Thursday, June 22, 2006

Braves in freefall

The Atlanta Braves, 30-42, are in the basement of the National League East, 14½ games behind the New York Mets. The tail-spinning Braves have lost nine games in a row. As A-Braves fans know, Atlanta entered the season having won 14 straight division titles with Bobby Cox (depicted left) filling out the lineup card. Now that streak, the best of any Big League franchise, in any pro sport, ever, seems about to end.

Last year the parent club went to its farm system to fill in some gaps with youth. Cox was called a genius for pulling it off. This year, the Triple-A Richmond Braves have posted a 26-46 mark. They are 23 games out of first place in the International League's South Division.

Those same bumbling R-Braves have lost 12 consecutive games. So, maybe there’s not much help here for Atlanta. Rainouts in Richmond may just be a blessing this season.

The Atlanta Braves, with its minor league clubs, have been up for sale for a year, or two, with no takers so far, according to the grapevine. So, as owner AOL watches its teams lose, and lose, it is also watching its property lose some of its luster.

Well, I’m a Braves fan. But I am so glad the taxpayers of the Richmond metro area have not signed on to build a brand new stadium for the R-Braves in Shockoe Bottom, or anywhere else. The Bottom was a bad idea for many reasons. Beyond that, truth be told, the Atlanta Braves franchise is hardly a stable situation right now. It’s easy to believe the team will change hands and completely reload, in a year or two. That could mean almost anything in the way of a new direction.

Well, if the Braves threaten to leave town, again, I say fine, let ‘em go. They’re in no position to dicatate to the City of Richmond what’s what. They need to get their own house in order before anything solid can be done about refurbishing The Diamond, or building a new home for the R-Braves.

Are the 2006 Atlanta Braves dead, or just in a deep sleep? If Cox (R-Braves 1967) can turn this free-falling season around, and make it 15 consecutive titles, Commissioner Bud Selig will probably have to launch an investigation to see if Cox is using some sort of illegal supernatural powers.
Illustration: F.T.Rea


Andrew Hamm said...

The A-Braves are done. New York is having a magical year, Philadelphia is incredibly dangerous if undisciplined, Washington is a very capable team of spoilers, and Florida is the best team in baseball over the past few weeks. Atlanta is old, slow, and used up.

Bobby Cox is going to need some real magic to make even a wild card run. I'm talking Gandalf the White magic here. We really shouldn't feel that bad about the Braves collapsing; it's way overdue. Braves fans should instead be pleased at the last three or four division titles, none of which they were really good enough to win.

Speaking of magic, David Ortiz (also known to John Kerry as "Manny Ortez") just put the Phillies away with a two-run homer in the bottom of the tenth. How does he manage to get the dramatic homer seemingly every other night?

F.T. Rea said...

andrew Hamm,

Thanks for commenting.

Alas, it does looks like the Braves may be out of ammo this time.

All streaks get broken, but it may be while before anybody wins 14 division title in a row.