Comes now another in our daily series of the-Braves-look-great articles. This is from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he sees the Braves as the team that could dislodge the Phillies from the National League East summit. And here I sit, starting to wonder if I underrated these guys and undervalued the offseason work of Frank Wren.
But let me say a couple of things: First, I haven’t been to Lake Buena Vista to see the team firsthand, so I’m having to rely on dispatches; second, I remember the first time I really covered a team up close and personal. It was the 1980 Kentucky Wildcats, and standing at practice every day for a month convinced me a breakthrough football season was at hand.
Impressed by what I’d beheld, I told Russell Rice, the UK publicist, “There’s no way you’ll be as bad as 3-8.” (That being the consensus on how the Big Blue would do.)
Long story short: The 1980 Wildcats wound up 3-8.
I was young and foolish then. I’m much older and still foolish, but one thing I have learned: Practice doesn’t count. Practice games don’t count. Sometimes they’re an indication, but not always. It’s entirely possible the Braves will come north and tear off another 13-0 “Torre! Torre! Torre!” start — that’s a reference to 1982, for you youngsters — but spring success is no guarantee of future results.
Me, I’m still skeptical. I eagerly await the coming of Jason Heyward, but I also wonder if the age on this team — and there’s a ton of it — will show over 162 games. I wonder about the offense. I wonder about the defense. I wonder about the zen of Wren. I’d be more than happy to be proved wrong in my doubting, but as of now I’m still saying what I said back in February.
Amid all this sunshine, somebody’s got to be the grouch. Besides, who am I to deprive y’all of the chance to say, not for this first time and surely not for the last, “Hey, Bradley — you were wrong!”