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Must-Click Link: A proto “Hard Knocks” with the 1982 Atlanta Braves

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I’ve been a fan of the Atlanta Braves since the mid-1980s, but I’ve never seen “It’s a Long Way to October,” the documentary of the 1982 Braves. Today there is a detailed writeup of it over at The Sporting News, complete with multiple video clips.

It was a project that was ahead of its time. Ted Turner, who owned the Braves, ordered a season-long, in-depth documentary about his ball club. He gave a young Glenn Diamond — a baseball producer for TBS for decades, but who was then a local TV news guy — full access to the team, the clubhouse, the dugout, and especially manager Joe Torre, who was often mic’d up for games. There was practically nothing off limits. It was like “Hard Knocks” for baseball or some sort of reality show, back in an era where behind-the-scenes access was not the sort of thing people expected all that much of.

There are several clips embedded in the story. My favorites involve Torre, who many younger fans may remember as a stoic, sometimes statue-like figure in the Yankees or Dodgers dugout, and who now is MLB’s stern, rulebook-waving uncle, but who in 1982 was fiery and animated. Red Barber narrated the thing. Olivia Newton-John makes an appearance. There’s a big argument from Torre after a play involving part of the wall down the left field line breaking away, causing fans to spill on the field, preventing Bob Horner from scoring. It was timeless in some ways, but very 1982 in some others.

It’s a long article, but one worth reading. If you don’t have the time for it, at the very least watch the video clips. It’s all pretty amazing.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”