…right off of this conveniently-located cliff.
“He’s got so much power, and this is a high school field,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said of Howard, who has four homers and seven RBIs in his past two games against the Braves, including a two-homer game Aug. 16 at Atlanta.
It’s like clockwork. Two or three times a year whenever the Braves get pounded by the Phillies, they whine about the ballpark. Click the link above, “NL East Whining” for some sad music from the world’s smallest violin.
Hit Tracker Online has classifications for 35 of Howard’s 37 home runs. Only 10 (27%) classified as JE or JE/L (Just Enough/Lucky). Another 10 were ND (No Doubt), and 15 were PL (Plenty). Here’s a further breakdown of his home/away HR splits:
Howard has hit two more “wall-scrapers” on the road than at home, and he’s hit four more “no doubt” home runs. As usual, an Atlanta Brave has whined about something unsubstantiated by facts.
Don’t forget that both teams have to play in the same park. It’s not like McCann has to toil away 162 games a season in the pitcher-friendly confines of Turner Field while the Phillies play 162 in CBP; he gets to hit there too!
And he likes it. McCann has hit three home runs (one ND, two PL) in Philly this year along with a 1.054 OPS in 30 plate appearances. Throughout his career, McCann has a .887 OPS in 147 PA, his highest OPS in any stadium in which he’s accumulated 70 or more PA.
Instead of being classy and simply respecting the opponent that beat them, or at the very least saying nothing at all, the Braves always call to arms and take to the press following the game. For an organization that has produced some of the game’s great players, they also produce a very high percentage of crybabies. I want to like John Smoltz, I really do. And I want to like Brian McCann, but every time the Braves’ players open their mouths, I want to Spartan Kick them. I can’t think of a less classy organization in baseball… the Blue Jays, maybe?
Rant almost over.
Further down in the AJC article linked above, we have a quote from starter Tommy Hanson on the first homer Howard hit:
Hanson gave up an opposite-field homer to Howard to the nearby left-field bleachers, an easy poke for the left-handed slugger.
“I don’t even think it was a strike,” Hanson said. “It was a slider, up. I was trying to make a quality pitch. Left it up a little bit.”
McCann said: “With a guy that strong, he doesn’t even have to come out of his swing. Playing here, he can wait as long as he can and just flip ’em to left.”
So Howard hit a pitch that may not have even been a strike (it wasn’t according to Pitch F/X) for a home run. You know what you do in that case? You tip your hat to the batter for putting a good swing on a pitch most hitters would pop up to the third baseman.
Of course, there’s McCann showing up with a back-handed compliment of Howard. You stay classy, B-Mac.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a quote from Braves manager Bobby Cox two weeks ago following a Phillies win in Atlanta:
“We played in the wrong park tonight,” Cox said. “If we’re in Philadelphia, we’ve probably got five homers, at least four. The long fly balls just weren’t traveling. I knew Utley’s was out and I knew Howard’s was out.”
Get your story straight, Braves!