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julio-is-back | July | 2007 Articles

2007 Archives

Julio Again a Brave!

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I†know I said I wasn't going to post until the bar exam was over, but I had to break that deal with myself just for a minute to share some good news...† The Braves held out and waited for Julio Franco to clear waivers before grabbing the veteran first baseman.† I, for one, am thrilled to have him back.† I know he hasn't been an offensive phenom this season (he's batting .200 with a .328 OBP), but I think he adds a lot to the clubhouse and still has potential.† At the very least, he's a better off-the-bench hitter than Woodward or Orr.† He's a .298 career hitter and enjoyed much success during his last stint with the Braves.† He's also known for being quite the motivator in the clubhouse for the younger players.† I'm convinced that veterans like him, Smoltz and Chipper add a special X factor to a team that can't be captured by statistics. For those who haven't read John Schuerholz's book (I've read it twice), there's a section in there detailing the first time the Braves signed Julio.† Not sure exactly how old he was (he's been found to have altered his birth date in the past), they†were surprised when†the 40-something-year-old showed up in the clubhouse with more muscles than several of the 20-somethings put together.† If nothing else, the man is always in excellent shape, and not just for a guy in his 40s but in comparison to anyone!† Now, at 48, Julio has nearly reached his stated goal of playing until he's 50.† He's already broken the record as the oldest player to hit a homerun in the Majors.††Now it†appears that he'll at least make it to 49, which he turns in August...and now he'll be doing it in a Braves uniform.† I'm hoping he just needs a change in atmosphere to have another offensive surge, and I'm hoping that his personality and experience will be a much-needed change in atmosphere for the Braves.† You never know what little piece of the puzzle will turn the tide.† So, welcome back to Atlanta, Julio!†

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