~JB, Braves Blogger Extraordinaire and Coffee Addict.
Espresso. The fuel of blogs. At least it is for mine.
Hello, Braves fans and baseball fans otherwise. It’s been a long
season already for the Braves and somehow we’ve only managed to fall 4
games away from first place. How? I don’t know. We can’t seem to remain
above .500. We can’t seem to win series against struggling teams and we
can’t seem to stay healthy.
But here we are. About to welcome the Phils, who cling to the
aforementioned 4 game advantage, and a chance to improve our standings.
How can we do so without Chipper when his fill-in is not only not
hitting anywhere close to Chipper’s “BA” B.A. but he could make Mr.
But even though this Braves blogger has seen better days… I’ve seen
worse too. And though our roster has more missing pieces than my
Pac-Man puzzle from 1982… well… I don’t know if there is an
upside here actually. It’s just baseball and it’ll break your heart as
quickly as it’ll make you leap for joy. Those of you not prepared for
this fickle love affair will have a hard time even mustering the desire
to read a Braves blog let alone watch an early July ball game.
So in case you haven’t heard yet, Chipper will make his perennial
appearance on the DL starting this week and it’ll come just in time for
him to miss the All Star game. Just when I was getting optimistic that
he’d make it through the whole season… Well, I still love Chipper and
there’s very little not to love. At least I can say that Mike Hampton
makes Chipper look like the 6 Million Dollar Man.
Now at this point the post takes a turn. Call this an opinion, observation, insight or whatever but here’s how I end.
When in Chicago visiting Wrigley Field this June,
I noticed something about the fans in the Friendly Confines. They
turned out in very strong numbers and gosh they love their team. I
happened to make it to one of those day game treats on a Thursday
afternoon but the attendance would’ve told you it was a Sunday. Now
true, Wrigley is smaller than Turner but I will say that the love the
“Friendlies” have for their team is… electric.
Here’s my point. The Cubbies haven’t snagged a title in close to 100
years. They’ve had nothing but bad luck in the postseason and are now
this century’s version of the Red Sox. You could use success as an
argument for why to give up on this loveable franchise on the Northside
but it would get you nowhere with a true Cubs fan.
They are to me, an example of what I believe a team and its fans
must sometimes go through to gather a TRUE following. I’m not talking
about the “fans” that show up in gale force when the team is winning
and then allow the Ted to become a Ghost Town when we’re down in the
standings. I’m not even talking about the tailgaters who get thoroughly
intoxicated before, during, and after the game only to make complete
fools out of themselves in the parking lot (I’ve hit one with my car
this season). I’m talking about FANS. And truth be told, sometimes Fans have to go through some “Character Building Years” to refine their Fanship.
Now we Braves supporters have had a good run. Yes we only managed
one Title in the 14 banners we collected during that time but I’ll
briefly state my argument once more, how many more WS’s Championships
would we have won playing 20 years ago without the dreadful playoff
system we now employ? Regardless, we’ve obviously had some success
since 1991 and now the years wane on. I’m not throwing in the towel on
this season or saying our play off hopes for 2008 are shot when I say
this. I’m just saying if the rough season we’ve had so far and the two
missed playoffs of ’06-’07 continue to be a trend, we will have to take
our devotion to a new level.
I think this level of devotion has benefited teams like the Cubs.
Disappointment is sometimes very good for a team and its fans to go
through. Remember the magic of 1991? It wouldn’t have been there in
quite the same way if it wasn’t for 1990 and all the other last place
years before it.
Just a thought but getting through these hard times (and if it turns
out… a hard season) and emerging as Braves Fans who know how to truly
love our team is my silver lining.
Enjoy the day off of baseball. We got a brand new month and chance to gain some ground.
Whatever you do… Keep Choppin’