Opening Night ’08

brianmccann

To my surprise last week, the Braves are playing tonight versus the Washington Nationals, instead of with everyone else on Monday. Seems that the Nats are opening up a new stadium and decided to invite the Braves to the party, complete with President Bush, cherry blossoms, and everything else DC has to offer. Guess that’s a little fitting since Ted Turner once tried to market the Braves as “America’s Team”, never mind they were in last place for a lot of that campaign.

Those were the days of Dale Murphy (my first favorite player), Dwight Evans, and Bert Blyleven. Those were the days when tradition went before marketing. Unfortunately, for the Braves players and staff, tonight is about marketing. See, the catch is, the next game in this series doesn’t occur until April 11. Huh? Yeah, the Braves have their own home opener tomorrow night against Pittsburgh. So, the Braves are only playing tonight to open up a damn stadium. Any reason this couldn’t wait until tomorrow? The new Busch Stadium didn’t have it’s opener until April 10 in 2006. I’m sure they could of waited in DC.

And don’t get me going on the whole let’s-play-two-in-Japan thing. I’m sure Oakland A’s fans really appreciated opening their season overseas where the games came on at about 3 am local time.

Back to the Braves, I’m hearing a lot of good about them this year, which is good because I really gotten used to them being good. Their lineup is expected to have a lot of pop with Brian McCann (my new favorite player), Chipper Jones, Mark Teixeira, and Jeff Francoeur. On the pitching side, Tom Glavine is back after a stay with the dark side, aka the Mets. If the pitching holds up and stays healthy, because these guys are a bit old by athlete standards, this could be a team that could even win the division (and piss off the rest of the NL East for the 15 time in 18 years). It’s going to be weird not seeing Andrew Jones (my old favorite player) not roaming centerfield as he’s now with the Dodgers, but hey, life goes on.

But as for tonight, hopefully the Braves will be rude guests and crash this house warming. Go Braves!

Update: Ryan Zimmerman just hit a walk-off home run to end the game 3-2 for the Nats. That sucked! Home opener for the Braves tomorrow night.

Another note, the Braves were apparently surprised by some new alternate road jerseys tonight. These things are so new, they’re not even available to buy yet. I’m kind of mixed on them, mainly with the numbers on the back being the same dark blue as the jerseys with only a white border to differentiate. See the new blues below.

newblues

One more note, it appears ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark has picked the Braves to win the World Series this year. Here’s a quote from the article that keeps in the spirit of tonight’s Braves/Nats matchup:

“I don’t think anybody should be looking forward to going into Atlanta this year and facing [Tim] Hudson, Smoltz and Glavine,” said Nationals manager Manny Acta. “And [Mike] Hampton, too. That’s a bunch of tough hombres to go up against. And as long as Bobby Cox is over there, I don’t think anybody should overlook that team.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

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~ by Steve L. on March 30, 2008.

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