NL East Infection: …And This is HOW we Chop


Atlanta Braves

Yes, the Braves are wise to all enter 2012 with a dose of optimism.  Of course, it’s the preseason, so everybody gets to be optimistic.  Even the team that invited back almost exactly the team that ruined everything last season.

Speaking of which, Scott Linebrink chose to re-live that magical day many months ago when a stupid-looking Hunter Pence single shattered the Braves’ hopes and dreams for the 2011 playoffs.  From his place in the defending World Series champs’ clubhouse, Linebrink watched as the Cardinals staff threw out and burned his old Braves gym bag in case it still had all those ghosts in it that are really responsible for September 2011 in Atlanta.

Especially embarrassing was the moment in which Cardinals players were talking about who gave up Pence’s hit and Linebrink was forced to confess in front of his new team that it was in fact, him, and then cough nervously and began unpacking his things while everyone wondered how minor his minor league contract is.

The Braves may have lost Scott Linebrink, but they gained this fancy t-shirt, which reminds fans at Turner Field how to do that thing with their arm, in case you are a Braves fan who has only ever tuned in for the four seconds everyone in the stadium isn’t doing it.

Atlanta has already dressed the pressing query of WHY they chop.  Finally, it will be nice to have a record of HOW.

New York Mets

Man, if it were five years ago, the Mets would be relevant enough to have stories like this be front page news!  And then, because we’re all from Philadelphia and we’ve got this charming instinct to rib each other like a couple of old buddies who never actually liked each other, we could all insult Jon Niese for being a pretty lady.

Niese’s decision came from an inability to breathe correctly and peer pressure from a former teammate.  The constant bullying of Carlos Beltran–who relentlessly mocked Niese, saying if he wanted to get a new nose, Beltran would even pay for it–proved to be too much for the Mets pitcher, and he eventually got behind the wheel of his car with a head full of intense thoughts.

Only instead of driving off a cliff or into one of Beltran’s charity, Niese drove to a plastic surgeon’s office and got the middle of his face reconstructed.  Clearly, this is a story in great need of some supplemental Philadelphia blue collar barbs.  But unfortunately, the Mets remain sad in a way that makes people not want to look at or talk about them.

Miami Marlins

You’ll be relieved to know that Hanley Ramirez’s break-up with shortstop is going swimmingly.

“Hanley Ramirez neither sulked nor turned cartwheels when he sauntered past his old shortstop position and found his new spot at third base on Tuesday.”

Clark Spencer, Bradenton Herald

I can imagine the media all clustered together by the right field foul line, hunched over, pens and cameras at the ready, just waiting to capitalize on Hanley’s first reaction toward playing third base.  How would he feel walking past shortstop?  Would it be an envious sulk like a child?  Would it be clownish cart wheel, like a child?  Would he even remember where shortstop is, because he spent all winter helping children?

Regardless, it’s pretty clear that the Marlins press corps seems to have pretty high expectations for Hanley’s behavior.  When you’re choosing between ‘cart wheel’ and ‘sulk,’ it doesn’t give off the greatest of hopes in terms of a grown man’s emotions.  The media seems surprised, if not, disappointed.

“The actual changeover was, well, a bit of a yawner considering the winter-long buildup and behind-the-scenes dissatisfaction he expressed over the move.”

–Clark, again

DAMN IT HANLEY HAVE REACTIONS TO STUFF SO THAT WE CAN HAVE REASONS TO LIVE AGAIN

Washington Nationals

Brad Lidge and Jayson Werth used to play for the Phillies, but now they play for the Nationals.  Despite Werth having a gutted 2011 and Brad Lidge not being anything beyond “mildly effective” since 2008, the dynamic duo will use their signature unstable emotions to get extra worked up and beat the Phillies every time.  They will also use that same hostility toward the Phillies to beat teams that aren’t the Phillies.  They will do this despite Jayson Werth being a year removed from his trade and Brad Lidge being the friendliest man on earth.

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