I’m a little distressed. I’m just now realizing I might not have a job much longer, and it has nothing to do with the AJC or the state of the newspaper industry. It has to do with the state of the local pro teams. They appear, horror of horrors, to be doing things right.
Good news for fans.
Bad news for the nit-picking pundit.
It hit me this week. I posted an item on the Falcons’ apparently successful offseason. I posted another on Don Waddell improving the Thrashers, yet another on the Hawks keeping Mike Bibby. And then I got to thinking, “This is Atlanta! We’re supposed to be Losersville! What in the name of Marion Campell is going on?”
I don’t mind telling you I’m at a loss. I can’t remember a time when the local franchises seemed so clever. (Then again, I’ve only been here a quarter-century.) The Falcons just went 11-5, traded for Tony Gonzalez and loaded up on defense in the draft. The Hawks had a winning season, won a playoff series, traded for Jamal Crawford, drafted Jeff Teague and re-signed Bibby. The Thrashers hired Rick Dudley as assistant GM, picked Evander Kane, traded for Pavel Kubina and signed Nik Antropov. In good conscience, I can’t find fault with any of the above.
We can argue a bit about the Braves, who do have a losing record, but honesty compels me to report I thought Frank Wren did good work over the winter. And the move of his I questioned most — trading for Javier Vazquez — has worked out the best. Yes, Wren can be tin-eared when it comes to PR, but he has taken a team that lost 90 games last season and has made it competitive.
We Atlantans are, sports-wise, in a rare era of relatively good feeling. Nobody has traded away a Brett, be it Butler or Favre, lately. Nobody has drafted Aundray Bruce or Adam Keefe. Nobody has fired Joe Torre and replaced him with Eddie Haas or rehired the aforementioned Marion Campbell.
And me, I’ve got nothing much to criticize. I can only bide my time until September. And here I sit, mouthing my new mantra: “Thank goodness for Willie Martinez.”