Braves players boycotted Chipper Jones’ first pitch after he picked Dodgers to win

Chipper-Jones-first-pitchThe Atlanta Braves invited Chipper Jones to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1 of their NLDS matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. The recently-retired Jones was the perfect candidate to kick off his former team’s postseason run, but many found it bizarre that his pitch was caught by the Braves’ mascot. There was apparently a reason for that.

According to the NY Post, the Braves players were upset with Jones after he went on the team’s flagship station, 680 The Fan in Atlanta, earlier that day and predicted the Dodgers would win the series in four games. Jones sent out a couple of tweets after the game acknowledging that he was snubbed.

Wait, Chipper is still on Twitter? I thought — never mind. You can’t fault Jones for trying to be objective and giving an honest prediction. And what do you know, the Dodgers won the series in four games on Monday night with Clayton Kershaw pitching on four days rest. LA simply proved to be the deeper and more talented team, which is something Chipper and many others could see going into the series. I’m sure there will be more ceremonial first pitches for him to throw to actual players in the future.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

LA Dodgers fans mock Atlanta Braves’ tomahawk chop (Video)

Dodgers-fans-tomahawk-chopThe Los Angeles Dodgers scored early and often on Sunday night to defeat the Atlanta Braves and take a 2-1 lead in the NLDS. The big inning for LA came in the fourth, when a string of hits and a two-run home run from Juan Uribe gave the Dodgers a 10-4 lead. That’s when thousands of fans at Dodger Stadium began mocking the Braves.

The first two games of the series at Turner Field featured plenty of tomahawk chopping. As most of you know, the tomahawk chop is a rather loud, obnoxious chant that Braves fans and Florida State fans are obsessed with. Unless the Braves come out hot on Wednesday night, Dodgers fans could assure that we hear that chant during every game of the NLDS.

As for the Braves players, they can always just pretend they’re playing at home when they see fans tomahawking at them. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto didn’t exactly have that luxury last week in Pittsburgh.

H/T Big League Stew

Carlos Gomez sparks Brewers-Braves fight by pimping home run (Video)

Carlos Gomez sparked a major fight between the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves on Wednesday after homering off Braves starter Paul Maholm in the top of the first inning.

Gomez admired his home run after crushing the ball to deep left center, leading Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman to yell at him as he passed by on his trot. You could also hear one Braves player, possibly McCann or Maholm, yell “f—ing run, g-d d—it.” More Braves yelled at Gomez, and catcher Brian McCann even confronted Gomez halfway up the third base line.

Brian McCann Carlos Gomez

The benches cleared after McCann confronted Gomez, leading to a full-on fight. Yes, Gomez was ejected without even touching home plate. It looked like at least one punch was thrown during the incident.

Gomez actually has a history of being a jerk after home runs. Three years ago we posted about him pimping a home run with his team down 15-0. Maybe Gomez was pimping his home run because of a beef with Maholm; Maholm hit Gomez with a pitch in June and also hit him in 2010.

One thing we do know for certain is that the Braves really really dislike it when you pimp a home run against them.

Jose Fernandez-Chris Johnson spat at center of Marlins-Braves fight (Video)

Benches cleared during the sixth inning of the Miami Marlins’ 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, and a spat between Jose Fernandez and Chris Johnson is at the heart of the matter.

Things started in the top of the sixth when Johnson laced a 97-mph fastball from Fernandez to left field. The ball was caught for an out, but Johnson acted confidently after smoking the ball as if to say that the 97-mph heat was nothing.

“Weak ass fastball,” Johnson appeared to say as he was clearing off the field.

Fernandez seemed to cuss at Johnson in return, and the young Marlins pitcher was ticked off when he made his way into the dugout after retiring the side. He shouted some words at the Braves dugout, and then he continued to act upset when he was in his dugout.

Jose Fernandez home runFast forward to the bottom of the inning, when Fernandez came to bat with nobody on, two outs, and his team up 4-1. Fernandez smacked a 1-0 fastball to left center for a solo home run. Not a bad time for the 21-year-old to club his first career homer, right? Well the youngster sure enjoyed it. Fernandez admired his home run before making his way around the bases. And when he got to third, he spit by the base, in the vicinity of Johnson.

Braves catcher Brian McCann had words for Fernandez as the pitcher approached home, leading to both dugouts clearing. Johnson came sprinting in from third to give Fernandez a piece of his mind. Things calmed down, and the Marlins held on for a 5-2 win.

After the game, Fernandez, who was making his last start of the season because the Marlins are shutting him down, apologized for his behavior.

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BJ Upton reportedly agrees to sign with Braves

B.J. Upton reportedly has agreed to sign with the Atlanta Braves, multiple outlets have said.

The 28-year-old free agent center fielder and his agent reportedly spent much of the day on Wednesday in negotiations with the club. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the sides haggled over a guaranteed sixth year Upton was seeking. O’Brien says the team would not go six unless it was an option year. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the deal is five years for between $70 and $75 million. Upton has to pass a physical first before the deal becomes official.

Upton also changed his Twitter avatar to an Atlanta Braves logo on Wednesday, indicating he has agreed to a deal with the team.

Upton is a former No. 2 overall draft pick who first saw action in the bigs as a 19-year-old with the Rays in 2004. He showed the potential that made him such a high draft pick when he hit .300 with 24 home runs in 2007. However, his batting average has been a big concern since then; he has failed to hit above .246 the past four seasons, and has struck out over 160 times each of the past three years.

Still, Upton possess skills few others in the majors do. He has elite speed that has helped him steal at least 30 bases per season each of the last five years, and he also has good power for a center fielder (he hit a career high 28 dingers last season). Upton plays excellent defense in center, and should be a good replacement for Atlanta which is losing Michael Bourn in free agency.

Though I’m not a big fan of Upton because of his maddening inconsistency at the plate, he is a solid all-around ballplayer who should help the Braves.

Chipper Jones joins the Braves rookies for hazing (Picture)

Chipper Jones is trying to squeeze every last inch out of the final season of his 18-year MLB career. If that means joining the rookies and dressing up like a moron, so be it.  As you can see from the photo above that Braves pitcher Peter Moylan shared on Twitter, the Braves made their rookies dress up in dumb Halloween costumes recently and Chipper joined them.

Chipper is likely going to miss having fun with the young guys, so you can understand why he wanted to partake before he officially hangs up the spikes. I’m sure it helped that the Atlanta rookies got to wear fun “Dumb and Dumber”suits and dress up like Scooby Doo rather than being restricted by a leotard or parading around Times Square in a speedo.

H/T FairWeather Report

Impostor John Sullivan crashes Braves alumni weekend celebration

This past weekend, the Braves hosted an alumni weekend celebration event at Turner Field for former players and coaches. John Sullivan, a former bullpen coach who was with the team for two seasons in the 1980s, was on the guest list. He never got his invitation. An unidentified impostor received Sullivan’s invitation in the mail, and rather than do what your everyday honest citizen might do, he decided to play along. The fake John Sullivan accepted the invitation, grabbed a No. 8 Braves jersey and headed out to the ballpark for the experience of a lifetime

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the impostor enjoyed a weekend of free hotel, drinks, food and fun. During the alumni softball game, former Braves reliever Jose Alvarez estimated that “Sullivan’s” bat speed was no quicker than 30 mph. Not wanting to be rude, Alvarez and some other former players and coaches kept quiet and assumed Sullivan was dealing with some health issues.

The fake Sullivan claimed to be a former player. Alvarez says former Braves manager Bobby Cox was embarrassed he didn’t recognize the impostor because he never forgets a former player. When Cox finally asked someone who the gentleman was and was told it was John Sullivan, he knew something was up.

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