Braves

An American Martyr

Martyr: a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle : ie. John Coppolella.

In a world where being politically correct is worshipped, where Clay Travis is considered the anti-christ, and where the heel turn is the best character in all of wrestling, John Coppolella stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Randy Orton and Chris Jericho combined could not pull off half the heel-turn that Coppy has. Some fans were outraged at this “scumbag”. How could Coppy be such a “traitor”? Well let me tell you something. John Coppolella goes down in my book as not just one of the greatest rebuild General Managers of all time, he’s also an American hero. A true blue American martyr.

The man merely wanted to pay some latino players what they were actually worth to make his team the best. The man wanted Drew Waters to have a car, so he offered him a car. The man wanted the Braves to have the best farm system in America, and by God they did. The man wanted to take a team with half the budget of MLB’s darlings and make them competitive. Stick it to the man, John.

The other GMs hated him because he took his job too seriously. Screw them. Media guys didn’t like him because he held grudges and didn’t leak stuff. Screw them, too. The system always hates the innovators that play by a different set of rules. John Brown, Joan of Arc, Socrates, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr, Nathan Hale. All martyred because they refused to quietly go with the system as it was. And now, John Coppolella.

In a country where the very idea of a free market has governed our principles, our strategies, and ultimately our success for 300 years, John Coppolella is the latest in a long line of casualties. He’s a casualty in a system of corporate greed that simulates fairness by creating fake rules to regulate what needs no significant regulation.

Let’s be real, if Kevin Maitan signed on an open market he would have received $15+ million, and if he were to become a bust then said team would learn their lesson and not pay so much next time. If Drew Waters signed on an open market he’d get a couple of cars and about $10+ million. Let’s not let MLB’s corporate PR machine twist what happened here.

A $40 BILLION organization that has made it’s bread and butter on the backs of athletes (95% of which have been underpaid for the last 140 years) just banned a guy from it’s game for life because he outsmarted a broken system for a measly $15 million. This is the equivalent of Bernie Madoff’s child stealing a candy bar and his father disowning him while stealing billions from investors.

Did he break the rules? Heck yes he did. Do I care? NOT ONE BIT. Because rules that actually make one iota of sense don’t need to be broken. And since when did we as Americans decide that doing everything by the book was the ‘right way’? Was it illegal to dump a ship full of tea into the Boston Harbor? You’re dang right it was. Was it illegal to write our own constitution and tell King George where he could stick his rules? You bet your Don’t Tread On Me flag it was. Was it illegal for Rosa Parks to sit down on a bus? Sure was. This country is built on the idea that sometimes the heel gets it when no one else does.

While John Coppolella is in no way a civil rights icon, or a founding father, he is a martyr for the American way. Let me say it loud and clear. MLB and Rob Manfred are a bunch of hypocritical turdwaffles. They are perfectly fine with letting a player abuse his wife, to only return to playing baseball in a few weeks once the news coverage dies down.

They had no problem making PED users the face of the entire game for a whole decade, yet now condemn them and refuse to let them into the Hall of Fame. They don’t mind owners stealing millions from taxpayers to build a new stadium every 15 years while the stadium they have is still perfectly fine. But GOD FORBID one guy figures out how to beat their sanctimonious little system to get five extra prospects and pay those prospects what they should have been being paid to begin with.

This punishment reeks of the hypocrisy that has become synonymous with not only Major League Baseball, but America as a whole. We glorify politically correct images and people who pretend to play inside the made up rules because someone else said this is “the way to play”, while crucifying anyone who doesn’t fit perfectly into our little box. Regardless of how you feel about Trump this is why he’s had success. He says F the pc-rules. (Have I mentioned that sometimes rulebreakers are total idiots?) Al Franken will get to stay a senator in spite of groping a girl, Roy Moore may get elected in spite of being a 20-grade A-hole, and Rob Manfred will get to let off his buddy John Hart while looking like a hero for coming down hard on John Coppolella.

I’m not buying this BS. Was John Coppolella a total jerk? Perhaps. Did he break all kinds of rules? Sure. Did he cheat? Yep. Did he steal prospects? Yes. (RIP Dave Stewart.) Do I feel bad about it? Heck no.

Rob Manfred can take a sanctimonious walk down to Boston Harbor and throw himself in. Then he can take a few hours to dry and think about his made up rules and his self righteous BS while the rest of MLB continues to break them any way that they possibly can.

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 35 – The Punishment

On episode 35 of Knockahoma Nation Atlanta Braves Podcast, The punishment is here, how do you like your spanking? Josh and Ken get in a full on fight about the Hall of Fame.  Ken and Cynthia talk about getting banned from baseball. And Braves Options Guy gives us a little hope.

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The 2017 Atlanta Braves didn’t suck because of Brian Snitker

Before I delve into my extremely deep thoughts here, let me get this out of the way. I’ve said this publicly on the podcast, I’ve said it all over social media, and I’ve even made really immature videos about it for the Knockahoma Nation Twitter account, like this one here. I think the Braves could have found a better manager than Brian Snitker.

But this being said – The Atlanta Braves did not suck in 2017 because Brian Snitker was their manager. And for Braves fans to put all of their anger about 2017 onto the shoulders of Snitker is laughable.

Listen, Brian Snitker made some dumb decisions. He probably shouldn’t have let Emilio Bonifacio near a baseball diamond. But he wasn’t the one who put Emilio on the baseball team. Yes, he advocated for Bonifacio, but at the time it actually made sense. For a utility/bench guy, Emilio looked good in AAA, and by all accounts was a good clubhouse guy, so the manager liked him. Makes sense.

The thing about Brian Snitker is this – He plays ballplayers who are on his baseball team based on their role. So if you’re mad about that, try giving him better baseball players to work with. If your role is a utility guy or a bench bat, then that’s how Brian Snitker is going to use you. What I’m saying is – Brian Snitker’s only as good as the baseball players on his baseball team. Much like many other managers.

The funniest complaint I continue to hear about Brian Snitker is how terrible his bullpen management is. A couple of things here. First of all, almost every manager across baseball cannot mange a bullpen these days. And secondly, Brian Snitker was given a terrible bullpen.

“But Josh. He gave over 100 IP to two guys who had a +5.00 ERA.” Correct. Said “pitchers” with an ERA over 5.00 should not have been on the baseball team.

He did use Eric O’Flaherty in completely wrong situations over and over again. I’ll give you that. But at the end of the day, the season was a joke. So, who cares?

Brian Snitker was given a bullpen that was compiled of guys like Chaz Roe, Josh Collmenter, Rex Brothers, Jim Johnson and Luke Jackson. Put those guys in Terry Francona‘s bullpen and guess what? You’ve still got a shitty bullpen.

The 2017 Atlanta Braves sucked because they had really shitty players and because several of their non-shitty players took it upon themselves to try their hand at being really shitty.

It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that he was given a terrible bullpen. It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that Dansby Swanson couldn’t hit sliders. It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that Julio Teheran forgot how to play baseball. It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that Folty sucked, that Bartolo sucked and that Jaime Garcia sucked. It wasn’t his fault that Kemp couldn’t stay healthy.

Is Brian Snitker a terrible manager? He very well may be, and I’ll probably complain about some of his moves during the season. But I’ll reserve serious judgement on the guy until he’s actually given a formidable baseball team.

Towards the end of the season Atlanta Braves fans saw the very beginnings of an influx of young pitching talent with guys like Lucas Sims, Luiz Gohara, Max Fried. Between this type of talent and any newly acquired talent the Braves may get this off-season, perhaps we’ll actually get a logical gauge on whether or not Brian Snitker can manage a baseball team.

Until then, please shut up.

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Could the Braves go after Josh Donaldson?

Former Auburn Tiger, from Pensacola, FL, went to high school in Mobile, brought to Toronto by Alex Anthopoulus. Could it happen? Should it happen? What about Austin Riley? What about Camargo?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, you knuckleheads. It’s hot take season. And, when it’s hot take season, us baseball fans just can’t contain our hot takes. It’s what we do and it’s what we have done for over a century.

I first heard this idea brought up by the boys over at ChopCast. At first, I thought it was a bit wild. But that was before Alex Anthopoulos was announced as the new GM for the Atlanta Braves.

The notion doesn’t sound so wild anymore.

Let me first say this about Anthoploulus. He’s not perfect and he hasn’t won every trade. But like I said a few podcasts ago, some of the best GMs in baseball win AND lose trades. Anthopoulos has won and lost some trades. He’s probably won more than he’s lost. Plus, his drafting skills seem to be excellent.

Anthopoulos traded some amazing talent for an older R.A. Dickey, but he also traded peanuts for Josh Donaldson and signed Bautista and Encarnacion. And let’s face it – Alex Anthopoulos brought the Blue Jays from being completely irrelevant to being one of the best attended teams in MLB. This being said, could he go after Josh Donaldson?

But what about Austin Riley?

I think the Atlanta Braves love Austin Riley. In fact, they turned down a Chris Sale trade because the White Sox wanted Austin Riley. Now, that love for Riley could end up being different with a new guy in charge, with no emotional attachment to these players. But even if the Braves love Riley like I believe they do, and despite how great he’s been in the AFL, and in double-A this past season, he’s still at the very least one year away from MLB.

Donaldson could bridge that one-year gap. But he certainly wouldn’t be cheap. 

If Anthopoulos wants to get aggressive, he could go after Donaldson for one year, and then cross the bridge of a possible extension when it gets here. Now, if Anthopoulos deems 2018 as yet another re-building year, then sure, he might not go to such drastic measures getting a guy like Donaldson. I’m a believer in Johan Camargo, and as it sits now, I believe Camargo to be the best third-base option on the team currently. That certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Atlanta Braves.

Whether it’s landing Donaldson or not, I believe Atlanta Braves fans could be in for a wild and interesting ride this off-season. Sometimes it’s a good thing for a new guy (not just any new guy in this case, an extremely qualified new guy) to come in, with no attachment to any players, and do what’s best for the future.

Since 2015 Josh Donaldson has boasted the highest wRC+ (153) and the second most homers (111) among MLB third basemen. This 30-year-old seems to be in the prime of his career. Whether the Blue Jays retain him, or whether he ends up somewhere else, someone will be lucky to have him.

Fun fact about Josh Donaldson – In 2008 this young Cubs catching prospect was traded, along with Matt MurtonEric Patterson and Sean Gallagher, to the Oakland Athletics for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. In short, Jim Hendry wasn’t the best general manager the Chicago Cubs ever had.

by Josh Brown (aka @santoniobrown)

 

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