CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Opportunity is here for Braves rookies

Opportunity is here for Braves rookies

I can remember last year at this time, when Brian McCann and I were playing out in the Arizona Fall League and watching all the postseason highlights. We both knew we wanted an opportunity to experience the playoffs, and now we've got that chance.

Growing up a Braves fan, I can remember watching Sid Bream slide in safely with the winning run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series and when David Justice hit the game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series.

Those are the moments that you want to experience as a player. You play the game in hopes that you'll have the opportunity to shine brightest on the big stage.

Now, I'm getting the opportunity to be a part of this, and it's just an awesome feeling. I haven't been able to sleep the past couple of nights because I just can't wait to get everything started.

Everybody has been wondering about how all of us rookies are going to respond in the postseason. I'm pretty sure all of us are ready to go. We've just got to keep doing what we've been doing all year and have fun.

The assumption is that because we haven't been here before, we won't be successful. But until you try something, you never know. I can guarantee you that none of us rookies will be scared or fearful. We're just going to leave it all on the field and see what happens.

I'm looking forward to getting a chance to face Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt. Those are the kinds of challenges you expect to encounter in the playoffs.

There are lots of people talking about Houston's Big 3 being the reason they'll beat us and possibly go all the way to the World Series. But with John Smoltz, Tim Hudson and Jorge Sosa, we believe we've got a pretty good trio, too. I wouldn't say they're chopped liver or anything.

Smoltz and Huddy are two of the best big-game pitchers we can put out there on the mound. They've been there before and know what they have to do. If we pitch and play defense like we can, I think we're going to be all right.

Just a few months ago, McCann, Macay McBride, Kyle Davies and I were all playing at Double-A Mississippi. Now, we're part of one of the final eight teams gunning for the ultimate goal of winning a world championship. Hopefully, we'll be the last team standing.

Jeff Francoeur's postseason diary appears as told to Mark Bowman, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}