THE “SUFFERING ATL SPORTS FAN” & WHY THAT SHOULDN’T APPLY TO BRAVES FANS – BY TUG COWART

April 11, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – It seems like this answer is an obvious and resounding “YES,” until you re-live some of the pain that has become synonymous with being an Atlanta sports fan. The existence of th
e idea the “suffering Atlanta Fan” started with plays like the Lonnie Smith base running error in 1991 or 1996 meltdown vs the Yankees. I live and die by the Braves and I would be happy with only 1 more World Series in the coming season(s). Yes, I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. In the 90’s at the time it was happening, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I kept saying we can get there but we can’t get it done. I was not satisfied with always being relevant, always being in the playoffs and seemingly always losing without another World Series title.

FILE – Atlanta Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone, left, talks into the ear of pitcher John Smoltz as Smoltz waits his turn to throw in the Braves first spring training workout Saturday, Feb. 17, 1996 in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP FILE Photo/Tannen Maury)

John Smoltz has said many times he would have liked to have won another World Series title. Smoltz has also said he was satisfied with winning an unprecedented 14 straight division titles, a feat that will never be replicated…ever! Smoltzie correctly contends that the Braves were competitive season in and season out and that Braves fans knew their team would be in the playoffs every year. For a long time, I disagreed with that stance. I was wrong and John Smoltz was right. Huge surprise that one of the greatest pitchers of all time and one of the greatest Braves of all time had a better perspective than a fan, like me, had. I have so many times argued against the Smoltz point of view and now feel foolish for having done so. You may have done it too and it is ok. Just realize, like I did, that you’re wrong.

So, here we are, it the 2021 season, and the Braves have now won 3 division titles. It has been so much fun to watch the “new” baby Braves, like Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley taking their place on the field and hopefully one day in Braves championship history. If the Braves continue to go to the playoffs, continue to win the division, an NLCS and even the World Series and maybe win one, just one, over the next ten years I will be a happy Braves fan. I will also know from experience that I witnessed something incredible, again.

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