Archives For Atlanta Braves

I’ve heard it said many times that Andy Pettitte is a swell guy. A good family man they say. And a man of faith to boot! What’s not to like?! That answer in a moment…

Andy retired this week after nearly two decades of hurling. A baseball. The Bronx Bombers appear to be really concerned, as this news comes on the heels of their failure to lure coveted Clifford Lee to New York and their hated rivals stocking up on off-season prizes. It’s really a delight to behold the Yankees’ concern!

While Pettitte’s longevity is impressive, what he did while on the mound caused me and many of my baseball brethren a great deal of pain. His pitching prowess in crucial, close games of October of ’96 and ’99 assured that decade of internet booms would be remembered more for the Evil Empire than my beloved, pitching-rich Braves. And it was his irritatingly clutch performances throughout the 2000s against my other favorite club – the Minnesota Twins – that sealed the deal on three first round defeats at the hand of the evil Yankees.

Andy Pettitte wasn’t nearly the pitcher that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, or Johan Santana were (Santana is the only name there I anticipate being arguable). But somehow he become a far greater version of himself when he faced their (and my) teams in the playoffs. Although! I made an interesting discovery just now that bolsters a suspicion I’ve always had — Pettitte benefited in the extreme from the stacked Evil Empire offenses with which he was paired. Case in point – Pettittes’ career postseason ERA:¬† 3.83. His career postseason wins? A major league record 19. Compare that with Greg Maddux’s career postseason ERA of 3.27 and 11 wins. Intriguing! It was an emotionally taxing tendency.

Andy’s bosom-buddy-ship with Roger Clemens (I like to calm him Codger Lemmons), one of the great hosers of baseball history, doesn’t help on the likability front. Granted, Pettitte is now the star witness in the government’s case against Clemens’ for “alleged” (hohoho) artificial enhancement. So there’s that. But how could you enjoy fellow-shipping with the dude who pulled stunts like this for years upon years?! Andy!

I’m grateful Andy will no longer be looming in October, and feel a great swell of hope that with his exit the curse of Twins’ playoff failure against the dreaded Yankees will finally be cloven in twain. Farewell, Andy! You were a cow to us, and I wish you’d left sooner… but, I’m sure that your mother loves you very much. And that’s important.

With baseball’s postseason rapidly approaching, it is time once again to bemoan the greatest evil in America’s greatest game.

Although squads like the Twins & Rays have had fabulous years, they will enter into the crapshoot quest for a World Series at a distinct disadvantage. That disadvantage takes the form of the number 206 million, 333 thousand, 389. That is the payroll of the New York Yankees. It’s more than twice that of the Minnesota Twins, and nearly three times that of the Tampa Bay Rays. New York isn’t just using those money bags on staplers and stationary – it’s giving them a massive advantage on acquiring big name free agent hurlers and sluggers.

This clear inequity gave rise to the observation that this situation is eerily like another. It was a wise Bostonian who first dubbed these Yankees “The Evil Empire”, and he was precisely correct. If you are a Yankee fan, you are essentially cheering for the Soviet Union to win the Cold War.

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! YOU IGNORAMUS!” Well let’s just go ahead and look at what the Soviet Union & the Yankees have / had in common shall we?…

1. A Ruthless Leader Who Would Stop at Nothing


Joseph Stalin demanded every red cent from his downtrodden peasants to support his misguided military adventures. He attempted to make friends with Adolf Hitler. George Steinbrenner exacted every penny possible from his fans with outlandish ticket prices, and used their hard earned cash to acquire morally bankrupt mercenaries like Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi & Alex Rodriguez.

2. Apparently Limitless Resources


In 1991, before Ronald Reagan and George Bush the Elder finally brought the Marxists down – the Red Soviets had corralled 8,649,538 square miles of the world’s land area and held sway over 293,047,571 people. They were lording it over the Kazakhs, the Ukrainians, the Poles…. Meanwhile, the Evil Empire in New York City has boasted MLB’s largest payroll for 17 of the past 25 years. They occupy the nation’s largest media market by far at over 7 million households, an advantage that feeds into their ravenous over-spending. The blasted pin-stripes have even been known to convert weak-hearted denizens of Omaha and Rochester into their fans.

3. Hordes of Really Unhappy People Left in Their Wake


Communism sounds like a swell idea until you’re told that the socialist utopia is achieved by forcing folks to give¬† the government all their stuff so they bequeath it to the people who need it. And often this often turns into the government big whigs just keeping all the stuff anyway. Add to that situation the fact that the Soviets often invaded other lands wholesale… and had a tendency to kill their own people. There’s a lot of displeasure that ensues.

The Yankees claim that they’re America’s team, and that their success somehow unifies us all into a great circle of Kumbaya chanting joy. But what about the 1996 (and 1999) Braves, huh? What about the the 2009 (and 2003… AND 2004) Twins? AND THEIR FANS? There is no joy in Mudville tonight, my friends.

4. A Sworn Enemy the Rest of the World Cheers for


As point 3 explains, when there’s an Evil Empire out there trouncing on people’s rights and happiness – they become significantly unpopular. This was the case for the Soviet Union in much of the world during it’s reign of terror. And just as evil has good, the Red Empire had the United States and Western Europe. America and the Brits pushed back at the Soviets across the globe. Back in those days, the USA could win popularity polls pretty much everywhere. Except in France. Some things never change.

In perfect symmetry, the Yankees’ vile reign has at its opposite pole a sworn enemy. The Boston Red Sox, having many a time felt the particular sting of New York’s success, rose up in the last decade. They turned the tables on the barons of the Bronx and captured two world series in the 2000s. A glimmer of hope to those who yearn to breathe the free air of a baseball world devoid of the relentless tentacles of its Evil Empire.

5. Celebrity Adherents


Hollywood’s dalliance with the political left is the stuff of legend. There are no quicker brutes to lampoon capitalism, the Right, and all that is good and worthy in our society and history than actors and their kind. This phenomenon is responsible for the shock you feel every time you hear that an actress or director is actually a Republican. The trend continues on the baseball field. The Yankees garner more celebrity lemmings than any other ball club. If Rudy Giuliani can be excused – than surely Jay Z, LeBron, and Christina Aguilera cannot. The Evil Empires collide once more.

So before you make your cheering choice this October, remember, your country needs you. The Western World needs you. Stand against the Evil Empire.

GooseRadio’s David Gregory, the Emperor of Fargo, joins me to talk MLB baseball in 2010.

Target Field’s awesome-ness is praised. Gregory speaks of The Minnesota Twins signing of Joe Mauer and it’s necessity. He also takes a gander at Mauer’s future production, Francisco Liriano’s promise possibly being fulfilled, and what one piece the Twins might need to carry them to a World Series.

General thoughts on the MLB 2010 season are explored. David says this year is just like the Oklahoma Land Grab, with a bit more parity between teams. He doesn’t miss the opportunity to knock on the New York Yankees, however, and points out the different outlook teams like the Twins have to have to compete with the Evil Empire.

The Atlanta Braves are touched on. Jason Heyward is really something, and kind of a pleasantly unusual story for baseball. Does Atlanta have what it takes to give the Phillies a run for their money in Bobby Cox’s last season?

And lastly, can anyone get past the Yankees for the World Championship?