In an all-too-familiar scene this off season, the Atlanta Braves thought they had a player locked up, only to lose him at the last minute. Like Rafael Furcal before him, Ken Griffey Jr. was all set to move to Atlanta. Instead, he is going to Seattle. Add him to an embarrassing list of players who will not be playing for the Braves in 2009: John Smoltz, A.J. Burnett, Jake Peavy, Furcal, Griffey.
This time, it seems to be more the fault of the Atlanta media than that of general manager Frank Wren. But I've got to wonder what it is about him and the Braves in general that make potential free agents flirt with the team, get this close to signing, then bolt for elsewhere.
Is Frank Wren crazy? I mean, like Jack Torrance crazy. It's the only thing I can think of. Players tell their agents how much they want to play for the Braves. All the preliminary work is out of the way. All that's left is to sit down with the general manager and hammer out the details:
Player: I'm really excited to be coming to Atlanta!
Frank Wren: We're glad to have you. We've had our eye on you for a long time now.
P: My family too. They're ready for some warmer offseasons.
FW: Yes, them too. We've been watching them all.
P: Ohhhh kay. I wanted to ask about this clause on page 31...
FW: Now, now. All work and no play makes Frank a dull boy!
P: Uh... yeah. Anyway, has Bobby Cox given you an indication of where he wants me to hit in the lineup?
FW: You know, bats are the most important part of baseball in my opinion. You can't play ball without a bat!
P: Right. So...
FW: I'm gonna bash your $!^@#!% brains in!
P: (To agent) Get Houston back on the phone!
It's really the only logical explanation.