I remember being utterly facinated by Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo (sp?) when he first broke on the scene. Japanese pitchers being all the rage lately, I can understand why the Braves hopped on the bandwagon. Seeing how they screwed the pooch with Smoltzy, Frank Wren's needed to make a big sign. They got Derek Lowe today, but the contract of Kenshin Kawakami flew under the radar. After looking at his highlight reel, I think this guy will carry his weight at Turner Field. Although a fastball in the upper 80's isn't anything special, his mix of a rising fastball (2nd pitch) and a ruthless breaking ball (3rd pitch) looks spectacular.
As heretical as it seems to say this, I think it's best we move on past Smoltz. Yes I would have liked to see him stay but the guys getting pretty old. Some guys love the game so much, they play past their best years and their game gets salty. If you saw John Smoltz return after his surgery last season to try and close out game, you saw him get lit up and it was painful to watch. John Smoltz of 1996 he was not, Smoltzy game isn’t a complete loss but he’s not the same talent level of the John Smoltz we remember pictured in the AJC being straddled by Greg Olsen.
Last year I saw the Braves make some additions to their rotation I saw as being BAD calls. I love Tom Glavine, but to put him back in a tomahawk jersey was nothing more than a novelty move. It backfired horribly as Glavine’s body did what most aging pitchers’ bodies do…it began to give out on him. To throw a ball as hard as you can every summer for 20 years is hell on your shoulder. Mix a curve ball in there and you take years off your elbow life. I guess the china shop phrase I’m bulling my way through is that we have to let our legends move on. The only bad part of this situation is that we want our favorite players to throw in the towel on their own accord instead of continuing to search for how things used to be. John Smoltz still thought he had some fire in his game and went searching for the highest bidder, unfortunately it wasn’t from Atlanta which sucks donkey balls. John Smoltz doesn’t belong up north that’s why he left Detroit to begin with. He’ll play ball 2 more years (max) and hang it up, but don’t worry (and mark my words), John Smoltz will no more be remembered in a Red Sox jersey than Brett Favre will be remembered in a Jets jersey. That’s a guarantee.
Good luck in Boston, John. I hope you win every game except during interleague, where I want you to pitch 8 innings of shutout ball and have your closer blow the game in the 9th.
UPDATE: You will be surprised how odd the word "Smoltz" looks after you write it 100 times and try to proofread.