If the Phillies had just one player with the moxie of tonight's starter, they would have made the playoffs at least once in the last 12 years.
We’ve all been around people who inspire us to do better. From watching him play and listing to what others have to say, Smoltz is that guy.
From 1988 to 1999, he was an outstanding starter. He missed all of 2000 with elbow surgery. In 2001, he was converted into an outstanding closer. Last season, the Braves moved him back into the rotation when everyone said it couldn’t be done. He was superb.
He's always been a tremendous athlete, good hitter, smart defender. The soon-to-be 39-year-old is still one of the game’s best pitchers. On April 15, he threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout against San Diego.
It’s beginning to look like his entire major-league career will be spent with one team, 17 years and counting. For the past 14, the Braves have won their division. Praise has been heaped on everyone from Bobby Cox to Leo Mazzone to John Schuerholz, but the games are won and lost on the field.
With all due respect to Chipper Jones, Smoltz is the ranking officer.