680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – 25 Years Later…what do I remember about the 1995 Atlanta Braves?(Warning – SPOILERS included. Ok. 1 REALLY BIG Spoiler)Writing anything about the 1995 Atlanta Braves Season is silly if you don’t make the end the beginning.
If you don’t want to know how this one played out…stop reading right here.
October 28th 1995.
(I mean it. if you don’t want to know what happened…stop HERE)
Game 6 – Indians – Braves…Fulton County Stadium Atlanta Ga.
I was one of 51,867.
But the story doesn’t really begin there.
It actually starts in 1994. August 12th 1994: The day that baseball couldn’t get out its it own way and went all in on the 8th work stoppage in the game’s history…the 4th in-season stoppage in 22 years.
And as days rolled into weeks, the season went “POOF!” The World Series was cancelled for the first time sine 1904 and fans were not happy.
What people forget is about 200 days later, spring training began..but the strike was still on.
I won’t go into a ton of detail about replacement players, but lets just say that my indifference to that setting in West Palm Beach (pre Orlando/Wide World of Sports Complex days) was shared by Bobby Cox and his coaching staff.
Sure they all had a job to do..and they were there “coaching”..but it wasn’t pretty or overly productive by any measure.
(Sidenote – Sparky Anderson was put “on leave” because he refused to manage anyone or anything that was pretending to be a Detroit Tiger in Lakeland Fl.)
So let’s end this little time together with the Good News…and a reality check as to what fans thought of it.
After 232 days, the longest strike in Major Sports Professional History, the doors opened back up and players made their way to Florida and Arizona for what was the beginning of a 144 game schedule.
And the Braves made two moves and three decisions that helped ensure that October 28th 1995 ended with champagne flowing (warned ya).
Before we get into the season, the next time we get together here and I tell you how a 20-17 start to the season did not arouse the city or have anyone shaking in their boots about this “new look” Braves team..here you go..
John Shuerholz traded for Marquis Grissom, resigned Jeff Blauser, and Bobby Cox decided that Chipper Jones, Ryan Klesko, and Javy Lopez were going to be big pieces in the everyday lineup from Day 1.
We would all reconvene for 1 more year in West Palm Beach for Spring Training in 1996 with a completely different vibe. The “Come Take The Belt If You Think You Can” that only happens in one place vibe. The place where the World Champions do spring training.
Oh. And remember when I said the fans weren’t very happy?
Here’s how unhappy.
When the Braves opened up the season after 3 weeks of “real” spring training on April 26th against the San Francisco Giants, just a tick over 24,000 fans thought it was worth their time. That means to open up the only Title year of the franchises time in Atlanta, a half empty building “greeted” players.