Dan Uggla is hitting .429.
Tim Hudson is 1-0 and is perfect as a pinch-hitter – singling in his appearance Monday.
This week, Adam LaRoche hit his first home run in 350 days.
No, the rebuilding Braves are not going to dip back into their past – or in Uggla’s case, back into their agonizing flashbacks – and pick up some of their golden oldies, regardless of how hot they may be at the moment.
Those three familiar fellows are currently committing a form of baseball in something called the National Baseball Congress World Series, on a team of former Major Leaguers known as the Kansas Stars. One Chipper Jones originally was scheduled to join them, but his schedule (and perhaps his knees) got in the way.
Fans of aging grudgingly will be heartened to know that a bunch of (relative) geezers – many of them with Braves in their bloodstream – are handing it to the young ‘uns on the baseball fields of Wichita, Kan. They are 2-0, having beaten teams composed of college and junior college players by a combined score of 16-3. They are guaranteed to advance to quarterfinal play later this week.
Your Stars update:
Hudson, 41, who retired as a Giant last season, pitched three scoreless innings in the Stars opener and flashed his bat in Game 2. He was backed by a pretty good bullpen – 138-game winner and three-time All Star Josh Beckett followed Hudson with three more no-hit innings in that first game.
Uggla is 3-for-7 and even has as many walks as strikeouts (two each). Patience is one of the more useful gifts of age.
Brandon Inge put in 13 years in the Majors before retiring in 2013, mostly for Detroit, and said of this little tournament, “This is probably the most fun I’ve had in baseball in a long time.” He is 5-for-8 at the plate for the Stars.
Ryan Langerhans, who played in 296 games for the Braves between 2002-07 is off to a bit of a slow start as the Stars lead-off guy (0-for-8).
This little lark – a brainchild of LaRoche – is a useful example of the undying competitive spirit, as well as a real boost for the resistance movement against time.
As they take the field one more time, their best days a speck in the rearview mirror, the Stars so far have looked across at their youthful opponents and in one voice declared: “Get off my lawn!”
The final game of pool play for the Stars is Wednesday night. Roger Clemens, 53, is scheduled to start for Kansas.
I know nothing of the National Baseball Congress’ drug-testing policy. In Clemens’ case there is always reason to fear. This time, he could come back positive for high levels of Flomax.