The Atlanta Braves have played less than 3 handfuls of games. And I've seen enough. In a good way.
Let me start backwards.
I am NOT here to tell you to take their..or anyone elses..record over 12 games (8-4)..find out how many times 12 goes into
162 (13..remainder of 6)..start multiplying
8 X 13 = 104
6 is half of 12 so add 4 more wins = 108
162 - 108 = 54
And declare that on Oct 4th the Atlanta Braves will be 108-54 in 2015
(btw..I do know I could have gone the "they win 2 out of every 3 so..." route)
I'm not even here to GUESS their final record. Or put forth this is a Division winner. Or a Wildcard team. Or nothing.
I AM ready to say..based on this admittedly small..postage stamp small..sample size..the 2015 Braves have it over the 2014 version in at least 1 category.
As much as I liked to dazzle with #'s..come up with some equation..or formula that would have the SABR folks make me an honorary Grand Poobah
(ask your parents)
It's not about line-ups. Or rotations. Or bullpens. Or hitting coaches. Shifts. Balls in play. WAR or any other 618 things that the reams of paper could tell you if they could talk. Or sing. Or dance. (We need the input in/numbers crunched/here's your answer as long as you don't think the game is still played on the field by people folks to do that)
Oh my friends..and in particular Braves fans..I simply give you this.
"Tomorrow we'll hit a 3 Run HR and it will be okay" has left the building.
Gone. Doesn't live here anymore. Checked out. Can't even see the stick and bandana walking down the tracks.
And I am ridiculously happy. Because the only thing more hurtful and painful than losing more than you win is when the reason in part you're doing it is because the solution you've come up with to fix it flies in the face of reality. Not a made up "multiply the # of fastballs you swing and miss at by the # of stars you see in the sky on a particular Tuesday then divide by Rick Reuschels weight over his total wins (very impressive 214)" reality. A real reality.
The Braves didn't hit 3 Run Hrs last year. Hardly hit any HRs. Or enough Doubles. Or with RISP. Or in late innings. Or score enough runs (man they were bad at that. 2nd most bad of anyone)
You get it.
They struck out. A lot.
But they also thought..athlete mentality I guess..that it will be better tomorrow. And I'll always run with that. Until I slam into a brick wall.
I have no idea what the 2015 Braves will do. How many of anything they will have.
But I know that THIS bunch knows..KNOWS..that sitting around waiting for anything to happen is not good business.
This group is ready to DO something..maybe anything..to score a run here. Or there. Or at least attempt to make that happen. Now. In the moment.
No waiting around. No looking to tomorrow. Because we got a game tonight.
So..here we are. The middle of March. And we here in Atlanta take a second to assess our lot in life. Not REALLY Big Picture. But close.
As Sports Fans.
Here's the landscape..some fact..some opinion.
The Atlanta Hawks have set this town on the closest thing to its ear like they never (ok..almost never if you feel differently) have in their time in this city.
It went from "Feel Good & Flukie" to "Where the Hell did this come from" to where I sit today.
"Sorry Guys. You've set the bar really high. So that means there can be an underachieve. And it will be maddening. And anger inducing."
In other words..there IS something to lose. I'm NOT playing with House Money. There will be no "Atta Boys" on a less than run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
I want to type NBA FINALS. Really do. But I'm not sure..as good as it/they have been that I can. Because I'm not sure they know HOW to go that far.
I will say this. They have the best Coach in the East. Point. Blank. Fight me on it if you choose. I'll meet you at 3:00 o'clock in the schoolyard on this one.
Through osmosis + buy in factor..he has learned that time spent sitting to the right or left of THE best in the business can be a great thing. If you've been watching. And listening.
Mike Budenholzer has done both.
The Hawks benefit. Every night. And unless he has a gag gene or personality that I have not seen..not once..it will carry him and them deep into the postseason.
Sports are built upon the window analogy. When it's open..take advantage. Because someone..someones..something or things is right around a corner looking to shut it. Slam it closed actually.
We here in this town have had it all pulled out from under us.
We've had hopes blown to bits.
Our teams have turned into dumpster fires.
The Gods have not frowned upon us..they've mocked us.
This is where I'm supposed to say it will..of course..happen again.
Not because I'm blind to history.
Or because I'm a Pollyanna.
Or a hopeless romantic (code for "Sucker").
Because its time.
Not because we're due. Or becuase they're "Good Guys"
It's because theyve EARNED the right to have me feel so.
(Next up..the State of the Falcons. Then the Braves as they break camp)
So Fall is right around the corner. September baseball (with a hopeful eye on October) and Football all around us.
Have to believe for a lot of you guys. It’s about to become "Game On" as a sports fan.
So lets try something different.
No predictions. No bold statements. No "Wins-Losses" guessing game.
How about some good old fashioned fandom with a dash or two of reality and hope?
How about before we all get crazy (and we will) about actual outcomes. We all just take a minute to remember why we
I'd imagine most of us would come up with the same overall answers. But everyones individual story will be a little different.
Was it handed down from someone in your family? Mom..Dad..Older brother...Uncle?
Was it a radio "thing"..or a gather round the tv "thing"?
Were you lucky enough to go to a lot of games..or was it a single game or two that got you hooked?
Was it a certain team..or player..or moment that got you so happy or depressed or mad that you realized you were in?
Have you moved and adopted the "home teams"? Or do you root from afar now?
Have you..do you..get to share it with YOUR family now? Kids..extended family..built in rivalries through marriage? (Or divorce)
Best moments? Worst moments? (You know..the ones that "test" us)
Do you root for someones "awful" as much as you root for "your guys"? (It's Ok. Most of us do. And most people KNOW we do. Might be cathartic to just put it out there)
That road trip that was worth the $ (And the hangover. Or maybe even the arrest. Wait. What?)
Do you need to watch "Big Games" alone? Or do you like communal?
Lucky sweatshirt? Lucky Chair?
Have you ever blamed yourself for a loss? (Spoke to soon during a game and it went to crap)
Or given yourself credit for a win? (Didn't get up once during the second half or for the last 5 innings. Damn near wet myself..but it was worth that bladder infection to do my part)
If you've ever
sometimes you just have to remind yourself "Why?"
Before you get crazy..give yourself that minute. I just did. And it's amazing how many things...moments..will fill your head.
The players..some "Heroes"...some "Villains". Great catches. Bad fumbles. The stories behind the games. Where you were. Why you weren't someplace. Unexpected wins. Bad beats.
But better than that..you'll be amazed by how many people will fly by in your visual rolodex. Some are gone. Some I haven't seen or talked to or thought about for DECADES. But they just came to life. Clear as day.
You're not owed anything as a fan. That's a cold hard reality.
But what you DO get out of it..pretty special