Strange but justified? Braves hang wild card banner

The Braves' banners are color coded by accomplishment. The new entry: white for wild card.

The Braves' banners are color coded by accomplishment. The new entry: white for wild card.

For the first time in franchise history, the Braves made it into the playoffs last season via the National League wild card berth. After a four-year postseason absence, the celebration was understandable. But here’s the question of the day: Was it worth hanging a pennant?

The Braves returned to Turner Field Tuesday night. The most obvious stadium addition was on the second deck facing in left field: a pennant with “2010″ on it, the number painted in white. It’s the 17th pennant in the line and they’re color coded. The pennant for the Braves’ lone World Series win (1995) is red.

All others are yellow with numbers in blue (division champions) or red (National League champions). Or white.

Gotta tell you: It looks a little strange. I’m not knocking the Braves’ decision. Fact is, when I first heard a couple of months back that they were consider it, I thought it was unusual, but now I’m somewhat neutral on the subject.

Here was general manager Frank Wren’s response when asked about any debate that might have gone into the decision to hang a wild card banner: “I never thought there was a debate. When you travel around baseball, you see them displayed as we have. Making the playoffs is special and should be recognized. In other sports it doesn’t carry the same significance because over half the the teams that start the season get in, whereas in baseball it is still an elite field that make the playoffs.”

One slight correction: This is not an automatic in baseball. The Braves’ are the 17th team in major league history to reach the postseason as a wild card (10 in the National League, seven in the American League). I decided to canvas the other 16. Here are the results of my email survey:

– The Braves are only the sixth wild card team to hang a banner. Oddly, all are in the National League. The others: Colorado, Houston, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.

– Eleven decided not to hang a banner. They are: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants.

– A Florida official said since the team won the World Series in wild card seasons (1997 and 2o03), wild card banners weren’t hung. He wasn’t certain if the banners would’ve been had the team not won the title.

– St. Louis won’t even acknowledge that it was a wild card in 2001. The Cardinals consider themselves “co-division champions” with Houston and have that designated on a wall in the clubhouse. They have no sign in public view.

– Seattle, a wild card in 2000, has a banner designating it was an ALCS participant. A Mariners’ official said they probably would not have recognized the wild card berth if it lost in the opening round.

So what’s your view on this? Were the Braves justified in hanging a banner or do you find it strange (or both)?

Coming later: Why I think the Braves will win the National League East.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

88 comments Add your comment

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
2:36 pm

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
2:36 pm

silly thing to do……..

SWAT Native

March 29th, 2011
2:40 pm

I used to laugh when I saw the Mets’ wild card banner. I guess I can’t laugh anymore.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 29th, 2011
2:41 pm

Don’t have a problem with it but it doesn’t mean anything to me either . all the titles in a row and the red one now that was special , but not as special as it could have been.

T-Bone

March 29th, 2011
2:42 pm

Hang the banner!! The point is to get invited to the dance. Once there, anything can happen. MLB recognizes it; so should the Braves.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 29th, 2011
2:43 pm

I see nothing wrong with this. Any trip to the postseason is an accomplishment. Kudo’s to them. Now juvenal, have to agree with his name, and both of his posts, assuming his second post is in reference to his first.

Hedley Lamarr

March 29th, 2011
2:44 pm

Hedley Lamarr

March 29th, 2011
2:47 pm

Pennant = winning a title of some distinction, e.g., Division Champion, World Series Champion. There is no title associated with a wild card entry.

Lifelong Braves Fan

March 29th, 2011
2:48 pm

I think it’s great. What they did last year was indeed an accomplishment, and it deserves to be up there with all the rest. All I hope is that a year from now it will be accompanied by another red banner.

C

March 29th, 2011
2:49 pm

would we have hung the wild card banner if we had, say, won the division last year? or did we hang it ’cause we haven’t hung anything since ‘05?

just a thought.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 29th, 2011
2:49 pm

I bet the Marlins, Angels, and Red Sox don’t have a problem with it. Anyone that makes light of wildcard teams needs to look no further than the Green Bay Packers.

Stinger2

March 29th, 2011
2:49 pm

The Braves can do what they want to do. They have the lease to Turner Field.

Alan

March 29th, 2011
2:50 pm

where will they hang the next one?

helmet head

March 29th, 2011
2:52 pm

They drank and sprayed champagne when wild card was clinched. May as well hang a banner.

Benjamin

March 29th, 2011
2:52 pm

I’m with Wren on this one. It was a postseason berth. Other teams do it…

It’s a no-brainer, in my opinion.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 29th, 2011
2:52 pm

We can start a second row, or extend all the way around the stadium. Nice problem to have. Go Braves!

GT Alum

March 29th, 2011
2:53 pm

I don’t have any strong feelings one way or another. I do agree with Frank Wren about making the playoffs being more significant in baseball than other sports.

Nick

March 29th, 2011
2:53 pm

What’s the difference? We lost in the division series as a division winner too.

helmet head

March 29th, 2011
2:54 pm

GT Alum- it’s not more significant but it is a more select field in baseball

GT Alum

March 29th, 2011
2:54 pm

C -

I wondered the same thing.

Buckshot

March 29th, 2011
2:56 pm

This one is a toss up. On the one hand, they didn’t win anything, so they don’t need to hang a pennant. On the other hand, they did make the playoffs….backing into the playoffs…..so it does need to be recognized somewhere…….

Jeff Schultz

March 29th, 2011
2:56 pm

C — Excellent question, and one we’ll never know the answer to.

Jeff Schultz

March 29th, 2011
2:58 pm

Alan — Also an excellent question. They’re out of room on that deck. Might be able to move whole row up to bottom edge of left field message board.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 29th, 2011
3:00 pm

What if we start a string of 14 consecutive wild card appearances. Are we happy? Do we fire the present administration or give them a raise?

braves fan 41

March 29th, 2011
3:08 pm

I think it’s an accomplishment worthy of celebration!

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
3:08 pm

rodney-i don’t get no respect! so are you happy with 14 white #’s? it is silly, like everyone in little league gets the same trophy…….

TM923

March 29th, 2011
3:11 pm

I really don’t care one way or the other, but why not make it smaller than the division winner/NL winner/MLB Champion?

Seems if the debate is there to acknowledge it… why not acknowledge that it is not as great a feat as the others?

Stinger2

March 29th, 2011
3:12 pm

Bobby Cox was manager when the Braves teams won almost all of these titles. Why not hang one for Bobby as a tribute to him for his accomplishments?

Barb

March 29th, 2011
3:13 pm

Perhaps the retiring of Bobby played another role in the hanging of this flag, as a way to show the significance of his final year as Manager.

ThrasherFan

March 29th, 2011
3:13 pm

Tbh, it would be awesome to only hang pennants when you win the division (or more) but making the playoffs in the MLB is harder that any other pro sports league so im not too bothered by it.

ThrasherFan

March 29th, 2011
3:14 pm

@Barb that’s a good point

Tucker T

March 29th, 2011
3:15 pm

Jeff,

Did you hear McGuirk crush you on the Braves broadcast on Saturday over your Braves for sale story? I side with you but it had to make you mad.

Delbert D.

March 29th, 2011
3:16 pm

It’ just a complete mystery to me. I really can’t get my thoughts together on an answer to this question.

Barb

March 29th, 2011
3:17 pm

Maybe not significance but the uniqueness of the season as a whole, with our first playoff berth in 5 years, Bobby retiring, the many come from behind victories. While the flag may not have had anything to do with all of this, every time in the future when I see this 2010 flag I will be reminded of one of the most special years I have ever witnessed as a Braves fan.

Tron5000

March 29th, 2011
3:17 pm

I’m cool with it. You can be a wild-card team and have a better record than other division champs. And with the way wild-card teams have advanced in the postseason, I think it deserves recognition. They were in the playoffs. That’s what counts.

D A DoubleU G

March 29th, 2011
3:25 pm

Winning the Wild Card is no easy feat.

If it were a football season, where you only have 16 games to claim your postseason spot, I wouldn’t think too much of it. But the guys on the diamond worked their tales off 162 games throughout the summer and didnt secure the Wild Card until after the 162nd game was over and fate helped us.

Baseball is just different. I will always look at that 2010 Wild Card flag and remember Heyward’s opening day HR, McLouth’s walk off HR against the Phillies where he was greeted to an empty dugout, Conrad’s unlikely walk off Grand Slam, Bobby Cox coaching in his last regular season game, staying after the final game to watch the Giants beat the Padres on The Ted’s big screen and celebrating with the players and Bobby Cox by the dugout, Ankiel hitting McCovey Cove in the playoffs, and finally, tearing up when Bobby Cox saluted the crowd for the final time after losing to the Giants, and the Giants pausing in their celebration to honor Cox.

Yeah, if that 2010 flag could talk, I would listen for the rest of time.

Go Braves.

Dawg Boy

March 29th, 2011
3:25 pm

Buckshot…I’ve never understood “backing into the playoffs”…I mean, I understand your concept, but at the end,don’t they just total up the wins and whoever has the most moves on? It doesn’t matter if you win your games at the beginning middle or end of the season.
C…I may misunderstand your comment, but if they had won the division, they wouldn’t have to worry about hanging a wild card banner.

ncb34

March 29th, 2011
3:27 pm

it’s a 162 game season, so being one of the few teams to make it to the playoffs is special, but i believe the story behind the team may have had something to do with it.. i know expectations werent that high before the season, bobbys last year, people will remember last season, and this team. just something special about it.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 29th, 2011
3:29 pm

I would say I’m more happy with a wild-card team than not making the post season at all. After all, the Marlins won two world series championships as a wild card team. Atlanta, in spite of all the division championships, has won only one. Now this is not meant to be criticism of the Braves, because, like I said earlier, it’s a heck of an accomplishment to make the postseason under any circumstances. Naturally, all fans, want more. If we’re gonna get this demanding, then are we only satisfied with World Series Championships?

Jeff

March 29th, 2011
3:35 pm

I don’t see the problem, last season’s playoff team was special, IMO. Who knows how far they’d win minus the injuries, etc. I agree with Frank Wren on this issue.

Sonny Clusters

March 29th, 2011
3:38 pm

We was always miffed by those little signs that make it look like they won a pennant. If they want to hand a pennant they need to win the National League and go to the World Series. We was thinking there may be some big changes coming since Chipper had this to say:

If you hadn’t become a baseball player, what would you be doing today?

“I would probably have one or both of Chip [Caray] and Joe [Simpson]’s jobs. I wanted to be a broadcaster bad. I was going to major in communications.”

We haven’t stopped laughing yet. “Uh, I wanted to be a bad broadcaster bad.” And that is what he’d be.

PMC

March 29th, 2011
3:40 pm

not a lot of red up there. Sigh.

joemoedee

March 29th, 2011
3:42 pm

I’m for it. In some cases, getting the wild card is tougher THAN winning the division. (eg, The Cardinals in 06 had 83 wins, Phillies had 85 wins, and the Cardinals end up in the playoffs and ultimately winning the World Series)

PMC

March 29th, 2011
3:43 pm

I mean ultimately it’s decoration. So… BFD.

The more significant ones are the NL and WS titles. They might do better to set them apart from the others.

Joycee Banicheck

March 29th, 2011
3:45 pm

Lame, and nothing but amo for Braves rival fans to throw in our face.

Innocent Bystander

March 29th, 2011
3:50 pm

Only 8 of the 30 teams in MLB make the playoffs (27%). Furthermore, only 4 of the 16 NL teams (25%) make it.

Other sports:

NBA: 16/30 (53%)
NFL: 12/32 (37.5%)
NHL: 16/30 (53%)

I think making the playoffs in any capacity in MLB is worth celebrating.

Delbert D.

March 29th, 2011
3:51 pm

Okay, this is out of left field (ahem), but guess which of these headlines is from The Onion, and which is from the AJC.com Sports page:

“Criminal Case Of ‘USA v. Steroid-Using Liar Barry Bonds’ Begins”

“Bonds judge reconsidering testicle testimony”

jumpin joe caldwell

March 29th, 2011
3:55 pm

I’m a Marlin man. Me and Billy have done many a shot at the Quarter Deck.
You never ask a navy man if he’ll have another drink, because it’s nobody’s goddamned business how much he’s had already.

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
3:56 pm

baseball is the biggest on tradition-a pennant is awarded for a league championship-it is a stretch to call it a division pennant……..whatever you want to call it for a wildcard, it is not a pennant……

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
4:01 pm

if it’s a “banner”, why hang it in the same place-Tech’s Final Four bannaers look a lot different……& if it’t only semantics, it’s only a game……