Reader Gordon T. sends along these observations from a game in Richmond:
I headed down to Richmond this afternoon to catch the first few
innings of the Braves-Durham game. Coupla things stood out that I thought
you might find interesting.
1) Joey Gathright. Before the game, I noticed he has 13 walks in 70
at-bats -- right about double his career walk rate. Gotta be a fluke, I
thought. But today, at least, he really looked like the patient leadoff
hitter you'd want. He went to 3-2 counts his first two at-bats, striking
out the first time on a questionable call, singling the second. Seems to
me like that kind of patience, if it sticks, would really improve his
chances to be a good major-leaguer.
2) BJ Upton. It's obviously dangerous to try to get inside somebody's head
from the stands, but the defense thing really seems inside his head. In
the first inning, with a runner at first, he fielded a one-hop looper just
in front of the second base bag, tried to tag the bag and throw to first
for the double play. The second-base umpire said he missed second -- hard
to tell from my seat along the 3B line, but he certainly looked close
enough to me. The missed out led to four Richmond runs. Bill Evers came
out twice to argue, once after it happened, again after a three-run homer
broke the inning open. Upton just stared and shook his head a lot; Evers
clearly looked like he was in back-my-star-player's-fragile-ego mode.
Later, Upton fielded a slow roller in the hole, threw too late to get the
runner, and again looked depressed about this whole leather thing.
3) No Andy Marte, unfortunately -- Pat Kelley gave him the day off. The
Braves were interesting anyway: They had a brief fight breakout in the
dugout. I couldn't tell for sure, but it looked like one of the
outfielders (Derrick Gibson or Esix Snead; I think Gibson) and their
catcher, Bryan Pena, got into it. No idea why; it got started just after
the third out of their half of an inning. Both stayed in the game.
Anyway, thought you might find it interesting. Thanks for all the good