"Mmmmm...that's good Brave!"

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Brave-O-Matic Breaking Camp

Ordinarily this weekend would be time for our Super Duper Preview Edition, but A Brett has been farmed out to Venice of the Eye-Talian League, and M Norman and I are going to Tunica to blow Junior's incipient college fund.

But when we return, get ready for another season of sporadic posts featuring an undercurrent of seething rage (A Brett), pretentious assertiveness (M Norman), and an overweening smugness (I'm told that's my department). And once again, dear reader (looking at you, Zbigniew Glymph of Keokuk, IA) -- simplistic analysis, clunky "humor", and strained attempts at cleverness will pervade all. We're looking forward to your comments again this year.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fortunate Injury?

John Thomson was scratched from his start today because of "elbow tenderness". There's been a lot of buzz in the last 48 hours about a possible trade of Thomson for Craig Wilson, and this injury might forestall such a deal.

Which would be a good thing, to my way of thinking. Even if keeping Thomson means that Brian Jordan makes the opening day roster, I find that preferable to a trade for Wilson. Nothing against Craig (whom I find myself picking up in fantasy leagues year after year, to little effect), but he's not the type of player who ages well, even if he were healthy, which he almost always is not. Plus, what does he give us that we don't already have? Diaz is looking good as the fourth OF, and KJ is again waiting in the wings. Jurries and Jordan are having a spirited competition for the backup 1B slot. And Pete Orr is our emergency catcher. And again, we need all the rotation depth we can get.

During the game vs the Dodgers the other day, Jeff Torborg (who is proving a VAST improvement over the Wimperoo, btw) made an interesting point. When a veteran and a rookie battle for a bench spot during spring training, a team will often opt for the veteran -- and not just because he's a "known quantity". If the veteran flops, you have the rookie ready to bring up from the minors. But if you go with the rookie initially, you've lost the veteran and have no backup plan. This makes a lot of sense to me.

The Closer Trauma Begins

One week away from Opening Day and the Braves cannot say with any certainty who their closer will be. The man who last earned the position, Chris Reitsma (which is Flemish for "flimsy body"), was pulled from Monday's pre-season game with a bad hammy on his left leg. Last year it was a hyperextended knee on the same leg that cost him playing time.

Bobby Cox says the strain is not serious and that he expects Reitsma to be ready on April 3rd. Reitsma himself admits that he won't be sure of the problem's severity for a day or two.

So the inevidable post-Smoltz Merry-Go-Round begins. Everyone in the bullpen will get his 15 games of fame in the closer slot this season. Vegas is now taking bets on who will be the first Brave credited with a save. I'm not willing to guess who it will be.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

What some Yahoo! Thinks

Preparing for this Sunday's draft, I recently perused some fantasy baseball info on Yahoo sports. In their season predictions, both Tony Gwynn and Jeff Passan have pegged the Braves to take the NL East crown yet again. Gwynn expects the Mets to make a strong run, but thinks they do not have enough to knock the Braves off the top of the hill.

Passan pans the Mets pitching staff as too weak to hang with the Braves.
Overview: Just wondering, but how does a rotation that includes Steve Trachsel, Victor Zambrano and Brian Bannister equate to the team that is supposed to dethrone the Braves? Pedro Martinez's toe will cause manager Willie Randolph many a sleepless night, and Tom Glavine just celebrated his 40th birthday. Yes, the lineup is scary, with Carlos Beltran ready to earn his $119 million and David Wright making the leap. Seriously, though, Victor Zambrano?

Passan though, goes a step further and makes this prediction for the 2006 World Series:
World Series• Braves over the White Sox in six

Lets play some baseball!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Whither Thomson?

The AJC reports further indications that John Thomson is being shopped for bullpen help, now that it appears likely that Foster, McBride, and Boyer will be unable to begin the season. Unless the injuries to McBride and Boyer are worse than they're letting on (always a possibility), I just don't get this. We shouldn't trade our #3 starter because a couple of relievers are on the shelf for a few weeks -- and if we do, we need to get more than just one reliever for him (Juan Cruz is one name being bandied about, by the way).

I repeat my (useless) call for an 11-man pitching staff, comprised as follows:





Davies has been very impressive, and is likely one of our top five starters whether Thomson stays or goes. The big idea here, and one that's not going to happen, is moving Horacio to the bullpen. He's a born LOOGY -- effective against lefties, useless against righties, and gets a lot of groundballs. But he's been groomed as a starter and is a proud guy, so I'm spitting into the wind.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Globalization comes to Atlanta

The Braves and the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese League have reached a "working agreement," whatever that may mean, which will eventually help the Braves with international scouting, especially in the Far East.

The Braves have seemed to lag a bit in signing Asian players, missing out on a chance to ink the next Nomo, Ichiro, Otsuka or even Kaz Matsui. This agreement seems to address that. After all, Japan just won the inaugural World Baseball Classic, and despite how lame you may think it is, (you know who I'm talking to, Brett) it is clear there is some major league talent in the Land of the Rising Sun. It will be interesting to see what benefits the Braves will reap from this.

Jordan vs. Jurries

The AJC reports today that Matt Diaz will be our fourth outfielder this season. Great news. He's put together a fine pre-season, with a Francoeur-esque .391 average, including extra bases on 5 of his 18 hits. As soon as Skip Carey starts doing the pre-game call-in show I'll see if he knows how one computes a player's slugging percentage.

More importantly, the AJC claims that the sole remaining competition for a fielding position is at first base. Brian Jordan and James Jurries are locked in fierce competition for the coveted left-handed hitter slot to platoon with Adam LaRoche. LaRoche, sporting a .207 career batting-average against lefties, claims he don't need no stinkin' help. Batting coach, Terry Pendelton, reportedly spewed milk through his nose when informed of this remark.

So who should claim that final spot? Bobby Cox likes to point out that neither Jurries nor Jordan has committed an error at first this season. He likes to ignore the fact that Jurries has hit at a .469 pace, with 3 doubles, 2 homers and a team-high 13 rbi's in 32 at-bats. Jordan has amassed a lofty .367 average, but produced only 1 extra-base hit and one puny rbi.

Consider also that Jordan is one week shy of his 39th birthday and attempting to come back from knee surgery. James Jurries will celebrate his 27th birthday next month(he's 10 years and one day younger than my sister), he commands a minimal paycheck, and has had no major surgery since his tonsils were removed.

Who would you choose? Who will Bobby "I-love-veterans-more-than-my-wife" Cox choose?

Lastly, from the Brave-O-Matic book-of-the-month club- I have passed up John Schuerholtz's new tome in favor of the AJC's own Dave Kindred's "Sound and Fury". Its his look at the oddly conjoined public careers of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell. Kindred was a personal friend to each of them, having known Ali since his days at the Louisville Courier-Journal, when Ali was still Cassius Clay. I'll let you know how it reads, and any Brave-O-Matic reader is welcome to borrow it when I'm done.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Don't Call It A Recap

The Bravos took care of the Cardinals 8-1, and it looks like Cox is starting to use his pitchers in their anticipated roles: Smoltz went 5 scoreless innings, followed by an inning from each of Remlinger, Villarreal, and Reitsma, with Lerew pitching the ninth after the game was out of reach.

Remlinger gave up the run, and is not distinguishing himself despite a clear path to a bullpen slot. Foster and McBride, last year's bullpen lefties, are both hurt, so the job may be Remmy's by default. Brave-O-Matic will therefore hold off on the career post mortems, while gently suggesting that young Mr. James may fit the bill.

Lastly, a dispatch from Brave-O-Matic After Dark, where it is learned that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is married to a gym teacher from his high school. Depending on your own high school experience, you may greet this news with a) envy, b)revulsion, or c) "a roomful of hypnotists could not force me to unblock my memories of high school gym class".

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Spring Training Stats

A few nuggets from's spring training leader boards (all rankings are for both leagues combined):

-- James Jurries (.467) and Wilson Betemit (.464) are #10 and #11 in batting average

-- Jurries is tied for sixth with 12 RBI

-- Matt Diaz is tied for second with 17 hits. Diaz and Jurries appear to be hitting their way onto the team, one would hope. However, the specter of Brian Jordan (batting .375) continues to lurk...

-- Ryan Langerhans is one of several players who've hit 5 doubles so far

-- Joey Devine is mowing 'em down, and is tied for second with 15 Ks. He trails Steve Watkins by one, but Watkins (a Nats farmhand) has thrown 13 innings to Devine's 8.

-- Old Friend Dept. -- Eli Marrero, seeking a career resurgence, is batting .452 for the Rockies. Dewayne Wise, still looking for his initial career surgence, is second in runs scored with 12, and is slugging a gaudy .939 for the Reds. Check out the Marlins bullpen -- saves have been recorded by 34-year-old Kerry Ligtenberg and (get this) Brad Clontz, who hasn't been seen in a big league uni since Y2K. Damon Hollins, the Mayor of Richmond himself, leads everyone with 8 SBs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Time Out For Some Madness

Who's your Final Four? I've got Duke, Kansas, UConn, and Ohio State, with UConn beating Kansas in the final game.

Upset specials include Texas A&M over Syracuse, and Utah State over Washington.

Maybe we'll hear from Jeff Francoeur about his picks -- he hasn't been doing much. I'm cool with the WBC, but Frenchy is wasting valuable spring training ABs while sitting on the USA bench. Meanwhile, Ryan Howard is mashing at a frightening pace. The Phillies are about to see why the Thome contract held them back, as Howard is Brave-O-Matic's early pick to succeed Andruw for the HR crown.

An Andy Rooney post

I just thought I'd say how much I like the new AJC print format for the Braves news and other baseball items. Everything neatly divided out into big boxes. Great for short attention spanners. Read a box or 2 now. Read another one later. It works for me. First time in a while we haven't seen features getting smaller in the paper.

What have you posted today that's better?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Cox Resigns? No- Cox Re-Signs

Real news? During spring training? Yeah, it happens sometimes. The Braves have decided to stretch the division crown streak for at least 2 more years. It was announced that Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz signed one-year contract extensions Monday, keeping them in Atlanta through 2007.

This 'Matic likes to hear news like that. And how much would George Steinbrenner or whoever it is that owns the Mets pay to have a manager with 14 straight division titles? What would the market demand for 64 year-old Bobby Cox, the 7th winningest manager in major league history? Well, the Braves keep Cox on-board for a mere $2 million per year. Chump change, considering the dividends he's paid. Hell, Tom Glavine gets more than that. And he's lucky if he finishes in 4th every year.

The Absence of Leo Effect

The Braves signed Damian Moss to a minor league deal yesterday. It's not mentioned in the article, but Moss was one of those young pitchers who evidently didn't get along well with Mazzone. It was cast as a personality clash, but maybe Moss's walk totals had something to do with it, too. Obviously, he's a longshot.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Holy Mother of Crap!!!

John Schuerholz's new book, "Built to Win," was given an advance screening by the folks at AJC (free subscription required), and some of the revelations are shocking. To wit:

Barry Bonds was a Brave for about 15 hours
Apparently in 1992 we had made the deal to get Bonds for Alejandro Pena, Keith Mitchell and some other minor leaguer. The deal was done, and the Braves were left only to set up the press conference. The Pirates, specifically then-manager Jim Leyland, balked, and the Braves obviously did not get the most dominant hitter in the majors during the 1990s, 'roids or not.

Tom Glavine had second thoughts
Before Glavine signed the three-year, $35 million contract (with a fourth option year), he called Cox at home saying that he made a mistake and wanted to remain a Brave, despite the fairly large discrepancy between the two contracts. Schuerholz and Cox seemed so convinced that Glavine had changed his mind, that they were making arrangements for a weekend press conference (terrible time to hold press conferences, by the way). But Glavine never called them back, as he said he would do, and, of course, accepted the Mets' offer.

Deion and Kenny were selfish egoists
Um, well I guess that isn't too shocking.

I guess all I need to throw in now is some mention of Roger Clemens, sit back and watch A Brett's head explode as I have now touched on all of his favorite players!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spotlight: Matt Diaz

Matt Diaz has caught the eye of both Bobby Cox and the AJC (free subscription required) with his early season heroics. Hitting .364 with a homer and two RBIs tend to garner attention in early March.

Diaz is battling for a roster spot, either in the outfield, or as a right-handed platoon (along with about 25 other players) with LaRoche at first base. His breakout season came in 2004 in the Tampa organization where, in 503 ABs, he went .332 avg./21 HRs/93 RBIs/15 SBs with a .948 OPS. The only downsides were 1) 96 Ks and 2) finding him a major league position, as his defense was less than stellar.

In 2005, Tampa traded him to the Royals, and for some reason, he began the season in a rookie league where he absolutely crushed the ball for three games, and quickly ascended to Royals AAA club in Omaha, again enjoying success by going, in 259 ABs, .371/14/56/10 with a 1.057 OPS.

The Royals were actually pretty high on him, giving him a chance with the big league club last season (when talking about the Royals, the "big league club" is nominal only), but he never really had a chance to shine as he missed a month with a strained oblique. While he performed well against lefties - hitting .370 in 54 major league ABs last year, he was ineffective against righties, hitting just .147, although the latter could be explained by his injury.

The Royals were going to move him to catcher - his high school position - but instead traded him to the Braves for pitcher Rico Rodriguez.

Um, let's see... what else? As an FSU alum, he would rather sit in a room with a Miami grad over a Florida grad (I would find both to be excruciating, if I were to live through the experience), and his favorite performer is Billy Joel. And I think he likes long walks on the beach and is off put by self-absorbed men who smoke.

There is speculation that he is the classic "AAAA" player, meaning that he has thoroughly solved the minor leagues, but is thoroughly flummoxed by the majors. I don't think there is enough of a sample to lay that tag on him yet. In fact, I think we will get a chance to judge for ourselves.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Chipper's Good News-Bad News HR

Team USA nailed down its first meaningless win yesterday over Team Mexico. 32,727 were on hand, most of whom were there to cheer for the group from south of the border. But to no avail. Chipper made sure of that. U-S-A, U-S-A!

Team America was holding on with a 1-0 in the 7th when Chipper stepped in for his first at-bat in the first game of the new Classic. With one out, he hit the first pitch nearly 400 feet into the left-field bleachers. That's the good news.

The bad news? Chipper's dinger was grooved to him by a new Braves acquisition, Oscar Villarreal. Maybe he should be with the new Braves pitching coach, Roger McDowell, instead of playing in the Bud Selig PR Classic.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Breaking News- Dog Bites Man featured this big, bold headline of Breaking News:
Bonds Bombshell: Book Details Slugger's Steroid Use

Oh my gosh. Say it ain't so, Barry. I never imagined such a thing. Could there be something we don't know about Mark McGuire too? Or Slammin' Sammy Sosa?

OK. In what sad corner of the sporting universe is this even remotely considered a "bombshell"? Wouldn't the surprise be some sort of medical exam that proved he wasn't a juiced-up steriod junkie? Face it folks, people just don't grow into the proportions we saw in the super-sluggers of the past decade without some help from science. And it's called cheating.

The news comes from a new book, Game of Shadows, written by 2 reporters from the San Francisco Chronic(what)cle. It looks in detail at the records of BALCO and is very specific about the volumenous substance abuse habits of Junky Barry.

Why is Bonds still being allowed to even approach Babe Ruth's 715?

Spotlight: Martin Prado

Hi, I'm Martin Prado. I was born in October of 1983 in Maracay, Venezuela, which is a couple of miles off the coast of the Caribbean Sea in the northern part of this South American country - about 150 miles west of its capital, Caracas.

I am a second baseman in the Braves organization, and although I'll turn 23 this year, I have already played five full seasons in the minors, most of those in rookie-ball leagues. I am competing for a spot on the major league roster, but I'm almost assured to start the season in Mississippi or Myrtle Beach.

So far in spring training, in 13 ABs, I have two hits and two RBIs, but fielding is my forte, not hitting, as evidenced by the following numbers:

2005 at AA-Mississippi and A-Myrtle Beach (bulk of time in the latter locale):

.298 AVG
.354 OBP
.395 SLG
.749 OPS
5 HR
45 RBI
131 hits
29 extra-base hits
41 walks
72 Ks
12 SBs

Career (three seasons in Rookie ball, one in Rome and last year):

1498 ABs
.304 AVG
.358 OBP
.397 SLG
.755 SLG
9 HRs
153 RBI
456 hits
99 extra-base hits
137 walks
191 Ks
67 SBs

So, as you can see, I have a pretty good batting average in my career, but nothing to get too excited about because I have absolutely no power. I probably project to be something akin to a Rafael Belliard, with a slightly better average.

So, anyway, I've got to go to Bradenton today to play the Pirates. It was nice meeting you. If you happen to pass through Myrtle Beach during the next few months, stop by and say hello.

Monday, March 06, 2006

R.I.P. Kirby Puckett

Even though he was our downfall in the '91 Series, I always thought it would have been real cool to root for Puckett. As it turns out, he wasn't as great a guy as people thought, but it's still sad to see him go.

Spotlight: David Kelton

The headline in today's AJC read: "Don't forget Kelton in first base/outfield competition."

Kelton has gone 4-8 for with a two-run homer, pacing the Braves' hitters thus far. So, who is David Kelton?

Kelton is a home-boy, graduating from Troup County High School in La Grange in 1998. He has spent eight full seasons (with a couple of brief stints in the majors) in the minors with the Cubs organization, with five of those campaigns earning him All-Star honors in the Pacific Coast League - a hitting-friendly league. .

Last year, in 460 minor-league ABs (all with the AAA Iowa Cubs), Kelton performed thusly:

.283 AVG
.329 OPB
.446 SLG
.775 OPS
11 HRs
140 hits
40 extra base hits
67 RBI 14 SB
(He was 3-22 in a mid-season call-up last year with the Cubs)

In eight seasons, here is what Kelton has done:

3257 ABs
.269 AVG
.446 SLG
115 HRs
877 hits
315 extra-base hits

To say the least, these numbers are hardly awe-inspiring in a league known for sometimes jaw-dropping hitting stats. (For example, in just 398 ABs last year, Luke Scott of the Astros' organization hit 31 HRs).

What makes spring training fun is the David Keltons of the world. But what builds championship teams is having the David Keltons of the world start the season in AAA.

Is Our Rotation Set?

I am one who thinks that our starting pitching rotation looks pretty darn good to start the 2006 campaign. I have come to this conclusion under the impression that we will go with a 5-man rotation of Hudson, Smoltz, Sosa, Thompson and Ramirez. But is that our starting 5? It seems that some of our youngsters who got a taste of the bigs last year are not content to go back into the pen or to AAA.

Kyle Davies has been impressing the powers-that-be already. He threw for one of the split-squad groups yesterday against Cleveland, tossing a Smotz-like 2 scoreless innings. He threw 9 of his 10 first-innings pitches for strikes, and gave up one hit and one walk in the second. Said Bobby Cox, "He absolutely belongs in our rotation the way he's throwing." Well, if so, who steps aside?

But then, on Thursday, Joey Devine also pitched 2 scoreless innings. And he had 3 k's. Is he being considered? And Chuck James is getting some talk too, although I don't see him challenging those ahead of him yet.

And now, it seems that the Rangers are having seller's remorse over parting with John Thompson. Is an early-season trade coming? And should anything be read into the fact that we have a competition at first base, while Texas wants to dump Phil Nevin? I have no problem with getting one of our youngsters into the rotation, but either way, its nice to have the problems that the Braves seem to have: An embarrassment of riches at so many positions.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Salty Snacks on Dodger Cheese

Brave-O-Matic may have learned a valuable lesson today -- don't turn off the television when Saltalamacchia is in the game. Salty took over for McCann in the fourth inning today, and looked horrible in his first AB -- overswinging at pitches in the dirt, just as you would expect from a young kid in his first spring training game. Since the Bravos were down 7-2, I thought I'd seen enough.

Then come to find out he swatted a walk-off 3-run HR to complete an 8-7 comeback. Way to go, Saltman! One caveat -- he hit the homer off someone named Broxton, who may or may not be a major league caliber pitcher. But what the hey, it's his moment and I hope he enjoys it. Here's to more of the same.

Also homering for the Braves were Matt Diaz (who looks brutal in the outfield, by the way), and Jonathan Schuerholz, making daddy proud. Thomson started and struggled through two innings, and Obermueller got hit around a bit as well before I stopped watching.

One thing bugged me, though. Gary Thorne is a professional broadcaster for ESPN, and yet he mispronounced several names. Saltalamacchia I understand (he left out the "la", which is likely to become a common error), but Mike Remlinger has been around forever, and Thorne should know that the "g" is pronounced like a "j". And who in the world doesn't know that Diaz is "Dee-ahz", not "Die-az"? This is a pet peeve of mine -- the guy gets paid to pronounce names correctly.

And finally, apologies for my previous post. Tales of sexual peccadillos belong on our sister blog, "Brave-O-Matic After Dark". Please go there for future updates.

Who's Betting on the Braves?

Well, I don't know who is doing it, but if you were to bet on the Braves to win the 2006 World Series, you could get odds of 20-1. That sounds to me like Vegas has high expectations for the Braves.

The others in theNL East:
The Mets are getting the big props, at 11-2.
Phillies: 40-1
Marlins: 250-1
Nats: 100-1

What, Like Shoulder Pads or Something?

In celebrity news, a new book about Ted Turner and Jane Fonda has Fonda donning "artificial equipment" for Ted's...ummm.....sexual edification.

Isn't this the type of revelation that could have waited until after Turner is dead? Or, better yet, after I'm dead?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

If you like errors... (LAD - 3, ATL - 2)

... then you love spring training baseball. The Braves committed three errors today in losing the all-important Grapefruit league opener. Sosa allowed three hits, three runs, (0 ER) over two innings. Eight players collected eight hits. The hit parade included a guy named D Kelton, who of course I know a great deal about, but no one else does. If you like singles, you'll like D Kelton. The object of my man-crush, Todd Pratt, had the only extra base hit in the game, a double.

Lance Cormier struck out two batters in two innings of one-hit ball, while Joey Devine managed to not give up a home run, striking out two in a perfect final inning.

I'll have to call my boys at Elias to verify this (I have no actual boys), but I think teams that lose their first Grapefruit league game miss the playoffs approximately 50 percent of the time. So, we might well be screwed. Or we might not.

Face Off

OK, here's today's discussion question: Who would you rather have this season, Chipper Jones or David Wright? Looking at the positional battles between the Braves and Mets (and recognizing that it's sort of a silly exercise -- it's not like they're going mano a mano), this looks to be the most intriguing.

On the one hand, you've got a guy who is a former MVP and who, when he's not injured, is still the more productive. On the other, a young stud who may very well be a future MVP, and whose improvement has been rapid and uninterrupted. So who ya got?

Train Wreck Waiting To Happen Alert

OK, its not really a Braves story, but its too much to ignore. ESPN 2 has announced that it will broadcast a reality show centered on Barry Bonds and his pursuit of 755. Bonds, who turns 42 in July, enters 2006 with 708 homers, seven shy of passing Babe Ruth and 48 from breaking Aaron's mark. The first episode airs on April 4.

OK. How long till Bonds gets pissed at the camera guy or the guy holding the boom mike and screws up the whole show? How much will his teammates enjoy having a crew follow just Barry around all day? Not that Barry has any problem getting along with his teammates anyway. Well, as long as they don't touch anything in his 2 lockers anyway.

A disaster. I guarantee it. And I'll bet ESPN is drooling over the prospect of filming Barry's tirade when he melt's down over some percieved slight. I'd rather see the Julio Show.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Francophilia in the Big Apple

Julio is so cool, even Mets fans realize it. Here's hoping he orders a pizza after he retires (if he ever does).

Actual Baseball Action!!! Braves - 10, UGa - 1

In a convergence of all things good, this the first day of March is the prettiest of the year, and it brings us our first taste of baseball action, albeit against a college team that is now 0-20 in this annual rite of passage.

Details are limited. Horacio got the start, worked two innings and gave up an opposite field double to Kyle Keen, who later scored on a sacrifice fly by Joey Side. This would be the only hit that UGa would collect until the 8th inning. Oscar Villarreal pitched two perfect innings, striking out the first four batters he faced.

Kelly Johnson did something good, and the Saltman had two extra-base hits, including an RBI triple. Based on this performance, it is clear that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the early favorite for not only rookie of the year, but also league MVP.

I'm sure we'll be able to supply more details later. I just wanted Brave-O-Matic to be the first in the blogosphere to post a recap. Yeah us!