March 26, 2012
With the announcement that Chipper Jones will retire from Major League Baseball after the season, the Braves’ third baseman will wrap up an excellent career after this summer. Jones has not only been a pillar for the franchise, but one of baseball’s best players over the past 20 years. The question is sure to be there during the season: Is he a Hall of Famer?
One big thing that will help Jones is that he’s thus far avoided the rampant speculation of steroids that other stars in this generation haven’t. Jones has put up numbers that are widely believed to be honest and therefore, will stand out even more than many of his peers. About those numbers – heading into this season, Jones has amassed 454 home runs, 1,561 RBI, and 2,615 hits. He’s a career .304 hitter, won an MVP award in 1999, and also took home a batting title at the age of 36 in 2008.
Another thing to like about Jones’ credentials is that he finished in the top ten in Most Valuable Player voting six times over his career. Jones wasn’t only voted the league’s best player through that 1999 Award, but he’s been among the top players for a good portion of his career. That’s also evidenced by his seven All-Star selections.
Jones was somewhat of a quiet superstar. He never put up mind-boggling numbers compared to some of his contemporaries such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa, or Alex Rodriguez, but his consistency was his allure. He had eight seasons with at least 25 home runs and 100 RBI. That consistency also included staying healthy. In eight of his first nine full seasons, he played in at least 150 games. In addition, other than the strike-shortened 1994 (when he missed the full season due to injury) and 2010 when he played 95 games, Jones has reached the 100-game mark in every other season of his 18-year career.
And for everything that Jones has done in his career, there’s also what he didn’t do that was significant. In an era when 100 strikeouts is commonplace for power hitters, Jones never reached that mark.
Then there was the winning. Few, even Jones himself, would likely argue that the Braves underachieved when it came to winning World Series titles. From 1995 – 2005, the Braves reached the playoffs 11 consecutive times, but won the championship only once (1995). While that’s a bit disappointing, to even reach the postseason that many times is ridiculous. Atlanta did that largely behind strong pitching from future Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine, but Jones’ performances had a lot to do with it and in many of those seasons, he was the team’s biggest offensive threat.
I’ll be the first to admit that Jones doesn’t have monster Hall of Fame numbers. Barring an unbelievable 2012 season or a postponement of his retirement, he’s not going to get to 500 home runs – the long-time standard for induction before the steroid era. He also doesn’t have 3,000 hits or 2,000 RBI – both big milestones. But Jones’ numbers are surely good enough in my opinion and his track record in helping Atlanta to so many postseason appearances should put him over the top.
April 6, 2011
The Major League Baseball season is only a couple days old so if your team is on top of the standings, don’t buy your playoff tickets yet. And if you are rooting for a team that remains winless, don’t push the panic button. It’s still anybody’s ballgame so let’s take a look at some of the issues facing each team.
Can the Braves return to the postseason? If anyone is going to take the East title from the Phillies, it’s probably the Braves. They’ve added Dan Uggla and a healthy Chipper Jones to the lineup. The starting pitching is strong. The biggest question mark is the bullpen. The retirement of Billy Wagner has left an opening at closer. If Atlanta can find the right guy to take his place they can give the Phillies a run for the division title.
Florida has plenty of young talent on its roster. There is a lot of potential on this team, but the Marlins may not have enough to beat out Philadelphia and Atlanta. Guys like Gaby Sanchez, Donnie Murphy, and Annibal Sanchez are going to need big seasons for this team to be playing in October.
The bad news: this team is a mess off the field. The good news: there is no way the Mets can be as bad on the field. Everything will have to go right for New York to win the division. That starts with Johan Santana and Jose Reyes getting healthy and once again being the superstars they have been in the past.
Philadelphia became the favorite to win the N.L crown when Cliff Lee joined the rotation. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels give the Phillies a four-headed monster that can shut down any lineup. The Phillies lineup is not what is used to be, but with those four starters, it won’t have to be.
The Nationals’ hopes in 2011 took a major hit with the loss of Stephen Strasburg. Adding Jason Werth will help the offense, but the Nationals look to be preparing for a run in 2012. If Strasburg comes back healthy in 2012 and top-pick Bryce Harper lives up to the hype, this team has a bright future.
It could be an all or nothing season for the Cubs. If they can stay healthy and get productive seasons from Soriano, Ramirez and Zambrano they could win the Central. If the Cubs struggle under new manager Mike Quade, and the dugout brawls continue, it will be a complete disaster, and the drought will live on for another year.
Cincinnati won the Central in 2010. They have a great chance to repeat that feat in 2011. The Reds had the best offense in the National League. They have the reigning NL MVP. The roster has the fewest holes to fill, and they should be motivated after a dismal performance in the playoffs.
Houston had the worst offense in the NL last season. The defense wasn’t great either. They have a quality starting rotation, but the bullpen needs work. The Astros will have a tough time surpassing last season’s win total of 76.
There is a wide range of expectations for Milwaukee in 2011. They have been picked to win the Central, but they have also been at the bottom in some preseason predictions. Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum will bolster the pitching staff. The lineup is built around Prince Fielder, who could have a huge year and lead them to the playoffs. But Fielder is going to be a free agent and could leave town, so the Brewers may decide to throw in the towel and trade the Prince so they don’t lose him for nothing.
.500. That is the goal for the Pirates. They haven’t done it since 1992. That is a long time to wait for Pirate fans. Unfortunately, there is not much reason to believe they will be better than they were in 2010. And they were the worst team in baseball.
The Cards were supposed to win the Central in 2010. They were expected to have a bounce-back season in 2011. Then they didn’t get Albert Pujols signed. And Adam Wainwright went down for the season with an injury. It will be tough for this team to reach the playoffs without their ace and the Pujols questions hovering over them all season.
They finished last in the West in 2010. The offense is weak and they strike out a lot. The starting pitching is OK, but the bullpen has holes. The Diamondbacks have a lot of work to do if they are going to compete for the playoffs in the next couple years. It won’t happen in 2011.
The Rockies will be good in 2011, especially if they play better on the road. Colorado was dominant at home last year and bad on the road. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are stars. The other pieces are in place to make a run at the division crown. They will give the Giants all they can handle in the West.
80 wins was a disappointment for this team in 2010. Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton were great in 2009 when the Dodgers made the playoffs. Not so much in 2010. If those two return to 2009 form and the ownership issues don’t get in the way, Los Angeles will be playing meaningful games in September.
San Diego should have won the West last year. They would have without the 10-game losing streak at the end of the season. They can still pitch, but the loss of Adrian Gonzalez in the middle of that lineup will hurt. They will have to find a way to score to compete in 2011.
The Giants shocked baseball by winning the World Series in 2010. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain led the pitching staff and shut down team after team in the playoffs. The offense was not prolific, but they got the big hits when they needed to. No matter what the offense does in 2011, the starting rotation will keep the Giants in the playoff hunt all season.
March 13, 2009
It just keeps getting better…
If you love our NFL Tradeables just wait till you see the new MLB Tradeables! They are now for sale at Fathead.com. We have single packs and 10 packs available. Each pack contains (5) Fathead Tradeables, (1) team logo and (4) MLB Players. There are 180 total MLB Tradeables you can collect and every team is represented.
Also, you can save 20% off the single pack price when you buy the 10 pack (10 packs for the price of 8).
Today’s great names in baseball are all represented and many of them are also available as Real.Big. Fatheads including: Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, AJ Pierzynski, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Joe Mauer, Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Vladimir Guerrero.
Check it out!
August 20, 2008
By Steven Haar
It’s the middle of August and the Atlanta Braves are 12 games out of first in their division. 14.5 game back from the lead for the wild card. The season is looking like a disappointment for fans. The Braves were once a dominating force in the division. Year after year the team took the pennant. However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The Braves have been “rebuilding” now since the end of their 14-year division champion streak. At the start of the season, there was some hope that this year’s team could reach the pinnacle of their division again. So what has happened to bring the team to their current position?
Injuries. Fans have been hearing about them all season long. The pitching roster is missing all the big names that gave fan’s hope at the beginning of the season. Smoltz, Hudson and Glavine are all on the IR. Fan-favorite Chipper Jones has also been on and off the IR this year, much like years past. The injury bug is one the Braves can’t seem to shake. The rash of injuries to star players may just be attributed to the aging roster. Smoltz and Glavine are both over 40, Jones and Hudson in their mid 30’s. Meanwhile the young stars, McCann and Francoeur have yet to see the IR this season.
Even though the Braves have not reclaimed the division banner in the last few seasons, they still draw legions of loyal fans to every game. “America’s Team,” as they were once called, averages over 31,000 fans a game. The Braves fill the stands with tommahawk choppin’ fans night in and night out. Fans who come to see the hometown favorite Francoeur belt another homer or to cheer as long time manager Bobby Cox storms out of the dugout to argue a call and be ejected from another game.
No matter what, we the fans are here to stay. Still, it would be nice if the Braves got back on track and rebuilt their rock solid franchise that we all remember from the ’90s!
July 28, 2008
By Apryl DeLancey
Baseball is finally getting back into the “swing” of things after the All-Star Break. Yeah, that was one loooooong game! The historic match was the last to be played in the old Yankee Stadium and lasted a whopping four hours and fifty minutes. The American League eventually pulled it out with a 4-3 victory.
Fathead favorites in the All-Star Game included Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, David Ortiz, Grady Sizemore, Ichiro Suzuki, and Manny Ramirez. The temperature at the start of the game was a summertime 82 degrees and, for a while there, it looked like the Fathead crew was ready to heat things up even more. Sizemore managed a single and then stole second base (he was also in that exciting Home Run Derby).
The first four innings of the game were scoreless and the National League drew first blood with one run in the 5th and another in the 6th. The AL put up two runs in the 7th and each side scored one in the 9th. The game remained deadlocked until the 14th inning, when the AL was able to close out the contest. Overall, it was a contest that brought out the best in pitching and kept fans interested…if they liked long baseball games!
There was much chatter during the week about the relevance of the All-Star game. On one hand, the winner of the game gets home field advantage in the World Series for their division. Some don’t think this is very meaningful, especially since players run the risk of an injury in a game that does not directly affect their team outcome. Is the game worth it? Many enjoy the break but others find it to be a waste of time. What do you think? Is the All-Star Game really necessary?