The Atlanta Braves aren’t very good, but there’s a lot of one Atlanta Brave to like. Too much, according to Jon Heyman, who reports in Today’s Knuckleball that the team is “said to have concerns about Matt Kemp’s weight and will likely encourage an offseason workout program to get him back to his halcyon days.”
First, isn’t an offseason workout program something that every professional athlete should, you know, already have?
Second, isn’t this where I came in?
I arrived in Atlanta in 1984, just as the Braves turned due south after two winning seasons under Joe Torre. The rest of that decade was chock-full of lousiness and weirdness, from the all-day brawl with the Padres to Rick Camp’s home run in the middle of the night to Bob Horner hitting four home runs in one of the few games not aired lived on the Superstation. (That Sunday afternoon was devoted to Ted Turner’s Goodwill Games.)
Note: Even with Horner hitting four homers, the Braves lost 11-8.
Note also: Horner’s contract included a weight clause. He’d weigh in every Friday. Then, legend has it, he’d go out and eat three lunches.
The absolute strangest development of that mostly forgotten time came in 1985 when, for no apparent reason, David Letterman felt moved to refer to Braves reliever Terry Forster as “a big fat tub of goo” in an opening monologue. (Apparently Dave had been watching the Superstation.) This led, inevitably, to Forster appearing on “Late Night” and, as big fat tubs of goo are wont to do, eating a ham sandwich on camera.
(He also prepared tacos — chicken and beef — for Letterman and members of the audience, a comedic bit that overstayed its welcome.)
This televised moment also led Forster to attempt a second career as a singer/entertainer. The cover of his one record — “Fat Is In,” credited to “Terry Forster and the Lovehandles” — is shown above. I can’t say I have any memory of his vocal stylings, possibly because Forster himself doesn’t actually sing. He talks, briefly.
But I digress, as I tend to do about those Braves days, which were not so halcyon.