Josh Donaldson: Arguably the Hottest Brave Since the All-Star Game

Early on in the 2019 season if you had told me that Josh Donaldson would be putting up the kind of numbers that he has produced since the All-Star break has ended I would’ve probably laughed, honestly. But to my surprise, the Auburn University alum has been nothing short of scorching hot since then and he continued that hot streak on Friday night in a walk-off win for the Braves against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park, when he absolutely scorched the game-winning hit off of Nationals relief pitcher, Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning to left-center field that brought home Ronald Acuña Jr. and raised the Braves record to (59-40). The last 62 games of the 2019 regular season will be extremely critical for Atlanta as 22 percent of their remaining games come against these talented Washington Nationals. What can we expect from Josh Donaldson over the last 62 games of the regular season?

Drought No More: Braves Sweep Padres in San Diego For First Time in 13 Years

It had been a long time since the Atlanta Braves won a series in San Diego against the San Diego Padres, eight years to be exact. Their last series win in San Diego was back in 2011, when I was in the eighth grade. Eight years might not seem like a long time to us now, but in the sports world, it’s an eternity. The Braves snapped that eight-year drought with a 7-5 win in 10 innings on Saturday thanks to Nick Markakis, who leapt from the right field warning track to save the Braves 56th win of the year. On Sunday, it wasn’t much different, in the fifth inning, All-Star centerfielder, Ronald Acuña Jr. played the role of Superman as he left his feet on the center field warning track, landing almost over the wall, robbing Padres slugger, Manny Machado of a two-run home run that would’ve given San Diego a 2-0 lead. Mike Soroka was his usual self, shutting out the Friars through 7 innings. In the eighth inning, the Atlanta Braves plated four runs. In the bottom of that inning, Touki Toussaint surrendered a run, but held Andy Greene’s club right there and turned things over to AJ Minter to slam the door and preserve the Braves first series sweep in San Diego in 13 years, yes 13 years. I was eight the last time Atlanta swept the Padres on the road, I was also in the third grade. Atlanta has now won four-straight games and boards a plane bound for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to begin a three-game set at Miller Park with the Milwaukee Brewers, Monday through Wednesday. Tomorrow’s game starts at 7:10pm CT and will pit Max Fried against Adrian Houser against each other. The Braves are now (57-37) on the season. Good things are worth waiting for my friends.

Happy Birthday In Heaven, Tyler Skaggs

Tyler Skaggs, the late Los Angeles Angels pitcher, would’ve turned 28-years-old today. The southpaw from California passed away earlier this month, on July 2 at the all-too-young age of 27. Skaggs was known for his energy, infectious personality, his nasty curveball that seemed to float to the plate and curve in at the last moment. Friday night, the Angels honored Tyler and they did it in a big, big way. Skaggs mother, Debbie, threw out the first pitch and the Angels followed that by tossing a no-hitter in a 13-0 win over Mariners. Not only did they throw a no-hitter, they did it all wearing 45. The players and coaches alike wore 45 Friday to pay tribute to the southpaw the day before his birthday. Tyler Skaggs had a hand in that performance, without a doubt. Happy 28th Birthday in heaven, Tyler “Swaggy” Skaggs.

The All-Star Break Is Upon Us

It’s that time again, the time when the world’s most elite baseball players go head-to-head for one night. It all starts with the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby with some of the game’s most vaunted sluggers, one of those vaunted sluggers is Atlanta’s own, Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuna Jr. has 21 homers and is responsible for shattering two Atlanta franchise-records, the franchise-record for homers in a month, which was broken in June 2019 when Atlanta sent a total of 56 baseballs over walls all across the country. The record was fittingly broken by Acuña Jr. at home on Sunday, June 30, 2019. Ronald is also responsible for breaking the franchise-record for breaking the franchise-record for most homers hit by a Braves team before the All-Star break, when he belted the 141st homer of the year on July 6, 2019 vs. Miami’s Caleb Smith on the first pitch of his first inning at bat. It seems fitting that the 21-year-old is an all-star right? He also caught the last first-half out for Atlanta on July 7, 2019 to help preserve the Braves 4-3 win over the Fish. In addition to Acuña Jr., the Braves are sending first baseman Freddie Freeman and 21-year-old starting pitcher Mike Soroka to Cleveland. Soroka and Acuña Jr. will become the youngest pair of teammates to ever be on All-Star rosters in its 90-year history, Acuña Jr. will also be the youngest Home Run Derby participant ever. The Home Run Derby will start at 7pm CT on July 8, 2019 followed by the 90th MLB All-Star Game at 6:30 p.m. CT on Fox on July 9, 2019. What should we expect from the second-half of the season?

Celebrating 80 Years of A Dear Friend: Atlanta Braves’ Usher, Walter Banks

On July 1, 1939, Walter Banks was introduced to the world. Walter has been an usher for the Atlanta Braves for 54 years. Banks joined the Braves security staff in the offseason 1965, just in time for the team’s transition from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Atlanta, Georgia. Since 1966, Banks has been a mainstay at Braves’ home games, attended over 4,000 games and shaken the hands of approximately 400,000 thousand fans, who ended up being a friend of his by the end of the night. I am one of those lucky 400,000. Back in August of 2012, August 13, 2012 to be exact, my dad and I took a trip to Atlanta to see Braves play the San Diego Padres in Chipper Jones’ last season. I wasn’t expecting to meet an usher that had been with the Braves for 46 years at the time. We got to Turner Field that day as soon as the gates opened and we needed help finding our seats, six rows away from the Braves’ dugout along the first baseline. So we approached this nice-looking, black gentleman and asked him for assistance in helping us find our seats. He shook our hands and showed us to our seats, at the time, I had no clue how long he had been with the Braves. A few minutes later, he made sure to stop by our seats to check on us, we told him we were fine. He then asked us “Where are you from?” We replied: “Montgomery, Alabama.” Because very few people know where Wetumpka is. He then asked dad: “When were you born?” I’m sure that dad didn’t know how to take that, but he replied “1968.” And then came the knowledge. He said “I’ve been with the Braves since they moved to Atlanta in 1966.” I was mesmerized. So I asked him, “Were you there the night Hank Aaron hit his 755th home run?” He replied: “I was I’ve never seen anything like it, that night was incredible.” At this point, I was speechless. Then he asked me “What year were you born?” I replied: “1997.” He enthusiastically said “You were born two years after we won the only World Series title in Atlanta Braves history, right across the road at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.” (The stadium had since been turned into a public parking lot for Braves fans). After a while, he asked “Who is your favorite player?” Without hesitation, I said “Chipper Jones.” He said “Chipper has been a member of the Atlanta Braves since 1993 and will someday be in the Hall of Fame.” A while passed and he said “Hang on, I’ll be right back, stay here.” I noticed that he had gone down to the Braves dugout, but the Braves were taking batting practice so I wasn’t sure what he must be doing. He came back after a minute and said “I got you something.” With his hand behind his back. I was curious to see what he had gotten me. He took his hand out from behind his back and in his hand was a baseball from the Braves dugout. I thanked him and then asked for a picture with him. He obliged immediately, saying “Absolutely!” I still have the ball on a shelf and I also still have the picture of myself with Walter. I chose to write this today because tonight, the Braves are giving away Walter Banks bobbleheads to honor the beloved usher of 54 seasons. If you ever get the chance, go to.a Braves game in Atlanta and ask for Walter Banks, you won’t be disappointed. Happy 80th Birthday, my dear friend, Walter! Braves Country loves you!

Celebrating 243 Years of Freedom

243 years ago today, this beautiful country that we all live in changed forever when arguably, the most influential political figures in the history of this great country signed the Declaration of Independence. It’s because of that and so much more that we are able to live out our lives freely. It’s because of the millions of men and women that selflessly gave their lives on the frontlines of battle and those that’s continue to fight day in and day out to defend and ensure our freedom. It’s because of the courage that many people that fought fearlessly at The Battle of The Alamo, Chancellorsville, Vietnam, both World Wars, The Battle of New Orleans and so much more. Johnny Cash said it best when he said: “She’s gettin’ thread-bare and she’s wearing thin, but she’s in great shape for the shape she’s in. Cause she’s been through the fire before and I believe she can take a whole lot more.” Today, while you’re barbecuing, eating ribs, watching baseball or whatever you may do. Take a moment and be thankful for the freedom that we all enjoy. I’m incredibly proud of the ragged old flag that stands for this great country. It’s been through hell and back but it still stands tall. God Bless America. Happy Independence Day to you and yours. May we all know the real reason for this great day.

Los Angeles Angels Pay Tribute to Fallen Pitchers

Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim resumed their series in Arlington, Texas, after postponing game one of what was scheduled to be a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game of the series was postponed due to the sudden passing of 27-year-old starting pitcher, Tyler Skaggs. Before Tuesday night’s game, the Angels posed with Skaggs’ jersey and hat, as well as hung his jersey in the visiting dugout. In addition to posing with the jersey and hat of Skaggs, the Rangers had “45” stenciled into the back of the pitcher’s mound as their way of paying tribute to the Santa Monaco, California native that passed unexpectedly on Monday afternoon in the team hotel in Southlake, Texas. Both teams paused for a moment of silence ahead of first pitch in Tyler Skaggs’ honor. Skaggs wore number 45 as a member of the Angels. For the remainder of the season, the Angels will wear a “45” patch on the chest of their jerseys. The patch is placed across the heart. Skaggs was originally scheduled to pitch the day he passed. The cause of Skaggs’ death will not be released until the end of the season, according to sources.