Braves' Andrelton Simmons May Be The Best Shortstop In The Majors

24-Year Old In Action In Atlanta's Loss To Padres Sunday

Monday, September 16, 2013 - by Tim Evearitt

It was a pleasure watching Braves' shortstop Andrelton Simmons in action Sunday afternoon at Turner Field. In this sequence of photos, Simmons makes two routine plays -- the second of a ground ball that third baseman Chris Johnson watches

A recent article by Jeff Passan at Yahoo sports had this to say:

Stitched in cursive on Andrelton Simmons' glove are two words: "God Given.

" If his highlight page were to showcase his next incredible play with "Simmons, God Given," that might be the only palatable three-word phrase to do him justice.

He realizes this, too. Simmons turned 24 a little more than a week ago, and ever since he signed with the Braves as a second-round pick out of Western Oklahoma State, he has been told his talent in the field is preternatural. Most teams liked Simmons as a pitcher – he threw 98 mph as a closer for the junior college that recruited him out of Curacao – but the Braves recognized an up-the-middle lottery ticket is far likelier to hit jackpot than another hard-throwing arm.

Simmons arrived in the majors last season with the reputation as the next great shortstop, and as much hype hangs on players upon their debuts, he was one of the few who exceeded it. And not just by a little, either. Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton spent seven seasons playing third base alongside the greatest fielding shortstop ever, Ozzie Smith.

"And that's where this kid's getting to," Pendleton said. "The rest of us ooh and ahh about it. But I'm to the point now where when he doesn't do something I'm more surprised. And the kid's only got a year in the big leagues.

"He just has a knack for it. And you see when something else goes on, he's always thinking about the next thing. Or there's a play over here and he's thinking about what he can do with it. And those are the things that I watched Ozzie Smith do. And I'm quite sure, at Ozzie's age, he's doing the same thing."

For Simmons, it is just … him. He doesn't know how he slides, pops up and throws in one motion. Maybe it's the soccer he played from age 13 on – the game that taught him how to tackle and nearly stole him away from baseball full-time. He's not certain why he can always approach a ball exactly where he must.



Dalton State Cross Country Adds Weekend Trip To Gainesville

Dalton State cross country teams have added the second annual University of North Georgia Invitational. Roadrunner men’s and women’s teams will visit the UNG campus in Gainesville for this Saturday’s morning runs.   The women will start a 6K race at 8:15 a.m. The 8k men’s event will follow at 9:00 a.m. The 14 women’s team scheduled to run Saturday are Agnes Scott, ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Sweeps GPS In Volleyball

Notre Dame volleyball coach Ted Hackett  wasn't real sure how well his team would play on Monday evening against non-district rival GPS, but he seemed pretty happy following the 2-0 win over the Bruisers in a match that took just over 35 minutes. The first set wasn't close as Notre Dame broke from a 13-13 tie to win by 25-13 as senior Mallory Hein recorded the last 12 service ... (click for more)

Youth Pleads Guilty In 2011 Club Fathom Shootings; Rakestraw Gets 3 Years In Prison

A teen who was 15 at the time nine people were shot outside Club Fathom downtown on Christmas Eve 2011 pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault on Tuesday. Brandon Lebron Rakestraw, who is now 18, appeared before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole. He received a three-year prison term to serve. Rakestraw has been in jail for 10 months. Prosecutor Jason Demastus ... (click for more)

Over 2,500 Athletes, Plus Thousands Of Fans And Supporters, Set For Chattanooga, North Georgia For Sunday's Ironman Event

Over 2,500 athletes, along with thousands more of fans and supporters, will be in Chattanooga and North Georgia for Sunday's Ironman competition. The competitors will first swim 2.4 miles in the Tennessee River before biking 112 miles (56 miles each way) and running a 26.2-mile (two and a half loops downtown, the Southside and the North Shore) marathon. The bicycle course ... (click for more)

Congrats To Super Citizen Helen Burns Sharp - And Response

Congratulations to super-citizen Helen Burns Sharp on both her initial IDB lawsuit and on Chancellor Fleenor's ruling.  Also, I wish her well on her current action. It's a shame that a private citizen such as Ms. Sharp has to invest so much time and money to keep a government agency honest.  Three cheers and thumbs up.  I thank her.  R.J. Johnson  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Apollos Hester’s Way

East View High was trailing at halftime by a pair of touchdowns in last Friday night’s game against unbeaten Vandegrift. But the players at the Georgetown, Texas, school each have a sticker on the back of their helmets that says “TPW” which is a constant reminder that “Tough People Win.” Then there is “attitude” and that is where running back Apollos Hester steps in. In what ... (click for more)