– Cruz Serrano
After a disastrous 2014 season, Braves GM John Hart is attempting to rebuild (AP Photo/Davis Tulis)
After a disappointing end to the 2014 season, most Braves fans were disheartened, but also realized that not all had been lost. Although the Braves may have underperformed, the core of great players still remained. Justin Upton and Jason Heyward buoyed the outfield, while Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman were still manning their positions on the infield. With the pitching staff still solid as always, all Braves fans wanted was a couple tweaks and another run in 2015. Instead what they got was John Hart’s complete home makeover. Continue reading →
By Cruz Serrano
Back when Barry Bonds’ hat size was still considered human, back when the only interleague series was in October, way back before baseball’s Summer of Love that saw Sosa and McGwire hammer their way past Roger Maris, the team of the 90s was hunting for their second straight World Series title. After winning it all in ‘95, the Atlanta Braves were out to build a dynasty rather than becoming more reminiscent of the Buffalo Bills, whose success paralleled that of the Braves: close but no cigar. The Braves, once again, found themselves as the best team in the National League and were prepared to take on the Yankees, one year removed from the retirement of Don Mattingly. The Braves came out firing, thanks in large part to the heroics of then 19-year-old Andruw Jones. Jones became the youngest player ever to hit a home run in the World Series, and was also only the second player ever to hit a home run in his first two at bats in the fall classic. The Braves high-octane offense along with their incredible starting pitching jumped to a quick two games to none lead in the series. However, the Braves bullpen imploded, and the Yankees would sweep games 3-6 to put an end to the Braves hopes of winning back-to-back championships.
Looking back at that series, it’s hard not to see similarities between the series and the career of Andruw Jones. Much like the Braves in the series, Jones’ career started off fast, and he quickly became regarded as one of the best centerfielders in baseball, if not the best. However, Andruw, like the Braves in ‘96, eventually hit a proverbial wall that cut short what was sure to be a no doubt Hall of Fame career. Even with the parallels, it’s hard to say that Andruw came up short, mostly because of how great he was before his body and bat betrayed him. From a purely subjective standpoint, Andruw Jones was the most exciting player to watch in his mid-twenties: the light tower power, along with his incredible defense and flair for making jaw dropping plays, made every game a must watch. Andruw also played the shallowest center field of any player that I can remember, and I hardly recall any balls landing in the grass over his head. However, in order to argue for his Hall of Fame candidacy, there needs to be an objective look that shows that Andruw was in fact one of the best handful of centerfielders to ever play the game. Continue reading →
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Tagged andruwjones, atlanta, atlantabraves, atlantasports, baseball, baseballhalloffame, braves, bravesbaseball, cruzserrano, halloffame, hardfoulsports, hfs, mlb
– Evan Sally
Thoughts on Eastern Conference Finals Game 1: Cavaliers 97,Hawks 89
The JR Smith Show
JR Smith was the surprise star of the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals. He had 28 points on 10 of 16 shooting, including going 8 of 12 from 3. The 8 3’s were a Cavaliers playoff record. JR was at his streaky best last night,
scoring 17 points in the span of 6 minutes of game time, effectively putting the game out of reach. JR is known for being a streaky shooter that loves to shoot a lot, and with his bad habit for jacking up bad shots at the wrong time, he shot many of his teams out of the game in past years. Usually to get the best out of him, he needs to show restraint and try to get his shots in the rhythm of the offense. Last night was an example of how devastating he can be as an opponent when he gets hot. He plays with a swagger and confidence that’s infectious to his teammates. Of course you can’t expect him to play like this regularly. I wouldn’t expect to see him to do it again this series. Cavaliers fans have to be happy to have a confident JR Smith coming off their bench to provide instant offense.
The Hawks suffered what appeared to be a brutal break when DeMarre Carroll went down with an apparent brutal knee injury in the 4th quarter. If you have any experience watching sports, any time you see an athlete go down without anyone else making contact you know that’s usually a recipe for a catastrophic injury. Hawks fans got great news this morning after it was discovered that his
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, right, speaks with an injured Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll (5) as Carroll is helped of the court during the second half in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA basketball playoffs, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
knee didn’t suffer any structural damage and his status is day to day. Unfortunately, besides Jeff Teague’s 27 points that was about the only good news that stemmed from last night’s game. Kyle Korver was still unable to get going only taking 5 shots. He spent most of the game with Cavaliers players draped all over him. He has to get going to revive an offense that scored only 89 points last night, a far cry from the 102 they average per game during the regular season. They were unable to slow down LeBron last night who went for 31 points 8 rebounds and 6 assists. This is a task always easier said than done. LeBron will always get his numbers but you have to make it difficult for him, and the Hawks didn’t do that. Paul Millsap got stuck with LeBron duty after Carroll went down, and LeBron toyed with him, literally laughing at him at points when Millsap was trying to guard him. Carroll didn’t do much better earlier. It’s going to take a team effort defensively to slow down LeBron for the Hawks to have any chance in this series and that needs to start in Game 2.
Posted in evansally, NBA
Tagged atlanta, carroll, cavaliers, cavs, cavswin, cleveland, demarrecarroll, easternconferencefinals, game1, hawks, injured, keys, lebron, lebronjames, nba, nbaplayoffs, win
Hard Foul Sports co-founder Evan Sally previews the highly anticipated match up between the number 1 seed Atlanta Hawks and the 2 seed Cleveland Cavaliers with the 5 questions he’s thinking about as we await the start of the series on Wednesday.
Continue reading →
Posted in evansally, NBA
Tagged atlanta, atlantahawks, basketball, cavs, cleveland, clevelandcavaliers, clevelandcavs, easternconference, evansally, hardfoulsports, hfs, korver, kylekorver, lebron, lebronjames, nba, nbaplayoffs, playoffs, sports