John Schuerholz defines “The Braves Way.” And it’s a pretty big pile of crap.


Yesterday, during the press conference announcing the firing of Frank Wren, team president and former GM John Schuerholz made mention of “The Braves Way,” and suggested that the team had gotten away from that in recent years. He was finally asked by someone to define it. Here is what he said:

It’s a special way of identifying young players who you want to become part of your organization with great comfort and expectation that when they put on a Braves uniform, they’ll be taught well, instructed well. Their makeup and their character will allow them to turn into winning championship-caliber players. They’ll fill the pipeline of this organization with highly capable, high-character, young, winning men who help you win many, many championships on a major league level, year after year after year.

If you need to vomit, please do. You’ll feel better afterward.

I am not dismissive of the idea that a team needs an organizing philosophy and that the culture of any institution matters. But it’s just culture. It’s not, as Schuerholz suggests here, the primary organizational criteria or mission statement and it’s not the basis for actually finding talent. The idea is to win a lot of baseball games. Talent is mostly an objective thing. You get smart scouts and analysts to find it, good coaches to develop it and you pay money to sign and retain it. It’s not easy — not by a longshot — but it’s made all the more difficult if you then start making that process subservient to makeup and character.

But I don’t even think the Braves have done that too much, actually. They won with John Rocker and Gary Sheffield and Denny Neagle and all kinds of other jackwagons. The won by drafting and developing players and they won by signing free agent mercenaries. They have won with Bobby Cox managing well and they’ve won with Fredi Gonzalez being nearly unable to get out of his own way. They’re no different than any other baseball team. And they are no more special than any baseball team.

I suspect John Schuerholz truly believes in “The Braves Way.” As the guys at Talking Chop note, there’s probably some healthy nostalgia at work. But there’s also some self-deception at work. Schuerholz sounds a lot like most of us do when we look back at our successes and assign them to our own skill and will and tend to forget the good fortune and sometimes dubious decisions which, against all odds, helped those successes along. Schuerholz and Bobby Cox did a ton to turn the Braves from losers to winners in the late 80s and early 90s. They also had things like the Padres’ 1993 fire sale and Greg Maddux’s aversion to playing in New York work in their favor. Perhaps his memory dwells on the grit and overachievement of Mark Lemke, but paying top dollar for Andres Galarraga and enduring and making excuses for John Rocker helped a whole hell of a lot too.

This “Braves Way” stuff is aimed at getting a certain segment of fan to be OK with losing and to be OK without paying top dollar for talent. To get some people to, more or less, say “Hey, this may not be ideal, but at least we have not sacrificed our 100% invented-on-the-spot principles just to win!” To ignore the fact that the team has played the local populace for a new stadium it didn’t need and to overlook the fact that Liberty Media, the team’s owners, are way, way more interested in the Braves turning a profit than they are in hoisting championship banners.

Maybe that suckers enough fans into being cool with underachievement. It’s Atlanta, after all, and once football season starts people stop caring an awful lot. But for hardcore baseball fans, it’s no substitute for doing everything possible to put the best team on the field and for simply winning. The Braves haven’t always done that lately. They need to start doing that more and start worrying about slogans like “The Braves Way” less.

Rangers transfer deGrom to 60-day IL, push return to at least late June

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas – Jacob deGrom’s return for the AL West-leading Texas Rangers has been pushed back until at least late June after the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner was transferred to the 60-day injured list Monday.

DeGrom hasn’t pitched since April 28, when he exited early because of injury concerns for the second time in a span of three starts. He was placed on the 15-day IL the following day after an MRI showed inflammation in his right elbow.

General manager Chris Young said deGrom “hasn’t improved maybe as quickly as we had hoped” after five bullpen sessions since going on the IL. Another MRI and additional testing are now planned for the 34-year-old right-hander the Rangers signed to a $185 million, five-year contract last December.

The transfer to the 60-day IL makes June 28 the earliest he could be activated.

“We don’t see anything before that as a possibility,” Young said. “We want to make sure that we proceed cautiously.”

DeGrom was back with the team Monday after going home to Florida for the birth of his third child. He flew there after a bullpen session Wednesday in Detroit, which was his fifth since getting going on the IL.

Young said that deGrom has dealt with some soreness during those sessions.

“There have been good days and bad, as with most recoveries,” Young said. “I don’t know specifically how he felt in the bullpen (in Detroit). I heard the ball was coming out well. … Honestly, he’s going through a life moment at home and this is one we didn’t call checking in every hour to see how how he was doing.”

The Rangers signed deGrom in free agency after he had played his first nine big league seasons with the Mets. He was limited by injuries to 156 1/3 innings over 26 starts his last two years in New York.

He had a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings during the 2021 season before missing the final three months with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow. He didn’t make his first big-league start last year until Aug. 2 after being shut down late in spring training because of a stress reaction in his right scapula.

Texas has won all six games started by deGrom (2-0), but the right-hander has pitched only 30 1/3 innings. He has a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts and four walks. He threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on April 28 before leaving that game because of discomfort in his arm.

“I believe he’s the best in the world when he’s pitching. … It’s just captivating when he’s on the mound,” Young said. “But the decision to bring him here was a five-year decision, and we’re taking that into consideration in terms of how we’re proceeding here.”

DeGrom wasn’t in the clubhouse before the series opener against St. Louis, which was before the Rangers announced the change in his status.

“He’s so happy for the team and the way we’ve played. But he wants to be a part of it. He wants to be out there,” said Young, a former big league pitcher. “I’ve been in his shoes, so I understand how it goes. And you want to push to be out there, but you don’t want to push at the risk of making things worse or having setbacks or anything like that.”

Transferring deGrom to the 60-day IL opened a spot on the Rangers’ 40-man roster to activate Spencer Howard from the 60-day IL. Howard missed the first 58 games because of a right lat strain.