How ’bout them Braves? They clinch the NL East once again. I know, some of you say, “They’ve done it so many times now in a row, but they never produce. What makes you believe in them this time?” Honestly, it has a little to do with baseball, and a whole lot more to do with youthful charisma. Something tells me the new players on this team are going to give this team the charge they need to break through the playoff barrier in the next couple of years. Former Auburn boy Tim Hudson gives them power at pitcher, the elder stateman Chipper Jones gives them leadership … and everyone’s favorite hottie, newcomer Jeff Francoeur, have helped give the Braves some spark going into the playoff season.
I can’t get enough of this kid. He sings in the outfield, he’s followed the Braves since he was a kid and he isn’t afraid to swing at a pitch. There’s an enthusiasm to him that’s not jaded, a fresh view on an old game, but without losing sight of baseball’s history. I like what John Smoltz had to say about him and the rest of the rookies the Braves have added to their roster:
“These guys have given us a glimpse of the future and a shot of adrenaline. They’re so excited to be playing the game, they don’t even realize what’s at stake. Especially [Francoeur]. He has set the world on fire. None of us who have been here — Andruw [Jones], Chipper, myself, maybe [second baseman] Marcus Giles — ever had a beginning like these guys. This is surreal.”
I heard him on Jim Rome’s radio show, and I liked him even more. He sounds like a Southerner on too much caffiene. I was sold. He’s got the enthusiasm, not to mention the .306 batting average and 14 homeruns, to perhaps get the perennial playoff loser Braves over the hump.