For the fifth consecutive season, right fielder Nick Markakis will be penciled in on the opening day lineup for the Atlanta Braves.
Markakis, who is as fit as a 35-year-old fiddle, has re-signed with Atlanta on a one-year contract worth $4 million. Loyalty has its place and so does Markakis’ bank account.
In his previous baseball life, Markakis made $44 million over four years with the Braves. It has worked out well for the team and the player. Markakis is a former Young Harris College baseball star. He once had a 95 mph fastball.
His pitching days are over, but his baseball career has taken off since going from the Baltimore Orioles to the Braves in 2015. The rest is history and, of course, more sliding catches in right field.
Markakis doesn’t mind grass stains on his baseball britches. He is a man’s man. He is old school. Markakis believes in hard work and winning baseball. He is out on the field to perform and to give Atlanta everything that he has.
Gregarious, he is not. Markakis, a native of Woodstock (the one in Georgia), is a low-key guy. The 6-foot-1, 210pound Markakis is also low maintenance. He is self-motivated. He takes pride in his job, his game and his baseball career.
And Markakis loves to hear the roar of the crowd, especially in Atlanta. Markakis is a complete player. He can swing it and catch it. He has a career batting average of .288 with 969 RBI’s.
He has also worked on his baseball craft as a defensive player. Markakis is a big play getting ready to happen. He isn’t a fast outfielder, but he is a smart defender of the turf. He gives up on no fly ball, except the one hit over the right field wall.
Markakis has a strong arm and good timing. He knows what to do at the crack of the bat. Markakis has thrown out his share of runners at third base. He rarely takes a mis-step in right field. Markakis has made just 25 errors in the last 13 seasons of Major League baseball with the Braves and Orioles.
This will be the fifth spring and summer for Markakis in Atlanta. And this is just one year after Markakis had the most satisfying campaign of his baseball life. In 2018 with the Braves, Markakis played a pivotal role as Atlanta made a run to the National League playoffs.
The numbers did tell a lot for Markakis. He put together a season with 185 hits, 14 home runs, 93 RBI’s and a batting average of .297. He also took the shortest route to home plate as a base runner.
Markakis scored 78 runs for the Braves in 2018. The all-star and Silver Slugger Award winner hopes to do even more for Atlanta this season. Nick Markakis has never been a better baseball player than he is right now. He has a sweet swing. Line drives fly off of his bat.
He has still never won a World Series championship, but he hopes to fix that this year. The Braves have a shot, and Markakis has another year with Atlanta. Markakis is thankful from the bottom of his $4 million dollar contract.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net