The Braves’ franchise-worst September collapse, in which they blew an 8-1/2-game wild-card lead in 3-1/2 weeks — matching the largest lead ever blown by a National League playoff contender in the final month — has resulted in an unusual response from the top of the organization to season ticket holders.
In what amounts to an organizational mea culpa, Braves president John Schuerholz sent a letter that thanks fans for continued support, cites several accomplishments by the team during the 2011 season and notes the depth of the organization, and then says that ultimately the team failed to reach its ultimate goal because of a performance in September that was “unnacceptable to all in the organization.”
For an organization that prides itself on keeping an even keel and reacting to all situations in a sort of button-downed, measured tone, it was a noticeably strong response from the person who has long been the primary force behind that philosophy.
We might add, it was a smart first step toward soothing some of the disappointment, frustration and, yes, outright anger expressed by many fans since the end of the 9-18 September debacle.
Here is the letter, which was shared today by a fan named Steve (last name withheld).
(Braves logo here on letterhead)
755 Hank Aaron Dr SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30315
October 6, 2011
On behalf of the entire Braves organization, I would like to thank you for all of the great support you showed us this season. Your continued involvement in this team plays a pivotal role in our ability and drive to succeed. While there were many exciting moments during our 2011 season, unfortunately, we fell short of our ultimate goal. Together, we share in the disappointment and frustration of how and when this season ended.
For a majority of the season we owned one of the four best records in baseball. We had five members of our team representing the Braves at the All-Star Game, and we had the two best rookies in the league on our team – either Kimbrel or Freeman will surely win the Rookie of the Year Award. We witnessed an historic hitting streak by Dan Uggla and his incredible defense all year. Throughout the season, we began to see the remarkable depth of talent in our young players.
However, our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal.
Like you, I am very proud of the history and achievements of your Atlanta Braves organization. However proud we are of that legacy, I would like to reiterate to you that our focus is on the future and our goal for next season is to win a World Championship for you, our loyal fans.
Once again, I appreciate all you do to support the Braves organization and team. I truly hope you will continue to be part of the great atmosphere and community we all share in Braves Country.