Thursday, July 08, 2010

Braves: Best in the NL

As the All-Star break approaches there’s a nice story developing in Atlanta. It’s especially nice if you‘re a Braves fan.

At this writing Atlanta has the best record in the National League, 50-35. The Braves longtime manager, Bobby Cox, 69, says he’s hanging up his spikes when this season ends, however it ends. The Braves pitching staff looks strong, once again, and they have the rookie outfielder everybody in Major League Baseball has been talking about all season, Jason Heyward, 20, who made the All-Star team as a starter.

One of the great losses local baseball fans suffered, due to the R-Braves moving their outfit to Gwinnett, was that we didn’t get to see Heyward, 6-5, 240, a five-tool phenom, play in Richmond during the 2009 season. However, local fans did get to see Cox (depicted above) play third base at Parker Field during the 1967 season.

Barring injuries to key players at the worst time the Braves seemed well equipped to make a run into postseason play. After 14 straight seasons in the playoffs, Atlanta has failed to make the grade for the last four years. The players must love it that, so far, they have performed well enough to have Cox’s legions of fans envisioning him winning a World Series ring for his last campaign.

-- Words and illustration by F.T. Rea

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