Not every team gets a Hollywood ending in life—in sports, like life, things rarely work out the way we envision. Such is the case for the 2011 Atlanta Braves season. Watching the whole thing unfold, I never thought it would end-up like this; no playoffs. I knew in the back of my mind they were going to pull it out. Sure, they’d probably lose in the NLDS, but it was a playoff berth and at least they’d have a shot.
I don’t need to say how wrong I was. I don’t need to get into stats, or how big of a lead they had on what day. I don’t need to get in to who’s at fault or who’s to blame, because I really don’t care. The bottom line is it happened. Now, we deal with it. Bad to worse.
It’s hard to describe how I feel at this exact moment. I’m not mad. I’m not depressed. The best way to describe my feeling is to have you picture yourself walking into a room with your parents having sex, then you realize—hey, that’s not my dad!
I won’t get too down though. Baseball is supposed to be fun. When taken too seriously (like I have in the past, trust me) it takes most or all of the fun out of it and if it’s not fun, what the point? I’m not 10 years old anymore. I don’t wake up, put on my cap and go outside and wait for another kid so we can start a pick up ball game. Now, I wake up and try not to bet too pissed off that I’m actually awake, shower and go to work.
One of the only things that gets me through the day (during the summer) is that I know the Braves are going to play that night. I just need to get through eight hours of people grumbling at me and I’ll be listening to Chip and Joe call a Braves game. I can appreciate baseball for what it is—a break from real life. Baseball is the National Pastime and we need to treat it like that. Watching baseball is a luxury, not a job.
Now that the season is over, I can look back and say it was a pretty damn good year for the Braves. We saw the best rookie season ever for a closer. Craig Kimbrel is the NL Rookie of the Year and his teammate Freddie Freeman is a close runner up. No one else is close to them. We watched in amazement as Dan Uggla carried the Braves for two months, while putting an end to all the naysayers who got on him for his dreadful start. We watched Jair Jurrjens begin the season as the best pitcher in the league and got a good look (more than we should have) at the Braves ‘Fab Four’ pitchers in action.
Randall Delgado is the real deal. He pitched phenomenal down the stretch and made one of the most important starts of the year, though the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Mike Minor showed why every team at the trade deadline wanted him and why Frank Wren wouldn’t move him for anyone. Arodys Vizcaino was throwing gas out of the bullpen and has a devastating breaking-ball. We probably saw the least out of Julio Teheran than the others, yet he is their #1 guy and deservedly so. He went 15-3 2.55 ERA 122 K at AAA Gwinnett and was named pitcher of the year. He is going to be a top of the rotation guy for the Braves very soon.
As I get older life goes by faster and faster. Each season seems to go by in the blink of an eye—and it’s not going to get any better. Time is my enemy. It seems like the season started last week. I swear I was just listening to Spring Training games on my iPhone, getting more and more excited as the snow melted and hoping this year would be “the year.” The next thing I knew it was the All-Star break and now it’s nearly October and college football is in full swing.
There is an old saying that everything good eventually comes to an end. A great Braves season is no different. It was a great ride and I don’t regret being a die-hard fan for one moment. I had a great time watching this year, and 2012 should bring more of the same. It will mostly likely be the last season we watch Chipper Jones play. Here’s to the Hollywood ending for #10 that I ‘know” will happen…
My name is Matt and I am a Braves fanatic.