The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 27, 2013

Nationals-Braves has all the makings of a great rivalry

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman were walking back to the Atlanta clubhouse, having finishing up a stint in the batting cages on a rainy morning, when they spotted Bryce Harper sitting at the end of the Washington dugout.

They went over to shake hands and chat for a few minutes, their first chance to catch up with the Nationals young star this season.

It won’t be the last time they meet.

This has all the makings of a great baseball rivalry: two youthful teams in the same division, both poised for long-term success but likely to be in each other’s way.

“You definitely know what’s across the table,” said Uggla, the Braves’ second baseman, before the teams met in a spring training game Tuesday.

Last year, they battled all season for the NL East title, the Nationals leading most of the way with the Braves in hot pursuit. Washington finished with a league-leading 98 wins — four games ahead of Atlanta, though both made the playoffs.

After each lost to St. Louis in the postseason (the Braves in a disputed one-game playoff, the Nationals in a bitter division series), they began making moves with an eye on a longer October run, ever mindful of what their division rival was up to.

The Braves signed B.J. Upton and traded for his younger brother, Justin, to give their offense a much needed boost from the right side of the plate. The Nationals traded for a true leadoff hitter, Denard Span, and signed closer Rafael Soriano, adding to a team that already includes two of baseball’s brightest young players, Harper and pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

“You’ve got to prepare,” Uggla said. “If they make a move, you’ve constantly got to do what it takes to be competitive. I feel like we did that this year.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Cardinals Red Sox Trade Cardinals land Lackey, shore up rotation

    BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday’s deadline....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe Castiglione lends hardwood expertise to new football playoff committee

    Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione serves on the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee and will be the committee chair for the 2015-16 season....

    August 1, 2014

  • Norman football a hotbed for quarterbacks

    While Norman High searches for a new quarterback to take the reins, Norman North is entering the preseason with one of the most talented quarterbacks in the state in Oklahoma State commit John Kolar....

    August 1, 2014

  • Tiger in the hunt after day one at Bridgestone

    AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods showed signs of a positive recovery Thursday at the Bridgestone Invitational. Not just from back surgery, but from making bogeys....

    August 1, 2014

  • Coaches rank Sooners No. 3

    The preseason USA Today coaches’ poll was released on Thursday. Oklahoma came in at No. 3....

    August 1, 2014

  • Defensive indefernce in Big-D as injury suffles front seven

    OXNARD, Calif. — Rookie pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence’s broken foot didn’t send the Dallas Cowboys scrambling because they’re already in rebuilding mode with their defensive line....

    August 1, 2014

  • Rams’ go with youth in secondary

    ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams secondary doesn’t have veteran leaders, high-dollar talent or big names. Those handling spots on the last line of defense are confident they won’t be a liability....

    August 1, 2014

  • Tigers go all in on Price

    DETROIT — When David Price was finally traded, it was to an unexpected bidder. The Detroit Tigers added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Price from Tampa Bay in a blockbuster deal Thursday....

    August 1, 2014

  • Oakland lands Lester, Gomes in exchange for Cespedes

    OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics won the Jon Lester sweepstakes, acquiring the left-hander and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before Thursday’s trade deadline....

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

Facebook