Not the group you expect. Don’t get me wrong, the Braves are ecstatic that they were able to pry Michael Bourn lose from the floundering Astros. It’s pretty strange, now that I think of it. They had Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence (a legit talent in how own right who will now be part of this pennant chase as a member of the Phillies), and these guys were mired in the NL Central basement? And have the worst record by far in the big leagues? And are 24 and a half back? Wait, you say the Stros have a 4.56 ERA? Okay, that might have something to do with their troubles. What was my original point? Oh, yeah, the Bourn for Schafer trade. In my podcast with Phillie writer Adrian Fedkiw, I mentioned that Jordan Schafer has a terrible on-base percentage and isn’t a threat to run, which wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t the lead off man. (Essentially, this deal is all a position swap, with a couple of prospcts tossed in so Houston can restock the farm system and maybe be competitive a few seasons down the road). What this deal does is address the Braves number one shortcoming. They need a player to get on base, get in scoring position, and then get home. Bourn does both jobs. He’s batting .303, and leads the league in stolen bases. Atlanta has a bona fide basepath threat not seen since Rafael Furcal decamped five years ago. As for the now depleted Astros, they unloaded both of their All-Stars, and are counting the losses until the season is mercifully over. They lost to Milwaukee to finish a woeful 2-8 road trip. But, there is good news. The NFL lockout is over, and the Texans are in camp, so football is fast appoaching, and they can look forward to the sport that (for Texas, anyway) matters most of all. By the way, I didn’t forget my question posed at the top of this post. The people most excited by Michael Bourn’s arrival? That’s easy. Atlanta’s headline writers. Not only can they pun on Bourn to their heart’s content. (I’ve already read Bourn to be a Brave, and I’m sure more groaners are in the works.) They can also have worse puns by grouping Bourn with the words such as Identity and Ultimatum. Atlanta lost to the Fish, 3-1, and embark on a critical nine-game road trip with series in every NL East series (minus Philadelphia). If those clubs under the Braves in the standings want to catch up, now is the time. Atlanta is still over four games ahead of Arizona in the wildcard, so the D’Backs (or St. Louis) must be in a position to take advantage should the Braves stumble. Also, Dan Uggla got a hit in that loss, extending his hitting streak. It’s now the longest active in the majors. He has the distinction of being the first player to have the longest hitting streak while simultaneoulsy having the worst batting average in the league (among those who qualify). His average is now at .207, so the tear enabled him to slay the Mendoza Line. If Bourn can do his job at the top of the order, he should have more chances to come through with games on the line.
About the Author
Written by John Morgo
John Morgo lives in Atlanta, GA where he has done broadcast work for CNN, The Weather Channel and Encompass Digital Media. As of right now, he does Internet play-by-play for Georgia Perimeter College and Norcross High School. With GPC, he is the voice of the men's soccer, basketball, and baseball teams.