When the Braves streak of 14 consecutive NL Eastern Division titles ended, I was sick to my stomach. However, in 2005 the Braves began a new streak. One I was very proud of! Anyone who has been to Turner Field the last 4 years will know what I’m talking about. Since 2005, The Braves and Turner Field have boasted the “World’s Largest High Definition Display”.
Mitsubishi’s masterpiece is a beautiful thing. It lights up the Atlanta Sky. It’s freaking huge!
This morning I found out some disturbing news…
Turner Field no longer boasts the “World’s Largest High Definition Display”.
No. That title now belongs to…
The Kansas City Royals?
Not the Yankees. Not the Mets. Not the Dodgers.
Apparently it was installed last year. I was under a rock and had no idea. No wonder they have such a small payroll.
Good for them. I hope this will bring some mid-westerners to the ball park. Baseball needs a successful Royals team.
There’s a simple solution to all of this really. The Braves need to add a couple of stories to the display. How hard / expensive could it be? We’re no longer shouldering the burden of Mike Hampton’s salary right? We must build!!!
The question is – Should I be blogging about the Atlanta Braves. The answer is ABSOLUTELY! I will save you the background story leading up to my obsession with the Braves. It’s much easier to tell you that I was a kid who loved baseball, grew up in Atlanta… in the early 1990′s…raised by a father who tuned into TBS every summer night.
Need I say more?
So this blogging is for me. I need it. My wife needs it. My friends need it.
They thank you mlblogs.com, for this will now be my retreat for all things Braves. They get a much needed break! This arena will be my vent. It will play host to my rants and raves. Would I love to build a base of dedicated readers and commenters? YES! Will I still blog without any? Probably.
I have deemed it appropriate in my first post to address the single most difficult piece of news I received in this challenging off season. It wasn’t the loss of Jake Peavy. It wasn’t the debacle of Furcal’s dirty agent. It wasn’t the Yankees outbidding us for Burnett. And it certainly wasn’t the roller coaster ride of the Griffey Jr. saga. All of that sucked. However, most of it was justifiable. Everyone wanted to throw Wren under the bus.
I commend him for not wanting to give up the farm for Peavy. I understood that we had a verbal agreement with Furcal and his agent screwed us over. I appreciate him not overpaying for an injury prone starter who had won only 15 games in a season once in his career. Leave those foolish decisions in this economy to the Yankees. Let them overspend and come in 3rd in their division again! And Griffey? Other than placing fans in the seats and the nostalgia of him with a tomahawk across his chest… he really would not have produced what we need in our lineup.
I am willing to give Wren a pass on all of that.
There is one thing that I will never forgive… and especially forget. That is when the front office of my beloved team let the face of our organization and a player who has done more for this team and this city that any other professional athlete in Atlanta walk right out of the door… offended and neglected.
It was simply inexcusable. I don’t care about the injury. I don’t care about the money. It was disgraceful. It was veteran treatment 101… and the Braves as an organization failed miserably. That was supposed to be one of our strengths.
… and it left our other veteran star and unselfish leader wonder out loud in the AJC — “what’s going to happen to me if that’s the way they treat him?” (my take on Chipper’s public response)
I won’t get into the details of what transpired because they are too painful to live through again. Let’s just say that the Red Sox treated Smoltzie with the respect and honor he deserved… and we didn’t.
Now I know time heals all wounds. In fact, the time line of my healing process has looked something like this: Days 1-2 – Tears / Sadness / walking around in a cloudy haze (ask my wife). Days 3-5 – Anger. Talks of boycotting the season. Not purchasing the MLB package on Comcast to watch every game. Never spending another dime at Turner Field. Weeks 2-6 – Healing – OK, maybe I’ll go to a game or two. I still need to watch them on TV this year (especially on my new plasma). I can’t just turn my back on them… the way they did to Smoltzie.
Honestly, this young and exciting team in full-swing down in Disney has taken my mind off of Smoltzie for a while. But, last Sunday I made the trip to Orlando and in the stands, I leaned over to my wife and said “this is fun and all… but something is missing.”
We all know what that “something” is. And the pain will return again when Smoltzie makes his comeback. When we see him for the first time in a different uniform, taking the mound for another team. Having other fans cheering for him. Seeing his fist pump and realizing he’s not excited with the Braves anymore. When he strolls into Turner Field in June as our opponent… It will be like watching our ex-girlfriend making out with our best friend in the corner of the bar. It will suck.
My hats off to you Smoltzie. You did the right thing. Who could blame you? You will be missed. We are all pulling for you.
Shame on the Braves.