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Thread: Braves Clinch 14th Straight Division Title!

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    Senior Member Boricua's Avatar
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    Default Braves Clinch 14th Straight Division Title!

    ATLANTA -- When Braves general manager John Schuerholz describes what his organization was able to accomplish this season, he uses the words prepared and confident.

    Every year, Schuerholz's plan is to build a championship-caliber team capable of winning the World Series. This year, his original blueprint was ruined by injury and lack of production from some offseason additions.

    But that's what makes the 2005 season a truly special one. Utilizing one of the richest farm systems in baseball and having the confidence that his young rookies could produce at the Major League level, Schuerholz altered his original plan and still managed to construct yet another division winner.

    After the Braves clinched an unprecedented 14th consecutive division title on Tuesday night, Schuerholz enjoyed yet another champagne celebration. It was one that many had every right to doubt would ever happen.

    "You might reasonably expect one injury to take place, but not as many as we suffered and had to deal with, and sort of manage our way through," Schuerholz said.

    Schuerholz's original blueprint focused on building his team around a strong starting rotation. With the offseason acquisition of Tim Hudson and the decision to move John Smoltz out of the closer's role, he did that. But by mid-June, he had three starters (Hudson, Mike Hampton and John Thomson) on the disabled list and a rotation that now included Jorge Sosa and Kyle Davies.

    Throw in the fact that Chipper Jones was hindered by a left foot injury from late April through the All-Star break and it's even more amazing that the Braves were able to continue their winning tradition. It began with Schuerholz's arrival before the 1991 season. Every full season that has been completed since then has included a division title.

    "Any time you lose three members of your starting rotation at once there's going to be concern," Jones said. "I always thought we'd find a way and that somebody would step up."

    Smoltz and Andruw Jones took it upon themselves to lead the way throughout most of the season. But without the contributions from rookies like Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann and Davies, their veteran efforts might have gone to waste.

    "When you look back on it, there are two things you're going to think about," Chipper Jones said. "You're going to think about the rookies as a unit and you're going to think about 50 homers from Andruw."

    Schuerholz considers Andruw Jones' MVP-caliber season to be one of the finest he's ever been associated with. But he'll truly remember this season as being one in which his team used 17 different rookies and still managed to win. This solidified the long-standing belief that the Atlanta Minor League system has more talent than most other organizations.

    "We say that every year and we prove it every year when we bring guys up from our Minor League system and they help us win," Schuerholz said. "This year, we sort of did it with capital letters and neon lights and flood lights on the letters because we had so many of them here. That's a direct tribute to scouting and player development."

    When the Braves played the Rangers on June 15, each of the 10 players (including a designated hitter) in the starting lineup had been developed in their Minor League system. Included were seven rookies, four of whom had spent the season's first two months in the Minors.

    After that game, Schuerholz called each of his scouts and player development employees and personally thanked them for their efforts that made this rare event possible.

    "We couldn't have done it without the work that they do," Schuerholz said. "It's true every year. This year it was true to a much larger extent, to a far greater degree."

    As the Braves returned to health, they didn't have to depend on as many rookies as they did in the season's middle months. But even while clinching the division title on Tuesday night, their lineup consisted of eight homegrown players, including three rookies.

    One of the season's most memorable moments regarding the rookies occurred when Francoeur homered in his first Major League game on July 7. Another came on April 18 when Ryan Langerhans' first career home run provided the difference in a 1-0, 12-inning win over the Astros.

    When the season began, Raul Mondesi and Brian Jordan were pegged to be the club's corner outfielders. But by the time the season ended, Langerhans and Francoeur were manning those spots and teaming with Andruw Jones to form one of the game's best defensive outfield trios.

    With every move that brought another rookie to his Major League roster, Schuerholz was proving the future is bright in Atlanta. But his focus was always on the present and his belief was these players were capable of making yet another trip to the postseason a reality.

    "We didn't know," Schuerholz said. "But we had the attitude like we always do that we're going to be competitive and we're going to do whatever we have to do to make things work. We had that confidence."

    Source: Braves.com

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    Livin the Atheist life Cesare Borgia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braves Clinch 14th Straight Division Title!

    u gotta love the braves, i been following them for years and years.

    and hell yea, Andruw Jones 4 NL MVP

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    Senior Member Boricua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braves Clinch 14th Straight Division Title!

    yea man is crazy, every year they lose so much and get injured and they still manage to win the division and they had the toughest this year everyone has a winning record... i been a fan since i was mad lil, now if only we can get out the first round and win the world series again

    ANDRUW JONES FOR MVP BITCHES!!!!! Pujols has better numbers but mvp is the most valuable and if andruw was taken away from the braves they wouldnt be in first and THATS and MVP

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    Livin the Atheist life Cesare Borgia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braves Clinch 14th Straight Division Title!

    Theyed still manage, Chipper Jones and Andrew Jones playing together is a big part of why the braves are always on top, remember back when Andreas Gallaraga ( i think thats how u spell it) was with Atlanta? He was one of my favorate.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Boricua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braves Clinch 14th Straight Division Title!

    oh yea i def remember him, played over at 1st.. thats one position that kept changin now with laroche and franco they will be straight for a couple years or so

    its crazy how there has been so many ppl involved in their winning ways, it seems like they change the team every year and still get the job done.. i think it has alot to do with bobby cox, leo mazzone and the GM makin good moves

    fo sho man the jones' boys are the shit, andruw been my fav player since i seen him come up in the playoffs in '96 and he had a monster postseason

    i know they just have that one world series but this is incredible that they've done this and nobody should put this down because besides their 14 the next best is the yankees with 7 in a row and theirs will probably be snapped this year

    WE GOING ALL THE WAY THIS YEAR!!! I WILL BET 250 POINTS THAT THEY WILL WIN THE DIVISION SERIES (they will play the astros)

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