Heading out to the stadium later to see if the Braves can keep pace in the National League wild card race, since it looks again like there’s no way they’re going to keep pace with the Phladelphia Phillies in the East Division. But I came across this New York Times story in which Jeff Francoeur takes a few shots at his former team and this market, to a degree, and it got me wondering about something.
I’ve thought all along that if the Braves made the playoffs this season, after what it had been through, it would excite the fan base more than at any time in the last 10 years. Why? Because it would be unexpected. That’s about the only thing that gets most Atlanta sports fans excited: something new, cool, unexpected. Win all the time and it gets old. Folks became jaded during the run of 14 straight division titles, and by the late 1990s the feeling was, “I’ll get excited again when there’s a reason to get excited.”
So here’s my question to you: How much are you into this? Are you sort of sitting back, expecting nothing and waiting to pounce if the team gets in? Would you rush to the box office to buy tickets the last two weeks of the regular season if the Braves are still in the race a race ?
I know. It’s not 1991 again. It will never be 1991 again. But where does this Braves run rank on your scale of sports excitement because, frankly, I’ve sensed both ends of the spectrum from fans.
OK, that’s more than one question. So just tell me what you think.
Meanwhile, this might get you going. Everything Francoeur told Times writer Jack Curry is the truth. But I also know sometimes fans read these kinds of comments and think, “He can’t say that about us! Only we can say that about us!”
But here’s a few comments from Francoeur:
♦ On the Braves in the early 1990s, when he was a fan: “You had Ted Turner involved and going out and spending in a lot of those years they were winning. That used to be a place of destination for players. It’s just not like that anymore.”
♦ On the change in expectations: “Now people get excited that they’re three and a half games out of the playoffs and knocking on the door. It used to be, they’d be 10 games up now and cruising to the playoffs.”
♦ On the playoff atmosphere four years ago, compared to when he grew up in Atlanta: “All of that magic as far as the chop and all of that has slowly kind of disappeared.”
Now it’s your turn.