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Braves' roster quietly undergoing changes

Braves' roster quietly undergoing changes

This has certainly been a unique offseason for the Braves, who were neutralized by the lengthy MLB investigation that led them to gain new leadership within the baseball-operations department. But though general manager Alex Anthopoulos has been in place to run this department for less than a month, the Braves have continued to do business and keep up with the unavoidable annual offseason ritual of reconstructing the roster.

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Anthopoulos gears up for 1st WM with Braves

Anthopoulos gears up for 1st WM with Braves

Alex Anthopoulos has maintained a patient and thorough approach as he has spent the past few weeks devouring information and evaluating the organization he inherited when he was named Braves general manager and executive vice president on Nov. 13.

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Poulis named head trainer as part of reshuffle

Poulis named head trainer as part of reshuffle

Longtime Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter will move away from his daily responsibilities and remain with the club as a senior advisor. He will be replaced by George Poulis, who spent the past 15 seasons as the head athletic trainer for the Blue Jays.

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MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft prospects for 2018

MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft prospects for 2018

For the first time in three years, the top spot on MLBPipeline.com’s early Draft Top 50 list is not topped by a high school pitcher. It should come as no surprise that the top guy is still a pitcher, and one from the 2017 College World Series champion Florida Gators. Right-hander Brady Singer, who helped pitch them to that title as a sophomore, is the clear choice as the best overall talent in the 2018 Draft class.

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Moves provide window into Anthopoulos' plan?

Moves provide window into Anthopoulos' plan?

Hours before non-tendering Matt Adams, Jace Peterson and Danny Santana on Friday, the Braves claimed versatile right-handed reliever Chase Whitley off waivers from the Rays. The combination of these decisions provided a glimpse of how general manager Alex Anthopoulos might structure Atlanta’s bullpen and bench for the upcoming season.

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My 2017 Series to Remember. Yours? Some gold in the dross. (by blazon)

My 2017 Series to Remember. Yours? Some gold in the dross. (by blazon)

If you’re retired and live deep in the country where beauty abounds and distractions are few, you saw almost every game the Braves played this year. A month after it all ended we became spectators of the same game played at a significantly higher level by others. What remains of the Braves year has become a fading blur. Ninety losses doesn’t help.

Strangely though, without trying, there was one series that came to mind and stayed there. It reminded me of the pleasure, the surprise I got from it at the time so it has hung around to the point I wanted to see how much/little detail of what happened could be recalled. What follows is all from memory and all too brief. There will be howlers but so what? This is what pleases, as I write this on a 25 dark degree Sunday morning.

We went out west for a road trip somewhere in the second half of the season and stopped by at the Coliseum. Ho hum I thought, neither team was going anywhere and wasn’t this all being played at a dump, a much reviled setting?

It was a 4 game series as I remember; we — most surprisingly — won 3 of them. The game we lost, the second I think, we faced Sonny Gray and even then we were ahead late. Individually and collectively we played some of our best baseball of the year. I tried to rack my memory of the highlights that must have prompted me to this conclusion: here’s a few.

I remember Dansby, had to be his best game maybe. Good D but some sensational hitting in the clutch in the game we were behind late and his two back to back doubles in the 8th and 9th tied and then won the day. Each was an elevated line drive to the left field corner, something he spent most of the year trying to duplicate and failing. What was moving was his infectious delight after the second. He was transformed.

Then Danny Santana. Brought on to pinch run he ran them ragged, then and later, he stayed in the game. The A’s were flustered, he must have been so happy to be achieving something positive. Kurt Suzuki. This might have been the series when we had to start taking him seriously as a power hitter. He had two I believe, maybe in the same game. There is nothing more fun to watch than somebody who doesn’t hit homers hitting homers. There were other homers we hit in this series but danged if I can remember by who.

So that, absurdly, is all I can be reasonably sure about over 4 games of individual efforts. Trying to recall this you come to realize what makes it so difficult is not just who did this or that but was it really in this series or another. Lines get blurred, names transposed. But in this instance there was one other thing, never to be forgotten, the stadium itself. Wow.

Dirty, worn, totally devoid of people the huge shell far away beyond left field was awesome, I loved it. Those giant names, magical, better here than at Cooperstown. All the seats quite empty of course, what a lunatic idea. And more coming with a new, bloated mixed user somewhere, yuk. Looking at the reduced arena where we actually played you couldn’t but help and admire the spectators too. Blue collar, raucous, knowledgeable, generous. The antithesis of Cardinal garbage.

So that’s my favorite Braves series of 2017. We won this one but there’s nothing to say yours could not be a tie or a loss even. We had plenty of those and many of them still contained individual good memories. Please, I would love if you would share yours.



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Braves get in spirit with tree lighting ceremony

Braves get in spirit with tree lighting ceremony

The weather outside was anything but frightful — actually, it was a clear and quite pleasant low-60’s Friday evening at The Battery Atlanta as the Braves threw the first pitch of the holiday season, holding their inaugural Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.

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