influences, is a firm believer in the importance of forging bonds with players before trying to make changes or suggestions. The past few weeks have been an exercise in ground-laying.
In Chicago, most players fled the cold during the winter months. It's a different story in Atlanta, where many Braves call the city home year-round. In January, Walker held get-acquainted sessions at Turner Field with Heyward, Jones and Freddie Freeman. McCann and Uggla also passed through to take some swings and participate in the dialogue.
The early reports on Heyward are encouraging. He's dropped about 20 pounds to a reported 235, and appears to be "on a mission," in Walker's estimation. Heyward is working on taking a more direct path to the ball to avoid going around pitches and pulling all those weak choppers to the right side. After the first extended failure of his baseball career, he also needs to regain his self-confidence. From the coaching staff to Heyward's fellow players, it's been a collaborative effort to get him to the right place.
"Chipper cares about the kid and wants to see him do well," Walker said. "He's participating in the workouts and giving his input, too. All I can say is everybody who's seen Jason swing the bat is happy where he's at right now."
At Walker's suggestion, the Braves hired former White Sox and Rangers infielder Scott Fletcher as the team's new assistant hitting coach. Fletcher will provide a second set of eyes and a complementary voice in the cage, and also do advance scouting via video. The tag-team model has certainly worked well in St. Louis, where Mark McGwire is hitting coach and Mike Aldrete is the team's de facto "offensive enhancer."
For now, the Braves could stand some continuity in the hitting-coach department. They've gone from Terry Pendleton to Parrish to Walker since 2010, and Wren concedes that's not the optimal arrangement.
Ultimately, most of the scrutiny will fall on Walker. If the numbers fail to improve, Atlanta fans won't cut him any slack because he's a great guy and has an affable demeanor around the batting cage.
"In the big picture, the hitting coach is a very small piece of the puzzle," Walker said. "But it's a difficult job with a lot of pressure and media critiquing. Almost anybody who's played a game of slow-pitch softball thinks they know how the baseball swing works or what somebody is doing wrong. I love it. They're baseball fans, and that's what makes baseball special."
Walker comes to Atlanta with a thick skin, an appreciation for the organization's tradition and a foxhole mentality. He's ready to stick by his "guys" through good times and bad, and arrive at the park early and stay late if it means helping someone escape a slump. There's not a trace of front-runner in him.
Now that the introductions are complete and Walker has broken the ice with the players and shaken hands with the Home Run King, it's time to head to spring training and get to work. Chicago is in the past, and Atlanta feels a lot like home.
This post was edited by Tusks 2 years ago
good post , thanks +1
baseball is coming boys , cant wait until Spring Training
Pastornicky MUST be the answer to our problems at SS...Gonzo sucked big time.
have to agree with you , kid is still young but i heard he can play some serious D
Gonzo was just not worth the money we were going to have to pay for another couple of years
gotta get baseball going again soon , bored as hell right now
If you're talking about Pastor his defense is his Major weakpoint right now. His speed and contact makes up for his horrid throwing and bad fielding mechanics.
wow i thought the kid had an average bat but was amazing in the field ; would not be good given who we have playing 2nd although one of my favorite players
UPDATE:White Sox Interested in Brandon Beachy
Posted by tjzurnalistas on February 20, 2012
Posted in: Chicago White Sox. 8 comments
(2/22/12) UPDATE: The Atlanta Braves have two proposals currently circulating, they would want either A: Alexei Ramirez + Brent Lillibridge + cash or B: Gavin Floyd and Jordan Danks. Looking at the Price that the braves are putting on the Sox I HIGHLY doubt that the Sox will get this deal done. The Braves are asking a for lot of offense, like I predicted, but the price is to high for the Sox in my opinion.
(2/20/12) Reports show us that the White Sox are interested in SP Brandon Beachy. Beachy, 25 went 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 2011. The White Sox were reportedly interested in him during the trade deadline last year when the Sox were shopping Carlos Quentin. Brandon is one of the Braves’ many talented young arms, being a hot commodity I wouldn’t be surprised if a deal came to be within the next week but these are only rumors.
If a deal were to happen the Braves would likely ask for offense or prospects like Gordon Beckham, Jordan Danks or even Alex Rios if some of his contract were eaten by the Sox. The Braves will be looking for offense this season so this could explain why they need it. They will have to trade away a little pitching to become a more balanced team.
The Tigers and Angels have also shown interest.
please tell me no , i love the kid and dont know why in the world they would trade the kid when you have all of that other talent to trade ; we do need an infusion of offense in a bad way thougth
thanks for the post by the way , great stuff
Right now I want to make sure Jurrjens and Hanson are completely healthy before trading off ANY starting pitching.
Justice, Crime Dog are back with Braves this week
5:03 pm February 27, 2012, by David O'Brien
Chipper Jones (left) chats with his former Braves teammate David Justice, who is back in camp as a guest instructor. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Former Braves standouts David Justice and Fred McGriff began stints as guest spring-training instructors Monday, and for a moment Justice’s competitive juices were stirred.
“I just told Freddy that we’ve got Terry Pendleton, me and Freddy — we’ve got 3, 4 and 5 hitters,” said Justice, smiling. “I’ll take on any coaching staff within a 20-mile radius. And we’ve got [Braves minor league instructor Doug] Dascenzo leading off.
“I said let’s go play somebody – for one inning.”
Justice, 45, and McGriff, 48, will be in camp all week as part of a program the Braves began a few years ago, bringing in team alumni to suit up, observe and offer tips and advice for current players.
Former catcher Javy Lopez was in camp last week for his third consecutive spring, and Justice and McGriff are making their first appearances as guest instructors.
“It’s good to have those guys back, a stroll down memory lane,” said Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, a Braves rookie on the 1995 World Series championship team that featured Justice and McGriff. “It’s always good to have the alumni back just kind of spreading their knowledge. Those guys were the guys that took me under their wing and really gave me so much guidance when I was younger.
“And that’s the first thing David said [to the Braves on Monday] – ‘Don’t be afraid to come up to me and ask the questions, because I’ve been through it.’”
Jones had his first September callup in 1993, the year Justice had 40 homers and a career-high 120 RBIs and Justice and McGriff finished 3-4 in MVP balloting.
“No matter how old Chipper gets, he isn’t going to be older than me,” Justice said. “He will never stop looking like the young Chipper when I first met him, know what I mean?
“It’s just always good to come back to any function with the Braves, because this is where my heart is. Even though I played with other teams, this is home for me, the Braves.”
As McGriff and Justice chatted with players between rounds of batting practice on a backfield at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, McGriff felt a bit of a tug.
“I’ve been thinking, let me get my glove, my hat, take a few ground balls,” joked the lean-as-ever former first baseman, whose 493 career homers included 130 in five seasons with the Braves through 1997.
He will commute this week from his home in Tampa.
“The organization was good to me back when I was playing,” said McGriff, who, after being traded from San Diego in July 1993, helped lead the Braves’ famous rally from 10 back to beat San Francisco by one game for the division title.
The pressbox at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium caught fire the day he arrived, and the Braves overcame a 5-0 deficit in that July 20 game against St. Louis, tying the score on a McGriff homer before pulling out the win.
McGriff hit .422 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in his first 12 games for the Braves, who went 51-19 after his arrival.
“Had a lot of great memories from playing with the Braves, going back to the fire,” he said. “Just to come out here today and see Bobby Cox and [John] Schuerholz, Terry Pendleton … I was surprised to see Justice. It’s great seeing Dave.”
Justice was drafted by the Braves in 1985 and had eight often-eventful seasons in Atlanta. He’s most famous for his sixth-inning homer that was the only run in the Braves’ 1995 World Series-clinching Game 6 win against Cleveland.
He had been vilified for his quotes in that morning’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, when Justice called out Atlanta fans for not being supportive enough early in the World Series. He turned pregame boos to deafening cheers with his home run.
After one more season he was traded to Cleveland late in 1997 spring training. Justice has been back for some Braves functions but had not worn the full uniform until Monday. He flew in from his home in California.
“They didn’t have to talk me into it, they just had to invite me,” he said. “You invite me, I’ll come…. I’m looking forward to helping out whoever wants to spend some time with me. I’m not going to force myself upon any of the guys, but I’m definitely going to try to make sure I introduce myself to all the guys and make them feel comfortable, especially the young guys.”
McGriff and Jason Heyward went to a backfield for private instruction after Monday’s team workout, and Justice was spotted giving pointers to players ranging from Brian McCann to rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said only good could come out of having the former Braves standouts back in camp. Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, Tom Glavine and Gene Garber are scheduled to be in later in camp, all having served as guest instructors in the past. John Smoltz might also make his first appearance in the role.
Murphy is scheduled for a double-length 15-day stint March 3-18.
“What greater tool is there than to sit there and talk to Freddy McGriff about playing first base or hitting?” Gonzalez said. “Freddie Freeman’s a first baseman, left-handed hitter – Fred McGriff. Jason Heyward is a right fielder – David Justice. And Javy with some of the young catchers, and on and on. What a great thing.”
Really hoping this is either a typo or maybe he's never lifted weights a day in his life.
RT @Kurkjian_ESPN: Freddie Freeman told me his bench press went from 165 to 260 in the off season. He said he can feel the extra strength
I'm gonna cry like a baby when this day comes.
Could this be the final season of Chipper Jones' career? It's possible, and the veteran third baseman won't fight it if he feels it's time to walk away from the game.
Now this makes sense though it's still hard to fathom how Freeman could only lift 160 first starting out considering his size.
Day 5 of the Bus Tour took us -- Terry Francona and I, so no Kruk for a week -- to the Atlanta Braves camp. On Sunday night, Tito and I stayed
Drafted straight out of high school. College is really the only time there's a required weight lifting regiment in the sport. They work out and have trainers but there's not really designated strength programs to my knowledge.
Edit: Plus there's always been kind of a if they're good, leave them alone attitude. Do what works for you.
This post was edited by PTCcock195 2 years ago
Never really thought about that. Guess I took it for granted that we were required to lift everyday while still in high school.
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