Morning Chop: Summary of Braves’ News
Baseball’s Newest Trio Of Hall Of Famers Are The Embodiment Of Sportsmanship, Integrity And Character
In a rare display of enthusiasm by the cerebral Maddux, he expressed a genuine sense of excitement about meeting the 68 living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and becoming ingratiated within the fraternity. Instantaneously, you couldn’t help but envisioning Maddux and Glavine coming off the golf course and sitting on the back porch of the Otesaga Resort Hotel talking with Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson on pitch selection and pressure points on a two seam fastball. Thomas’ ebullience was probably the most obvious of the three as he had discussed the importance of remembering everyone that had played an integral part in his life and development as a baseball player. He jokingly said that it had taken years of polishing by many to get him to the Hall of Fame…
Throughout the press conference, Maddux’s notoriously dry sense of humor was on full-display for all to enjoy. On occasion, Glavine would join Maddux with witty responses to the questions. When both men were asked how they felt about failing to pitch a no-hitter in their prolific careers, they never regretted missing out on the opportunity to accomplish a feat of that magnitude. In fact, they were quite honest and said they weren’t blessed with the capabilities to throw no-hitters and they had to rely on pitching to contact.
Atlanta Braves Legend John Smoltz A No-Brainer To Join Former Teammates In Cooperstown
This past Wednesday, as most are already aware, Atlanta Braves legends Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were notified of their respective elections to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. Both were virtual locks and waited only until their first year of eligibility to receive the honor.
Perhaps the only thing that could make this upcoming July’s induction ceremony even greater for the Braves franchise would be former longtime teammate John Smoltz joining them. However, due to a largely unrivaled level of competitiveness and love of the game, the starter-turned-closer-turned-starter hung around one year longer than his pitching peers and will therefore not appear on the ballot until 2015.
Whether or not a certain player is worthy of being voted in as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer is more than a point of contention around baseball circles, but “Smoltzie” is a no-brainer. Starting with the fact that he managed to post a career 3.33 ERA while becoming the only pitcher in history to record 200 wins and 150 saves, the dominant right-hander prepared a 21-season resume that will more than stand the test of time.
Competitiveness fueled Glavine, Maddux
As a sports journalist in Atlanta, I often saw Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine up close and personal with the Braves, so I’ll share this observation, but don’t tell anybody: They were fiercely competitive. I mean, they battled each other over everything. Golf. Ping pong. March Madness pools. Jeopardy. Alligator wrestling. Karaoke. Sky diving. Hot-dog eating on the Fourth of July.
OK, some of that isn’t true, but you get the idea. During the decade that Maddux and Glavine played together for the Braves through 2002, one was Muhammad Ali to the other’s Joe Frazier, but they competed in the friendliest of ways. Not surprisingly, their little duels included all aspects of baseball, especially pitching, which is why they sit among the latest electees to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Said Glavine of Maddux: “Greg had a huge impact on me, both from a standpoint of what he provided for our team, and in doing so made me want to work harder and be better to keep up, but also learning from him about the things that he did to do what he did.”
What Maddux did was a lot. The same went for Glavine, who was the left-handed version of Maddux, with pitches that barely sliced through the wind. They both were masters at pinpoint control on the outside corner of the plate, and the next hitter that consistently outsmarts either one of them will be the first. So it makes sense that they both won more than 300 games (355 for Maddux, 305 for Glavine). In fact, Maddux finished the 1990s with more victories than any pitcher in the Major Leagues at 176, and Glavine was second at 164.
Forget peanuts and beer. Today’s stadium-goers want sushi and martinis
SUSHI isn’t usually mentioned in the same breath as baseball — at least not outside of Japan — but it has everything to do with why the Atlanta Braves are coming to Cobb. At least, that’s what KSU professor of sport management Dr. J.C. Bradbury contends.
He also argues that Cobb got a “better than average deal” for building a sports stadium and that the move is emblematic of a dramatic shift in sports marketing and viewership.
Turner Field, the Braves’ current home, was built where it is for the convenience of the 1996 Olympics, not the Braves, he said.
“But the nature of the way we watch sports has changed since Turner was built,” said Bradbury, who chairs the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management at Kennesaw State University and who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting of the Marietta Rotary Club. “We’ve seen this in both pro sports and college. As the economy grew and improved, people’s tastes changed. The people who go to games now are what I call ‘a sushi and martini’ crowd.”
So much for peanuts and beer.
“Rich people go to the games and poor people watch on TV,” he said. “It’s the new economic model.”