Braves

Knockahoma Nation Episode 69

This week Josh and Ken go hard in the paint at some Braves bloggers. They discuss the political divide of baseball. Why do old school guys hate the analytics crowd? Why is the analytics crowd so rude and condescending to the old school crowd?

They also talk about Trump.

No animals were harmed in the recording of this gluten-free podcast, but we can’t promise about your feelings.

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 67

This week we’re rejoined by Michael Kelly, and Jonathan Howard joins us for the first time. This could be the best episode yet.

You may know Michael from his role as Doug Stamper on the Netflix show House of Cards. Michael’s a buddy of ours, a woke Knockahoma Nation listener, and a very knowledgeable Braves fan. You’d think a guy as busy as him might not keep up with the details of his favorite sports team, but Michael can wax philosophic about Joey Wentz and Touki Toussaint with the best of them.

If you listen to Knockahoma Nation, you may have heard us talk about Jonathan Howard. Jonathan’s our friend who works for Chick-Fil-A, whom we’ve been trying to hook up with Savannah Dent on Twitter. We had Jonathan on to talk Braves baseball, but also to have Michael give Jonathan some relationship advice.

We also bring back our PATENTED “Make It Matter” segment. On this Make It Matter segment we talk about the most political issue of our time – launch angle.

Enjoy.

 

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 66

This week on Knockahoma Nation Ken explains what a baseball manager does and Josh recaps his interesting trip to ElizaBETHton, Tennessee to see the Danville Braves. Did you know that they don’t serve beer at ElizaBETHton Twins games? It’s true.

Ken also gets philosophical, and talks forever, about his favorite past time, the grandest game of all, baseball.

We hope you enjoy. And don’t forget to subscribe to Knockahoma Nation on iTunes, CastBox or Stitcher.

 

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Why the Atlanta Braves lost two games to the Reds

In the game of base ball, there are two teams playing. Unlike individual sports like golf or Olympic diving, athletes in the game of base ball belong to a team and their team is always competing against another team. At any given point in the base ball game, one team is on offense while one team is on defense, and it is the only team sport in which the defense has the ball. Each team is trying to win.

In golf, a player steps up to the tee box alone. Aside from their own thoughts and personal limitations, no one is attempting to get in the golfer’s way of hitting the ball of the tee. The same thing goes for diving. In diving, a diver climbs to the top of the platform alone. The only competition the diver faces is the diver himself.

In base ball, and other team competitive sports, while the player is certainly at the mercy of his own thoughts and limitations, he’s also at the mercy of the players on the other team who are trying to win. As mentioned previously, each team is trying to win, and each player is trying to impede the opposing players from performing their tasks.

For example, when shortstop Dansby Swanson steps into the batters box, he faces an opposing pitcher. Webster defines “opposing” as being in conflict or competition with a specified or implied subject. While Dansby’s job is to get a base hit, or at the very least get on base, the pitcher’s job is to get Dansby out. Thus creates an atmosphere for what is known as competition.

Furthermore, in sports an athlete is often judged and valued on their ability to perform in clutch situations. Websters defines “clutch” (in sport) as denoting or occurring in a critical situation in which the outcome of a game or competition is at stake. Great examples of this in other sports might be former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and current NFL quarterback Tom Brady (former draftee of the Montreal Expos). Manning seemed to perform excellent at his everyday job, but struggled in clutch situations. Brady seemed to perform well in both.

On Monday, the Braves faced Reds pitcher Matt Harvey who was trying to prevent the Braves from getting on base and scoring. For the most part, Harvey succeeded, just giving up one run in 6 2/3 innings. The Braves could only score 3 runs that game, while the Reds scored 5.

On Tuesday, while the Braves scored 4 runs in the fourth inning, and while the Reds trailed 5-3, the Reds did not give up and ended up scoring 3 more runs, making the score 6-5. Had the Braves scored more than 6 runs, they would have won the base ball contest.

The Atlanta Braves remain in first place in a division where there are other base ball teams also trying to win games. Tomorrow they’ll face the St. Louis Cardinals, another base ball team, who are in the central division of the National League. The Cardinals will try their very best to win and prevent the Braves from winning, while the Braves will do their best to remain in first place.

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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!

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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.

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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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