Monday, June 26, 2006

Getting the Blog Thing

Newspapers have generally been pretty slow to figure out what appeals to sports fans about blogs: the ability to go into detail on a subject, the ability to avoid lowest common denominator writing, the ability to interact with readers, etc. However, the AJC has a shining example to the contrary in Braves beat writer David O'Brien's blog entries, which are typically well-written and full of useful details. His good work has often left me little to add. Also, my way of dealing with the Braves' collapse has been to completely ignore it, other than looking at box scores and moping about continued inadequacy. Anyway, this entry from Friday is a detailed description of why the Braves suck, primarily, an epic clusterf*** of a bullpen. O'Brien is dead-on when he says that Schuerholz erred over the last several seasons in not spending more time and money on the 'pen in light of the fact that the Braves no longer have excellent starters who can go deep into games, so the 'pen is more important and needs greater depth. O'Brien omits discussion of the fact that Leo Mazzone was good at getting innings out of scrap-heap pitchers (the 2002 'pen of Smoltz backed by excellent performances by Darren Holmes, Chris Hammond, Mike Remlinger, and Kevin Gryboski being the best example) and Roger McDowell, so far, has shown significantly less ability. Mazzone did not do a very good job with last year's bullpen, so it might have been the end of the run in terms of his ability to get through to young pitchers, but McDowell has taken a bad bullpen and made it much worse.

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