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Things to Do in Atlanta When You're Dead

Mike SteffanosThursday, June 15, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

At MetsBlog, Matt Cerrone has some fun with David O'Brien's Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog about the free-falling Atlanta Braves and the growing discord in their clubhouse and among their fans. Cerrone gets a real kick out of the fan comments, where they're ripping into everyone from Larry Jones to Bobby Cox to John Schuerholz to the inevitable griping about the Time-Warner corporate ownership. It's great stuff, Check out Matt's posting and the O'Brien post to which he links.

My favorite whine of Braves fans is the ones that relate to the corporate ownership. There is a feeling that Time-Warner won't give Schuerholz the money he needs to succeed. They overlook the fact that the difference between the Braves' payroll at the start of the year and the Mets' was less than Kaz Matsui's 2006 salary. I guess you develop a sense of entitlement when things go your way for a long time, but the sniping at Cox and Schuerholz in particular is hard to defend. Have you no gratitude at all? I hope they get their wish and Bobby Cox is fired. I hear that Art Howe doesn't have a job yet.

If more than 35 years as a baseball fan has taught me one thing, it's that you need to respect that the greatest moments for your team are the heartbreakers for the other team's fans. I always try to respect that, and refrain from gloating at their pain. I make an exception for Braves fans, however; not because it all went their way for so long, but because it wasn't enough for them that their team was so good. They took a lot of enjoyment at how things always seemed to go wrong for the Mets. Even early in the year, when there were clear signs that the Mets were the better team, if you visited blogs and forums where Braves fans gathered their was this constant theme that the Mets would surely falter because they were the Mets.

For the Braves fan, the Mets and their fans didn't even matter enough to hate. There was always that dismissive contempt, that patronizing smirk. You enjoyed our pain; you got a kick out of our frustration. Like the Yankee fan in 2004, you are now receiving your payback.

Your team, which experts still picked to win the division at the beginning of the year, is pathetically wretched, and you're turning on them like the graceless, spoiled front-runners we always knew you were. How's that bile taste? How does it feel to watch your team toss away another game to a team with a payroll 1/6 of yours? The Braves will not hold their annual playoff collapse this October, because they will not be there. Now you're hurting and embarrassed, and we're loving it.

Daily News: Milledge's Blunder
Adam Rubin cites Lastings Milledge on the baserunning gaffe that earned him a reprimand from the manager:

Milledge said he peeked twice on Franco's shot - once to see if the ball was caught by Aaron Rowand, and again when it reached cutoff man Chase Utley. Milledge said he was also stalled approaching the plate because no one cleared Franco's bat.

That wasn't totally accurate. What killed Milledge on that play, in my opinion, was when he was watching to see if Bobby Abreu (not Rowand) was going to catch the ball. Abreu had it in his glove, and Milledge slowed down quite a bit anticipating the catch. There were two outs, and he needed to be busting it rather than anticipating a catch. Abreu had already butchered a similar play earlier. Milledge did peek again after rounding third, but it was his slowing down at second base that caused him to be out at the plate. Willie was on the money with that one.

Newsday: The education of Jose Reyes
Joe Gergen has a good column on the 23-year-old shortstop and leadoff hitter. Gergen quotes Reyes on his improved approach at the plate:

I'm learning. I talked a lot with Rickey [Henderson] in spring training. I look for my pitch now. With two strikes, I used to swing at pitches in the dirt. Now if I'm looking for a fastball, I'm going to wait for a fastball.

Gergen points out that Jose scores about half the time he gets on base.

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: Another strong start for Pelfrey
Brian Moritz reports that Mike Pelfrey survived some early control problems to pitch 6 strong innings in the B-Mets' 4-1 win. More good news was that Henry Owens, the young reliever that impressed everyone in camp this spring, pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save.

More Mets Stories:
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Comments (7)

Awesome headline, bro.

I had a lot of fun coming up with it. I'm not burdened by maturity, which always helps.

Well Mike, like I read today, you can count on the Mets to challenge for a WS once every 20 years. See y'all again in 2026.

I'm sorry, Brad, I'd let you borrow a crying towel, but I know that you Braves fans aren't real good at personal hygiene.

By the way, help me out here -- how many Atlanta Braves WS victories in the last 20 years? I come up with one, dude.

Braves fans....

Those of us who can remember waaay back to 1991 and even beyond saw a different sort of Braves fan. The team suddenly competing for the division after a decade of suckitude had a healthy collection of frenzied fans. My two all-time favorite bleacher signs were held by Braves fans: one, after the Braves had come from a 6-0 deficit against the Reds in 1991 to win a game while their division rivals the Dodgers were losing, was a play on the license plate that was a part of the "L.A. Law" show's opening sequence: "L.A. Lawst;" the other was seen in 1992 during the 1992 World Series, when the Braves were facing Carl Willis, who used to keep his glove right up into his face while preparing to deliver. That one read "Smell the Glove," a Spinal Tap reference (and I particularly liked it because the broadcasters who showed it didn't get the joke).

But about the time Fred McGriff hit town it seemed that all those fans got replaced with a new bunch of fans, fans who had no memory of the losing years. That's when the sense of entitlement kicked in; and, since I think of those later-day fans as not really fans of baseball, I believe that is also when the typical Braves fan lost his sense of the up-and-down nature of the game, that one team's success is another team's failure, as you mentioned.

As a transplanted southerner, I was very happy for Atlanta early in their run of winning seasons. I still respect the old warriors on their team. But it's high time their fans had a character-building experience; it is time they learned about losing.

"There was always that dismissive contempt, that patronizing smirk. You enjoyed our pain; you got a kick out of our frustration."

I never had much hatred for the Braves until July 15th, 1998. I preface the following by letting you know it was my 20th B'day and 8 days after my GF of 4 yrs dumped me. To add insult to injury, she decided she wanted to go to the game w/me. BTW, she was a Yankee fan. Anyways, if you take a look at the box score, the end result was not pretty. The Braves romped the Mets 16-2. Gallaraga hit 2 missles. It wasn't a good day. The worst of it was sitting next to a group of Atlanta fans, 3 of which were old ladies who insisted on heckling ME in my own home stadium. I never wanted to hit a person more than I wanted to hit that grey haired B?$^&! (I swear I am not a violent man) She basically pushed me over the edge on the Braves. Now when they lose I will never ever feel pity for them. In fact, being humble about being the best team in the league will not suffice. Every opportunity I get to throw it into a Braves fan face I will. The Braves should be ashamed they won 15 consecutive titles and only 1 World Series. That's embarrassing. I can only hope Glavine stays with us for one more year so that the picture of him winning his 300th in the Hall Of Fame is in a Mets uniform. And everytime a Braves fan goes to see Glav's Braves plaque, they have to look at him in his greatest accomplishment in a METS uni.

I couldn't have said it any better than you 2 guys did.

By the way, no Mets fan would have held it against you if you popped the old lady, Chris.

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