Caray: Braves’ strong early pitching, thoughts on replay; more
FOXSportsSouth.com checks win with play-by-play announcer Chip Caray to discuss the latest surrounding the Braves.
FOXSPORTSSOUTH.COM: One of the biggest concerns entering the season was how the Braves’ rotation would hold up until reinforcements arrive. But we saw some strong performances out of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and Aaron Harang. Who were you most impressed with?
CHIP CARAY: Answering your question is like answering which one of your children is your favorite. I’ve been equally impressed with all of them.
Julio Teheran is obviously a guy the Braves think can grow into a No. 1 starter. He was the No. 1 pitching prospect in the minors for a number of years and really came into his own April of last season.
Alex Wood really impressed me from the first time I saw him this spring; bigger, stronger, much more focused and in command.
I think with Aaron Harang, he’s a veteran guy who was an Opening Day starter for five years with the Reds. He obviously knows how to pitch, but I don’t think anybody expected him to go out there and throw almost seven innings of shutout ball in his Braves debut.
All of them were very impressive, each in their own way. What’s clear is you’re not going to shut everyone out all year long. But certainly the first start and the first time though, knowing how the Braves had such heavy concern with their starting rotation, it’s a really, really great way to start the year.
What struck me in Harang’s debut yesterday was, for so many years, the Braves, with Leo Mazonne and it’s carried through with Roger McDowell, stressed the down and away strike, the down and away strike. That’s what Harang did all day in his debut: down and away. He kept the ball low and made them hit the ball on the ground.
Whether that’s in Wrigley Field or in Cincinnati or in Atlanta or in Milwaukee, that’s how a pitcher is going to be very, very successful, if it can be executed and he did a great job of doing that.
FSS.COM: The offseason preparations of Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton were oft-discussed. What have you liked that you’ve seen out of both of them in this small sample size?
CC: It’s the old question: does confidence breed success or does success breed confidence? I think it’s probably a little of both.
With Dan, he’s hit the ball hard and he and B.J. have obviously both put in a ton of work in the offseason.
As I’ve said before, three games do not a season make, for the good or the bad.
B.J. Upton is a better hitter than he has shown since he put on a Braves uniform. I’m convinced he will be a better hitter than he’s shown the first three games of this 2014 season.
For Dan Uggla, he’s going to hit the ball hard, he’s going to strike out some and he’s going to walk a lot. Hopefully he’s going to hit a lot of balls hard into the gaps and over the fence.
These are talented guys who like anybody else want to be good, and they’re going to be good — that’s the hope. Because if they are, this is an offense that’s going to be very, very deep and very, very dangerous.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until my dying breath in baseball: Don’t make judgments about your team or individual players or pitchers or managers or anybody after three games. Let it play out and let them find their groove and hopefully, Dan will continue his and hopefully B.J. will find his sooner rather than later.
FSS.COM: It didn’t take long to see replay used in-season by the Braves. Fredi Gonzalez felt the process was a little slow, but how did you feel it impacted the game from an announcer’s standpoint?
CC: It didn’t. I just think there is a layer there that probably doesn’t need to be there.
My assumption is that baseball is concerned about the removal of the human element of the game in regards to replay. I agree with a couple of people whom I’ve talked to about it. I don’t think you need the managers involved.
If the goal is to get the calls right, I’d really like to see the umpire or the crew chief have a buzzer on his belt. If you’re going to have an umpire in New York watching the game or officials watching the game and there’s a questionable call, just hit the buzzer on the belt and go look at replay.
I think that eliminates the 40-50 seconds it takes the manager to walk out, jog out, look over at the dugout, get a hand signal yay or nay and then either ask to have the play removed or head back to the dugout.
I think that’s a layer of bureaucracy I don’t see a need for.
I think the sidebar of that is that replay is going to change the game from an entertainments standpoint. Gone are the days of the manager and umpire argument, for better or for worse.
That was one of the most entertaining aspects of the game, seeing the umpire and manager go nose-to-nose and argue stuff. The human element of that is going to be taken away, because once a manager goes out and the umpire says "Are you going to challenge the call or not?" Once that question is asked, it’s either "Yes, I’m going to challenge it," or "No, I’m not."
After that, what else can be said? Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know. But I think love the game really loved seeing Lou Piniella and Earl Weaver and Bobby Cox get at it with the umpires … and you can add Bobby Cox’s ejection record to the list of that probably never, ever will be broken again.