According to this Phillies preview, one of the hottest match-ups of this Phillies-Braves game will the Phillies and Braves. They can also both be grouped into the “Who’s NOT” category, apparently.
I’ll tell you who’s NOT: Jason Heyward. And by “NOT” I mean “NOT stoppable.” This from the Delaware County Times article on the guy that basically functions as a white flag of pants-pissing surrender to Ryan Howard, Jr.
Phils-Braves, 7:10, Turner Field
The first few years I was watching baseball as a child, rather than the semi-functioning “adult” described in a handful of less than flattering police reports, the Phillies would go head to head with the Braves, and boy howdy, would it be a shit show. There’d be tomahawks whizzing past your head and Darren Daulton railing out his infield for booting the ball… mistakes mattered even more because it was the Braves. They were our enemies. Our nemesis.
I remember a strangely-faced Otis Nixon buzzing from base path to base path like a hummingbird shot out of a pistol chamber, wondering how the googly-eyed monster from under my bed could have gotten to Atlanta since terrorizing me earlier that morning.
The Braves were the Yankees of the NL; not in the sense they had money, or were a bunch of cock suckers, but I was disgusted by them because they were the bane of our existence, public enemy number one in the Senior Circuit, the team I wanted to succeed the least.
And then, as described in this phenomenal musing by Will Leitch, they were gone. No more tomahawk chops in the post season. No more eye rolls at another Braves playoff run. Suddenly, like, well, Otis Nixon… they were simply no more. The rivalry existed because they were in our division, but outside of that, it was like meeting a childhood friend after 40 years.
“Oh my gosh, its the Braves! How’ve you been?”
“Not so great.”
“You want to… grab a beer… or….”
“I actually have to leave immediately.”
The year is 2010, and the Braves aren’t the World Champion Braves from 1995, or the below .500, 18 GB Braves from 2006 (Well, Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones, some of them actually are). This year, they’re the Bobby Cox on his way out, Jason Heyward on his way in Braves, with a dynasty to re-capture, lusting for glory with a lineup prepared to rip its pants off. This is complimented by a rotation of an oh-god-please-let-me-return-to-f0rm Tim Hudson, a I’ll-show-you-what-a-ROY-runner-up-is-capable-of Tommy Hanson, and a damn-it-you-pay-attention-to-me Jair Jurrgens.
The Phillies, snatching a sour batch of losses off the branch, are boasting the wondrous doo-wopping of a “hey-my-ERA-is-only-close-to-20-not-actually-20″ Kyle Kendrick. Yippee.
If ever there was a time to flick the bats awake and Kendrick to redeem himself, it would be against the Braves, a team that if not constantly causing trouble for us in 2010, will definitely be knifing their way to a wildcard spot. They have the pitching, the offense, and the motives. They will be waiting for us to screw up.
Don’t. Screw. Up.