Braves

Knockahoma Nation Episode 64

The Braves just lost two games to a terrible Orioles team, but they’re still in first place. While many of our fellow Braves fans and bloggers are wallowing in despair, we’re still smiling. Why? Well, because baseball’s fun and the sun is scheduled to rise again.

This is a very special episode. This week we’ve got our buddy Michael Cooper on the podcast. Michael’s a die hard Braves fan, living in Texas, with his wife and kids Maddox, Glavine, and Avery. We had Michael on so that he could talk about his son, Maddox.

Maddox (named after some feller named Greg) has Koolen-de Vries Syndrome. Michael’s on the board of directors for the Koolen-de Vries Syndrome Foundation and educated us on what KDVS exactly is and how us Braves fans can help raise awareness.

If you’d like to learn more about KDVS check out their website here. If you’d like to donate, go here. The organization is run entirely by volunteers and all donations help them continue to support their mission: To educate, increase awareness and promote research for the support and enrichment of individuals living with Koolen-de Vries Syndrome and their families.

Oh, Josh and Kenny also talk about the Atlanta Braves. Especially Johan Camargo. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out their website and spread the love. https://kdvsfoundation.org/

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 63

Greetings, Knockahoma Nation. Do we care about Brian Snitker‘s bullpen management? Do we care about Liberty Media’s involvement in the financials of the Atlanta Braves? Do we care about what the Braves might do by the trade deadline? We do not. Why? Because the Atlanta Braves are in first place.

This week we discuss deep complex issues like Dansby Swanson, pop country and why Jonathan Howard is still single. We don’t have an answer for the latter.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher.

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 62

WELCOME TO THE KNOZARKS.

What a time to be alive. The Atlanta Braves are in first place and Charlie Culberson keeps hitting walk-off dingers. Are you not entertained?

This week we have one of our favorite pals on Twitter and one of Josh’s favorite actors on the show.

Ryan Cothran writes for Walk Off Walk, a Braves blog that we love. Josh spends approximately 12 hours per week trolling Ryan for his questionable baseball takes. Ryan spent most of the off-season pontificating on Twitter how the Atlanta Braves were going to trade Nick Markakis. He never deleted these tweets, and now Josh reminds him of this.

We also have Atlanta-based actor Kevin Johnson on the show. Kevin plays Sam the real estate agent on the popular Netflix show Ozark. The show stars Jason Bateman, but we think it stars Kevin Johnson (or KJ as we like to call him) because Kevin is a huge Braves fan and Jason likes the Dodgers. Kevin gives us the inside scoop on how he landed the Ozark job, how his character Sam was created, and when Season 2 of Ozark is expected to hit Netflix.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher. Enjoy the show!

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 61

If you enjoy baseball and laughing, we encourage you to listen to this week’s replacement-level Knockahoma Nation baseball podcast. This week we’re joined by one of our favorites on Twitter, Natasha from Los Angeles Dodgers podcast The Real Housewives of Chavez Ravine.

As purveyors of humor, we think Natasha might be the funniest person in the state of California. We discuss very important things with Natasha like why Rich Hill is hot and how sexy Chase Utley is. Natasha also gives us a scouting report on the Dodgers for the upcoming Braves/Dodgers series.

Josh and Ken also take a quick look into Braves Country and probably talk about Jonathan Howard a little too much.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher. Enjoy the show!

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The Unsung Hero of the Atlanta Braves

Knockahoma Nation FanPost by @dren_braves on Twitter. @dren_braves is a mustache grower and mountain unicyclist who lives at the feet of the Wasatch Mountain Range in Salt Lake City, Utah where he watches Atlanta Braves games.

“This isn’t a try league…They better be ready to come play tomorrow…I was pissed, there’s a process that wasn’t sustained.  The first three innings, I loved it. And then we just kind of punted the last six innings. That pissed me off.” –Brian Snitker, following being swept by the San Francisco Giants in Atlanta

Just kidding, that wasn’t Brian Snitker, it was Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after losing the first of four games to the last place Cincinnati Reds.  Yes, those Dodgers who won 104 games just last year. Those Dodgers who won 43 games in a 50-game stretch in 2017, the most dominant 50-game stretch in 105 years.  Those Dodgers who breezed their way to the 2017 World Series.

2,179 miles away in Cumberland, Georgia, the Atlanta Braves are responding to their worst losing streak of the season (3 games) by winning 6 of their last 8 games. They are in sole possession of first place in the entire National League. Yet, nobody seems to be paying attention to this red-hot team. Sure, the Braves have some very bright young stars who are beginning to capture some national attention. We all know about Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuña Jr., but are these two players the reason this team is currently atop the National League? There is no doubt they are playing an important role as the top two hitters in the lineup. But it takes much more than a couple of young stars to make a good baseball team (just ask the Anaheim Angels). The Atlanta Braves are a complete baseball club. They have good pitching, great defense, and solid hitters top-to-bottom. One of the many guys holding this team together is…

El Chapulín Colorado

(Still trying to get this nickname to stick)

More agile than a turtle, stronger than a mouse, nobler than a lettuce, his shield is a heart…It’s Ender “El Chapulín Colorado” Inciarte!

One of the most polarizing players right now for the Atlanta Braves is Ender David Inciarte Montiel. The ladies swoon, while the SABR nerds spit all over him. Meanwhile, I’m over here listening to his interviews, laughing about how much he sounds like Vito Corleone.

I think even the most hardened SABR folks will acknowledge that Ender is adept at getting on base by hitting singles.  But they will quickly jump to, “but he doesn’t walk at all and doesn’t hit for power”. I am not here to argue that Ender is good at drawing walks, or that he is a power hitter. I am here to argue that Ender is an above average hitter, and a crucial part of the Braves’ success.

FanGraphs is a holy source of data for Ender’s detractors. But according to this holy scripture, an On-Base Percentage of 0.340 or higher is considered “above average”. Let’s see I’m just going to go look at Ender’s…oh my goodness he has a career OBP of 0.340! I am not surprised. That’s because hitting a single is just as valuable as drawing a walk when it comes to OBP. This is not the whole story though. When you draw a walk, any runners on base in front of you only get to advance one base.  If there’s an empty base in front of you, they don’t get to advance at all! However, when you hit a single, all of the baserunners can advance as far as possible. Very often a runner can go from first to third on a single, or from second to home! That means a runner scores! I feel dumb saying this but people seem to have forgotten that singles are more valuable than walks. A guy with a 0.340 OBP and a low walk percentage is more valuable than a guy with a 0.340 OBP and a high walk percentage.

I don’t mean to keep beating up the Dodgers, but they provide such a stark contrast to the Braves this year that really helps us understand what’s going on in Atlanta. Cody Bellinger is one of the bright young stars for the Dodgers. He had a monster rookie season last year. On April 29, 2018, he hit a ball into “Triples Alley” in San Francisco, and casually trotted into second for a double. The aforementioned Roberts benched him the next game for not hustling and trying for a triple. I challenge you, the reader, to find a time when Ender did not run at full steam on a ball hit in the gap. I think Ender probably leads the league in replay reviews on bang-bang plays at first [citation needed] (this, despite being one of the slowest centerfielders in baseball according to Statcast).

Bellinger opened eyes again last Saturday when in a close game in the bottom of the ninth and nobody on base, he bunted a 3-0 pitch right to the pitcher who easily threw him out for the second out of the inning. Ken Rosenthal later reported that Bellinger ignored a sign to take the pitch with three balls and no strikes. He ignored his manager and surrendered in a winnable game against a bad team. Oof. (Rosenthal, The Athletic)

Now let’s flash back to SunTrust Park on April 21, 2018. The Braves were down 3 runs to the rival New York Mets and managed to scratch out 3 runs to tie the game in the 8th and 9th innings. Ender Inciarte came up to bat in the 9th with 1 out and runners on 1st and 3rd in a tie game. Earlier in the game, in a crucial situation, Ender stole third but upon replay review was called out because he momentarily popped off the bag.  It was a deflating play, but Ender and the Braves always feel they can win, no matter the circumstances.

Back to the 9th inning: Freddie Freeman who was in-the-hole later explained, “I didn’t even grab my stuff because I told Snit, ‘I believe in Ender, I’m not even going to go up there’. Next thing you know he’s bunting and I just, like, start panicking. And then all of a sudden just awesomeness happened. I don’t think anyone else would have thought about that except Ender.”

We later learned that Ender did not go up to the plate planning to bunt. He dug into the box thinking, “I’m gonna swing, I’m gonna swing, I’m gonna swing.  Then I walked into the box and I saw Camargo (at third base) and I looked to first and I changed my mind.  I said, you know what, I can lay a bunt right here; it’s the right situation.” (O’Brien, AJC Article)

“It’s the right situation”. How many times have you watched a team try to win a game, and the guy at the plate just totally whiffs as he tries to hit the ball to the moon? Or let’s get weird, how many times have you watched a team try to win a game, and the guy at the plate bunts a 3-0 pitch right to the pitcher with nobody on base? The point is, Ender Inciarte is a great baseball player who knows his role. He doesn’t need to hit a 3 run bomb with a runner on third in a tie game. That RBI bunt single isn’t going to give a boost to his SLG, it’s not going to make his WRC+ look sexy, and it’s not going to make a huge boost to his WAR.  But Ender Inciarte won a ballgame that day for the Atlanta Braves.

We are very fortunate to be able to watch the rise of the next Atlanta Braves dynasty. The Braves are just so fun to watch right now, every day. Ender Inciarte is a big part of that excitement, and plays a huge role in every win. He’s out there every day making tough catches look easy. He’s out there every day getting on base. If you ever find yourself thinking, “but I wish he would draw more walks and hit more homers”, just STOP.  You’re trying to make yourself miserable. Enjoy the ride, you knuckleheads.

Sources:

Ken Rosenthal, “Are the reeling Dodgers really this bad or can they turn their season around?” The Athletic. https://theathletic.com/353492?shared_by=163314

David O’Brien, “Game-Ender bunt for bold Inciarte” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.myajc.com/sports/baseball/game-ender-bunt-for-bold-inciarte/5L3HsEaxVaI8EwFnJoJhJK/

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Episode 56 – Knockahoma Nation Podcast

The days of Ronald Acuña are upon us, Knockahoma Nation. Also, Ozzie Albies is really good, Johan Camargo needs to start, Austin Riley is tearing it up, and much more. This week the boys are joined by Ken’s father in law, Pastor and former College baseball coach Robbie Jones, and Josh and Ken remind folks what this podcast is all about.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher. Enjoy the show!

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Episode 55 – Knockahoma Nation Podcast

This week we are joined by our buddy Michael Kelly from House of Cards. You might know Michael from his role as Doug Stamper on House of Cards. But, did you know that Michael’s from Lawrenceville, Georgia and is a huge Atlanta Braves fan? Turns out, Michael is nothing like Doug. He’s actually a great guy and not scary whatsoever.

Me and Ken also do a recap of the week in Knockahoma Nation. We take a moment of silence out for Lane Adams and moments after Ken declares that Brian Snitker should bench Ryan Flaherty (despite his insanely hot start) to start Johan Camargo every day, the Face of the Braves, Johan Camargo himself, wins the baseball game while Ken was trying to record a podcast.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher. Enjoy the show!

 

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Episode 54 – Knockahoma Nation Podcast

The Unexpected Braves

It’s safe to say that the Bravos are better than anyone (except Josh) projected them to be. It’s still early, but so far this team has been fun to watch (even after that weird game in Chicago yesterday).

This week on the podcast Josh and Ken talk about:

  • Is Ozzie Albies the greatest second baseman of all time?
  • Is A.J. Minter the best pitcher? Or the best pitcher ever?
  • Dansby Swanson looks like a brand new man.
  • Josh gets political
  • Ken gets traditional
  • and much more!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher. Y’all don’t want to miss next week’s podcast. We’re going to have a very special guest!

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Why do baseball players wear baseball gloves?

A baseball glove is a large leather glove worn by baseball players of the defending team. They’re sometimes called “mitts.” They are meant to assist players in catching and fielding baseballs hit by a batter or thrown by another teammate.

If a baseball player is right-handed, he wears his glove on this left hand. Conversely, if a baseball player is left-handed, he wears his glove on his right hand. This allows the baseball player to throw the ball with the hand that is not occupied by the glove.

To expound a bit, a baseball team is challenged with of two main jobs. To accumulate runs and to stop runs. A game is comprised of 9 innings and there are two halves to each inning. The visiting team always bats first, which means they’ll be on offense during the top-of-the-first inning, at which point the home team with be on defense. After the top of the inning, the teams switch. The home team then goes on offense, as the visiting team makes its way to the field to defend against the offense.

The field is comprised of defensive positions. Catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base are your infield positions. There are three outfield positions – right field, center field, and left field. When a team is on defense, they send a man out (wearing a glove) to occupy each of these positions. Sometimes the manager of the baseball team might induce a shift, which means positions shift to another part of the field. For example, if the left-handed hitter at the plate has a propensity to pull the ball, the team on defense might institute a shift, moving defenders to a far right position.

Historically, the team on defense puts these efforts into place in an attempt to prohibit hits. For example, the second baseman and shortstop wear gloves and are standing at a ready position in the event that the baseball is deflected from the bat to where they can stop the baseball with their glove. If they catch the baseball in the air, it’s an automatic out. If they stop the baseball, after the baseball has already hit the ground, they must throw the ball to first base before the batter crosses the bag. If the batter crosses the bag before the first baseman catches the ball, this is called a hit.

Up until very recently hits mattered, which warranted the above mentioned baseball players and scenarios. Since 1887 baseballs that were hit, landing where defenders were not located, which didn’t make it over the wall (which is called a home run) mattered. One of the best hitters during the 20th century was Roberto Clemente. While younger generations now might not recognize him as an effective baseball player, because he was very proficient at getting hits, its important to remember the history of the game.

While hits no longer matter, clinical psychologists are trying to understand why giving up hits does seem to matter. Studies have shown that fans, and even writers, seem to display angry online behavior if a baseball player gets lots of hits, which would lead one to believe that, by the same logic, they would not care if their favorite pitcher gives up lots of hits. But alas, no-hitters and prohibiting hits are still en vogue on the defensive side of the ball.

There have been many new progressive solutions to fix the game of baseball since discovering that hits don’t matter. One idea has been to allow the defenders to play red rover while the opposing team is up to bat. The pitcher and catcher, of course, would not be able to engage in the game of red rover because they would be occupied with throwing to the batter, trying not to give up home runs (the only type of offense that is now awarded with any type of statistical value or online respect).

Another idea that has been floating around thought circles has been to allow the defenders to engage in staring contests. Some analysts include blinking in the confines of staring contests, while others believe that as long as you don’t laugh or smile, you win the contest. According to Baseball America, Matt Wisler of the Atlanta Braves has the strongest stare and could be one of most effective starers in 2018.

Perhaps the idea that is gaining the most popularity over the last several months is also the most noble idea, because baseball fields (especially world-class Major League baseball fields) are meticulously maintained, there seems to be an opportunity to turn these green spaces into urban farming communities. Opponents of this idea argue that if this were done, teams would be wasting money that they already have invested in defenders, especially center fielders. The argument against this is – if teams can teach defenders basic farming practices, they could utilize their investments (the players) in more effective and noble ways. Concerns of covered stadiums still need to be addressed, should MLB go this route.

According to the Ecology Center, urban farming communities do more than merely harvest food. They reduce carbon emissions, they improve overall public health, and most importantly, they enhance the overall food quality.

Such drastic changes and ideas are certain to bring fear into the more traditional baseball fan. But, now that hits do not matter and baseball players like Nick Markakis serve little-to-no purpose, something needs to be done to make the baseball field matter again.

Since baseball gloves are also no longer needed to prevent hits, there have been many folks within the baseball community trying to figure out new innovative ways of using the baseball glove.

Toronto Blue Jays fan and musical artist, Justin Bieber, has offered to incorporate a baseball glove in his act, much like Michael Jackson’s famous glove. The idea would be to enhance his stage performances when people like Andy Harris go to watch him.

Another idea has been reallocating gloves to pursue medical needs. Proctologists for years have touted the glove snap. Because of this, progressive thinkers believe that former baseball fans like Stephen Tolbert might be open to having their prostates examined for sticks up their anal cavities if said proctologists were using baseball gloves to perform their examination. This could encourage men to get checked at younger ages, which could in turn prevent prostate cancer.

Now that hits and their counterpart, baseball gloves, no longer matter, hopefully baseball fans can now turn their attention to other things that actually matter. Like spending time with each other, exploring the great outdoors, or rescuing a dog from a local shelter.

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Episode 48 – Knockahoma Nation Podcast

This week on the podcast the boys make a very special announcement, and they’re joined by the newest member of Walk Off Walk, Brittni Swanson.

Brittni recently came onto the Braves writing scene with an outstanding article about how the pressure the Braves put on Dansby didn’t really help him. Check it out here.

We also recap the FO meetings the Braves had with the players recently. Legend has it that Anthopoulos and his guys sat down with some Braves players and went over some analytics with them via PowerPoint.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher.

P.S. Make sure you knuckleheads support our buddies Doc and Dylan. These two of these knuckleheads (who’ve both been guests on the show) have started their own podcast called The Platinum Sombrero Podcast. It’s killer.

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