I was one of the happiest Atlanta Braves fans to see Andruw Jones sign a big contract.
Watching the lazy, enlarging outfielder with the hole in his swing and a throwing arm that has diminished drastically in recent years leave town has been a joy. My season tickets last year were almost directly behind him and it was obvious that the man had neither the work ethic or passion for the game to strive to improve himself or lay off his wife’s fantastic cooking enough to erase the sting of two consecutive years without a playoff berth. Los Angeles foolishly paid the center fielder a ton of dough to slowly lumber around their basepaths on the seldom occasions where he reaches base.
The Braves have a huge prospect waiting in Jordan Shafer, a speedy toolsy guy who’s probably a year away from the majors. For the interim they acquired Mark Kotsay, formerly of the Athletics, Padres, and Marlins. Kotsay was coming off a back injury that killed part of his 2006 and 2007 seasons but a guy I’ve always loved the hustle and old school approach of. He overdid himself from time to time, putting too much effort into his play to the point where his body couldn’t stand it.
I admire a guy like that, one who killed himself for his team and one with an insane desire to win.
The Anti-Andruw if you will…
Well, the man has been nothing short of amazing to watch in his first week here, making two amazing outfield assists (he leads all of baseball in that category since 1999) and stellar play on both sides of the ball. Hustle. Grit. Fire. Fundamentals.
Andruw was supremely gifted, making everything look easy and with a shit-eating grin as he did it. Kotsay grinds, sometimes making plays look harder but always making sure that the plays get made by hook or crook.
Kids can learn a lot from the way this guy approaches the sport.
Good riddance, Andruw.
– Nick Nunziata ain’t right most of the time but it feels doubly sweet right now.