Braves fans give Brooks Conrad a round of applause

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Jeff Fletcher of FanHouse is at Turner Field and he just tweeted that fans just gave Brooks Conrad a standing ovation as he stood in the outfield during batting practice.

That makes me happy.

Braves fans, as I have said on numerous occasion, are not the best fans in the world. They have to be cajoled to show up. They have to be cajoled into cheering. In some ways they’re worse than fair weather fans because they don’t even show up in fair weather unless it’s seen as the fashionable thing to do.  And don’t even get me started on the Chop. Dear GOD I hate the Chop.

But they’re decent people for the most part. They don’t boo guys. That might offend a lot of you because, hey, sometimes people need booin’, but it fits my temperament just fine.  They generally understand that athletes are human beings with their own lives and stresses and concerns.  It’s hard to get amped up for a Braves game in that environment, but it’s nice to know that the person sitting next to you is probably a decent human being.

Still stinging over the Conrad play. Ready and willing to let it go though and hope for the best tonight.  Glad to see the fans in Atlanta giving him a warm reception so far.

I’m sure I’ll be posting after the game tonight.  Talk to you then.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.