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.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.