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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.

Kenley Jansen’s consecutive saves streak ends at 34

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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.

Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.

After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.

Zach Britton sets American League record with 55th consecutive save

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Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.

Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.

Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.