It's a bit early for baseball. But the Atlanta Braves are making plans to reclaim something that was taken from them by the New Yuck Muts and the Philadelphia Wheeze Kids. That something was the National League East Title, when the Braves were kings of the mountain. Yes, they have lost a valuable glove in the outfield in Andruw Jones, who signed with the Dodgers and a decent glove in the infield when [[Edgar Renteria left. As someone once said, "Good programs don't rebuild, they reload."

The Braves were built on pitching. John Smoltz now has some protection in the rotation with the return of one Thomas Micheal Glavine to the friendly confines of 755 Henry Aaron Drive and could be the one-two punch of olden days, when both took home Cy Young Awards. If one or both can stay healthy, the starting rotation will be fine, even without Leo Mazzone. Tim Hudson's no slouch either, with a 16-10 mark in 2007. The other starting key is Mike Hampton, who hasn't picked up a baseball in almost two years. If he can get somewhat healthy, there could be signs of tomahawks in the rear view mirrors of Philly and New York. The bullpen was decent but not where it needs to be to regain the crown.

Granted, they only have one World Series win to their name (1995) since the run began. But one of anything is better than nothing. Atlanta fans will be treated to a team that has lost some of its stars to trades and free agency but they welcome back a prodigal son. If any or all of these factors come together, it will be a long season for teams in the NL East.

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