I have been chastised and ridiculed because I have not written about the Atlanta Braves all season, hell even baseball in general, and you know what? Its hard for me to write about baseball, because I can't take the game seriously until at least sometime after the All-Star break. The season is too long, and I got too much going on in this sports world to give my brain all 162 games.
However, once again the Atlanta Braves have found a way to get me focused again, and I am already prepared to have my heart ripped out one more time.
The Braves are 5 games up on the NL East, a division that was long ago given to The Rev's Philadelphia Phillies. I remember at the beginning of the season thinking that Atlanta HAD A CHANCE to win the Wild Card, and now we're the best team in the National League? This is unfathomable, and I'm not really sure how we got here. Here's why...
The Phenom - By now you've heard about the best young offensive player in the game of baseball, Jason Heyward. He was the starting outfielder for the National League, but I can admit that him being the starter was a byproduct of his hype more than his performance on the field. (.247/11 HRs/45 RBIs) He is the future of baseball, and as a Braves fan he makes me want to watch them on television. However, he hasn't set the world on fire yet, he will though.
The Old Man - Chipper Jones will go down as maybe the 2nd best Atlanta Brave of all-time behind the great Hank Aaron. However, this is the same man that briefly considered RETIREMENT in the middle of the season because he was in such a bad slump. He's picked it up as of late, but the season numbers (.253/7 HRs/34 RBIs) are not typical of good ole' Chipper. I'm glad the man didn't retire, we need him. Baseball needs him.
The Backstop - If you watched the All-Star Game, then you saw the MVP of the game Brian McCann do work by driving in 3 runs and breaking the 13-game losing streak by the National League. (Thank God) He's been pretty quiet all season, and his numbers aren't as eye popping as they usually are. (.270/10 HRs/37 RBIs) However, he's a quiet leader on the squad and I can say that there isn't a team outside of Minnesota (Joe Mauer) that probably wouldn't prefer having McCann over their current situation at Catcher.
Those are the three best players on our team, none of them are playing truly spectacularly. Thank God for players like Martin Prado (2nd in the NL in batting average, .324), Omar Infante, Troy Glaus, and Eric Hinske. Also, Atlanta's pitching has been very strong. The Braves have the best pitching staff in the National League, and they're going to be tough to beat. However, this is truly all just a setup.
At the end of the day, this is the Atlanta Braves you're talking about. This is a team that for fourteen straight seasons won the division title yet only won one World Series. You're dealing with a fanbase who looks at the Braves being on top as a sign of the inevitable. Not that you're team is going to win it all, but that eventually its going to end in an agonizing defeat. This is the mental for a Braves fan. We can't hardly ever take them seriously, thus the reason why the Braves don't hardly ever sell out their own damn home games.
Its a blessing and a curse, and who knows what's going to happen, but I'm locked in. Its World Series or bust for the Braves, and I'm along for the ride.
(However, when you see sad tweets from me this Fall, read this article and you'll understand why.)
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!