Growing up in the 80s as a Braves fan was a lot of work. Maybe not work but it wasn't something that you could ever really brag about. They were god awful. in fact, it was difficult to watch the games at times. But us Atlantans did our duty to the Braves (well, only a few of us did our duty in the 80s) and supported our team. Then the 90s rolled around and the Braves got good. The stadium filled up and the postseason was guarenteed. This is when we gain a lot of fans nationwide thanks to Ted Turner and his wonderful TBS. These are the fans I'm adressing with this post. I love that the Braves have fans across the country but you (for the most part) weren't there for the tough times and they're back again it seems from the posts I read on the Braves board.
Let's get this straight: this team is better, on paper, than any team of the 80s (I think that is obvious). Hell, without injuries, this team is better than a lot of those 90s teams too. Before you rip my head off for that statement let's think about it. Nothing, in the history of baseball, matches the rotation of Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Pitcher X and Pitcher Y. I say X and Y because those three and any of the other 4 and 5 starters we had could be the best rotation in baseball based on the strength of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. However, coming into the season with Hudson, Smoltz, Glavine, Hampton, and Jurrjens we looked really solid. We all know that this isn't what we've been working with this season so far and i'll adress that later on. Continuing, though, this team can hit. They CAN hit but sometimes they seem to forget it. With Tex, Chipper, and Mac we have probably the top three offensive players at their positions (or should be. Tex has been down this year so far). We have good young talent (I liked Escobar from his first game last year). The ceiling is really high for this team.
So, what's gone wrong? We all know that Hampton hasn't pitched in 2.5 years. If we get one win, hell one start, from him, it is more than I expect at this point. Glavine's been on the DL twice in his career . . . and both times were this year. Smoltz is done for the year and maybe career. Jo-jo's had blister problems, Buddy got run over fielding a ball, Jair slipped on some stairs. Moylan blew out his elbow. Soriano's missed something like 50 games with injuries. Gonzo was recovering from a blown elbow. That's just off the top of my head injuries to our pitching staff. Let's not forget Chippers quad/hamstring/getting-hit-in-the-f
ace-by-a-foul-ball-in-bp. Kotsay's back. Diaz's knee. Prado's finger . . . the list goes on and on.
So here we are. Still shy of the All Star Break and the Braves are 2 games under .500 and 4.5 back from the divion leading Phillies. Gonzo's back. Chipper's batting .390+. Tex is showing signs that he's coming around. The Braves have a terrible record in one run contests (which I think will even out over the course of the season). Their makeshift pitching staff is close to the top of the league in ERA. They can score runs in bunches. The injury bug has hit us rather hard this first half so we're due some luck in the second, right?
All I'm saying is, it could be worse. This could be 1985.