My dream: Elton John teams up with a rich Atlantan (say Sara Blakely, the billionaire who founded Spanx) and buys the Bravos.
He’s no superficial fan. In this series of clips, from 2007, Elton bitches about the best-of-five division playoff, disses the DH, compares B-Mac to Johnny Bench, quizzes JS about Leo Mazzone’s departure and asks Knucksie about his nephew Lance.
He even gets JS to admit a mistake when he asks: “Why did we get rid of Jermaine Dye?”
Think of it: A baseball fan who’s loved the Braves as long as, if not longer, than most of us running the show. Bet he’d get rid of that godawful country pop shit they play between innings, too.
On June 18, 1978, Preston Hanna beat the Pirates, improving to 6-1 with a 3.07 ERA. It appeared the 23-year-old right-hander was well on his way to fulfilling the promise that had made him a first round pick six years earlier.
Alas, it was not to be. He didn’t make it out of the second inning in each of his next three starts, allowing 15 hits and 15 runs, walking 8. Hanna ended up losing 12 of his next 13 decisions, finishing the year with a 5.13 ERA and a ghastly 1.603 WHIP.
Injuries sidelined Hanna for much of the ’79 season. He was recast as a reliever the following two years but struggled mightily with his control, walking 246 in 389 IP as a Brave. Add one hit per inning pitched and you get a 1.635 WHIP.
Hanna got his release in 1982, signing with Oakland, where he lasted half-a-season. His career was over at 28.
The Braves have what they need, and Colorado has Dexter Fowler, the lead-off hitting outfielder who would complete a formidable line-up.
The Rockies are desperate for pitching and could use a corner infielder. How many homers do you think Juan Francisco would hit playing half his games in Coors? More than Colorado’s projected corner infielders — Todd Helton and Jordan Pacheco — combined, I’d bet.
Pacheco, a converted catcher who hit .309 last year with little power, would also be a nice fit in Atlanta as jack of all trades backing up at first, third and behind the plate. Here’s my proposed deal, which should be more than enough but is unlikely to satisfy Colorado, which tends to over-value their talent:
Fowler and Pacheco
Randall Delgado, Sean Gilmartin, hard-throwing reliever Juan Jaime and Juan Francisco.
Fowler, an Alpharetta native, finally fulfilled his potential last year, posting a .389 OBP — more than 40 points better than Michael Bourn — and .474 slugging percentage. Sure, his home/road splits are troubling, but an OF of Fowler, B.J. and Jay Hey — all 28 and under — excites the hell out of me.
If only the Rockies would cooperate.
Dayton Moore never disappoints, signing yet another discarded Brave on Thursday. Blaine Boyer will presumably compete with Anthony Lerew, Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, Horacio Ramirez, Juan Cruz and Roman Colon for a spot in the Omaha Storm Chasers bullpen.