This is a rarity for me as a writer. I never write my blog entries the night before I post them. Yet here I am at 12:20 at night sitting in front of my computer screen writing an article for Chop Talk. It’s a Saturday night and I can’t even think about anything else because of the Braves loss tonight. The point of my articles are to always try and put a positive spin on things when it comes to Braves baseball. You can go anywhere on the internet and read negative articles about everything from sports to politics. But what good does that really do us? When has being negative ever helped any situation?
One of the best quotes I’ve ever read was this: “Life is not about what happens to you but how you react to it”. Your reaction can make bad situation worse or it can make it better. At the end of the day this is just sports and we all know that. But at the same time it’s a passion of ours. We are die hard Atlanta Braves fans and we want what’s best for our team and we get frustrated when things don’t go the way we had hoped.
This is when the team needs us the most. This is when fans need to stand up in adversity and show that they will support their team through thick and thin. I’m sure none of my readers feel this way but I’ve been on several Braves sites tonight and saw tons of comments referencing the Braves missing the playoffs. Saying that this was going to be a horrible choke from the Atlanta Braves. I realize that the Wild Card lead has slipped from 8.5 games down to 5.5 games and I’m well aware of the fact that the Braves aren’t playing great baseball right now.
But at the end of the day they’re 5.5 games up in the Wild Card race with a little over 2 weeks to go in the season. That’s really not a horrible spot to be in. If someone told us that the Braves would be where they are today back in April we all would have been thrilled. Look at all the teams that are completely out of it, which by now is the vast majority of both leagues. Teams like the Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Dodgers, Padres, Cubs, Blue Jays, etc are all out of it. So many other teams are as well.
And it’s not like we’re the only team that’s getting a scare right now. I’m sure Texas isn’t too happy with their lead in the A.L West which has almost completely evaporated. Or how about the big bad Red Sox who hold a smaller Wild Card lead then the Braves. I’m sure that they aren’t feeling so great about themselves either. Were not the only team that’s experiencing a late season slide is all I’m saying.
The Braves have one more game against the Cardinals. Tim Hudson is pitching and right now he’s probably the best guy we have so I’m feeling fairly confident. If we can win tomorrow then we leave St. Louis with a 6.5 game lead in the Wild Card and will only have 15 games left to play. That’s not such a bad deal. It would basically come down to us playing .500 baseball the rest of the way.
The Braves will be opposed by the Marlins and Mets this week, both series will be played at home. I’m sure this team is dying to get back to Atlanta so they can settle in and start playing good baseball again. I’ll say the Braves win 4 of 6 from the Marlins and Mets. Who could argue with that prediction?
The Cardinals will make a trip to Philadelphia at the end of this week for a 4 game set. That could potentially be a 4 game sweep but I’ll predict that Philadelphia will take 3 of 4 which would still help the Braves tremendously. So in that respect I think were in decent shape. We will all have to swallow our pride and root for the Phillies next weekend as it’s in the best interest of the club.
Baseball is a tough game. It’s so different then all the other sports because of the length of the season. In the first half the Braves pitching was so dominant and that almost seems like a different year to me. Jurrjens is hurt and so is Hanson. Lowe is horrible and that leaves a ton of pressure on Tim Hudson to carry this staff. The young guys have pitched well though.
Dan Uggla has turned his season around. Chipper is swinging the bat well. Freeman has emerged into a great player. So many things happen during the course of 162 games. And the thought of having to go through all that and still miss the playoffs is the worst feeling in the world. Baseball fans cheer their team on and get wrapped up in the games EVERY SINGLE night. Football fans deal with it once a week, there’s a huge difference.
I’m going to go on record and say that I firmly believe that the Braves will still make the post season. It’s not a guarantee and I know if they don’t I will be mocked for the entire off season but I’ll take that chance. Baseball is a funny game but the Braves just need to get back into the swing of things. Right now they’re playing a little too loose and their focus just doesn’t seem to be there. I think with the lead at only 5.5 games it will help wake them up a little bit.
Let’s get through tomorrow Braves fans and then head back home. This will all be a decent memory in a few days. Tomorrow’s game does have big implications. It’s the difference between a 3 game sweep and the Cardinals only gaining 1 game in the standings. Hudson needs to come up big and I think he will.
We’ll get through this. I’m just as frustrated as you guys are but deep down I believe things will turn out alright. This team has over come adversity this entire season. This is no different.
By: Bob McVinua