24 Jun

in praise of b-mac

Brian McCann is special. He was the first of the now 70-something Mississippi Braves to advance to the big leagues, jumping to Atlanta eight years ago this month. A Georgia boy, he got a couple of hits in his debut at Turner Field, then homered in his second game. We’ve watched him become a six-time All-Star, producing countless big hits along the way. The clutch grand slam he belted in Sunday’s win at Milwaukee was the 10th of his career; only Hank Aaron (with 16) has more as a Brave. McCann is no longer the face of the Braves, but really he should be. In his ninth season, he is easily the team’s longest tenured position player. He is a gamer. He has battled injuries in recent years, the toll for catching all those games. A .278 career hitter, he had a tough 2012 (.230, 20 homers) and is batting just .246 in 2013, with eight homers and 21 RBIs. With rookie sensation Evan Gattis seemingly poised to take over at catcher, this may well be McCann’s last year in Atlanta. It was sad when Jeff Francoeur left the Braves. When McCann goes, it’ll be sadder still. P.S. Some happier notes: Edward Salcedo, whose bases-loaded triple keyed the M-Braves’ win over Birmingham on Sunday night, is batting .271 with nine bombs and 37 RBIs in his first Double-A campaign. He averaged .240 over his first three pro seasons. What’s more, the third-base prospect has played better defense, with 15 errors in 64 games (compared to 42 in 120 in 2012). Atlanta has to be pleased with his progress. … Mississippi State alum Paul Maholm won his eighth game for Atlanta on Sunday, then headed to Omaha to catch the Bulldogs in the College World Series. … Former Jackson Mets catcher John Gibbons, who was on a hot seat as Toronto’s manager, has seen his club win 11 straight now to join the frantic race in the American League East. … Southwest Mississippi Community College product Jarrod Dyson went 2-for-3 and homered as Kansas City beat the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Dyson, one of the fastest players in the big leagues, is batting .295. … Ole Miss alum Seth Smith had three hits for Oakland, boosting his average to .284. … Ex-M-Braves star Gregor Blanco went 2-for-4 for San Francisco and is hitting .304 as the Giants center fielder. … Ed Lucas, who played shortstop for the M-Braves in 2011 and is now getting regular time with Miami, hit his first MLB homer on Saturday and is batting .301. … And in case you missed it, Meridian CC alum Corey Dickerson had two doubles in his big league debut for Colorado on Saturday.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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