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what-to-be-thankful-for | November | 2010 Articles

2010 Archives

What To Be Thankful For

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff here at Chop N Change to you and yours this turkey day! Now, as I was at work today (yes, I worked today. What ended up being 20 hours of pay for an 8 hour shift? Sign me up!), I was reading tweets from people talking about what they were thankful for, and I got to be thinking about some things I'm personally thankful for, both related and unrelated to Braves baseball. Thinking about it as the day went on, I realized that us Braves fans really have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Without any further ado, here are 10 things all Braves fans should be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

-Be thankful we get to watch Jason Heyward on a daily basis. Not only is Jason one of the best and brightest young stars in the league, he's an incredibly exciting player to watch. I know it sounds totally cliche, but he really gives 110% on every play. It is a true pleasure to be able to know that for the next 5 years at least, we'll be watching him play with the Braves.

-Be thankful that Tim Hudson's elbow is healthy. No one knew what the Braves were going to get out of Hudson in 2010. He delivered with a season that got him votes in the Cy Young balloting. He was the rock of the Braves rotation in 2010, and he's probably going to be a Brave for 3 more years. If he's able to keep pitching somewhere close to the level he did this season, its going to be an absolute treat.

-Be thankful that Derek Lowe changed the way he pitched after he got his cortisone shot in August. Before that shot, Lowe was looking more and more like a sunk cost for 2011 and 2012. But after that shot, he became a completely different and amazing pitcher, winning the NL Pitcher of the Month award for September. Now, fans are looking to Lowe for the next 2 seasons as someone who can help anchor the Braves rotation.

-Be thankful that Melky Cabrera won't be back next year. It was really embarrassing as a Braves fan to say that Melky was the team's primary left fielder in 2010. He was disgustingly bad out there. Yet, he stepped to the plate over 500 times, and nearly cost the team a playoff berth with his play over the course of the season. He won't be back next season. Good riddance.

-Be thankful that Chipper Jones is coming back next season. It's been a joy to watch Chipper since his should-have-been Rookie of the Year season in 1995. We've dealt with a lot with Chipper over the past 15 years: injuries, position shifts, a batting title, and a World Championship. But one thing hasn't changed over those 15 years: Chipper Jones is the Atlanta Braves. And until he retires, he will be the Atlanta Braves. We've taken his career for granted. Its time to take a step back and give thanks for watching an amazing career take place.

-Be thankful that the team sent Bobby Cox out with a playoff berth instead of a heartbreaking finish. The team nearly blew it over the final 6 weeks of the season with the injuries to Martin Prado, Jones, Takashi Saito, and Jair Jurrjens. But on the last day of the season, the Braves beat the Phillies and the Giants beat the Padres, and the Braves went to the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Despite losing to the Giants in 4 games, it was a really fun ride, and the only way that Bobby could have gone out better was with a World Championship. That unfortunately didn't happen, but a playoff run was the next best thing.

-Be thankful that the minor league system is so loaded. Julio Teheran, Freddie Freeman, Randall Delgado...3 probable top 50 prospects, and they're all Braves. Freeman will open the season as the team's first baseman. Teheran and Delgado will probably start in AA, but could get cups of coffee in Atlanta in September depending on how the cookie crumbles. The future is not bleak for this team. In fact, it may be brighter than the present.

-Be thankful that the mainstream public is finally beginning to acknowledge Brian McCann as the best catcher in the National League. He didn't start the All-Star game (again), but delivered the game winning hit and won the MVP award. He got votes in the MVP balloting for the first time in his career. He won his 4th Silver Slugger in 5 full seasons. And just think, he doesn't turn 27 until February. He's also under contract for 3 more years. I don't think there's a more perfect guy to have behind the dish.

-Be thankful that Frank Wren pulled the trigger on Dan Uggla. The team has a legitimate power hitter in the middle of the lineup now. The cost to acquire Uggla from the Marlins was next to nothing. Wren's call to make that trade will help the team immensely in 2011, as he is a massive upgrade from the Cabrera/Matt Diaz platoon that was eating up plate appearances every night. Martin Prado in left field will be interesting, though.

-And finally, be thankful that you're fans of the greatest team in the world. There is nothing on this planet like Atlanta Braves baseball. We all know this, and we all love it. 4 months until the first spring training game. Not that I'm counting or anything.
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