Welcome to the new year!
I have been watching/following the Braves for 30 years or so (after 20 I lost count) I ostensibly started watching when cable television became available in my city, TBS was a wonderfull thing. Initially I was enamored of Dale murphy (a hometown hero) I soon became enthralled by Raphael Ramireze's hair, and Bob Horners, ungainly beer belly lookin', non-baseballesque prowess. At that early stage in my life I did not really understand the things it would take for a baseball team to be great. In the intervening years between then and now, I have learned. Time and change are the biggest factors (well that and a starting rotation full of future Cy young winners, and hall of famers)
I find it hard to believe that this will be the rebound year for the Braves, we are pinning our hopes on a rotation of veterans, there really is no one that should be a 15-20 game winner in this mix, maybe Mr. Hudson, Smoltzie is always going to be good, just how much support will he get though?
I do find some enjoyment in the fact that we have become a young team, I find myself reminded of when we started bringing up young phenoms in the 80's like one Larry "chipper" Jones, we are beginning to rebuild through the organization, where for so long we have had the players and simply brought in (via free agency) the extra building blocks to finish the puzzle. Some similarities to keep in mind. Chipper is now a grizzled veteren, when he was the next big thing, whom was at 3rd base? Terry Pedleton of course, now we have young Yunel Escobar comming through, much less heralded, but nonetheless it strikes me in much the same way. What happened when Chipper came up? we had to wait several years for our "almost a dynasty" thing to happen. As much as I love the braves, and I will watch at least 85 games this year (I will sneak a few in on line while at work) we are trying to replace Andrew with Kotsay and???? and expecting Matt Diaz to pick up the differance is not worthy of comment, even though the guy is amazing with a bat, he will hit .325 and have 12 homers, and 67 RBI's at a guess, and even hittin .222 Andrew would account for more production then that by a long shot.
Last but not least, Big Tex, this guy is awesome, he has "flashy" Mcgriff written all over him, but, will we pay for him?, he is going to command $150 million at least, I hope we do, but the days of Ted Turners limitless pockets are over. Our only hope is that he falls for the charms of good old Bobby Cox, and the rest of the boys, if we can hold on to him, we are good in three years, if we switch to a young buck (or even god forbid, Thorman) we may have a long winter of "the boys of summer" to wait out, But I will be there, will you????