There are fewer than sixty games left in the season. The Atlanta Braves are only 7 ½ games out of first place. The Braves bats are playing at either full volume or dead silence like a scary ride at six flags. The pitching staff is Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Bullpen. With the second half trade deadline looming the only move the Braves front office has made thus far is the acquisition of a 35 year old journey man pitcher with 7.9 ERA and questionable emotional stability. If I were one of those people who believed that actions speak louder than words I would have to surmise that the Atlanta Braves organization has folded its tent for the summer and gone home. What’s a fan to do? As a fan I don’t care that the team loses as long as they go down swinging. I am naive enough to believe that the goal of each professional sports franchise at the beginning of each season is to fight as hard as they can for the entire season. If they stop we–as fans–should stop. Stop looking, stop going and stop caring. It’s like tuff love for sports teams. I want to see more baseball but I’ll probably be more specific about which games I choose for the rest of the year. The Cubs are doing well and coming to town in August. I’ll pay some bucks to watch them. Why, heck…the Cubs just picked up a 26 year old hurler with a 2.10 ERA, 122 strike outs and a 5-2 mid-season record. If I were one of those people who believed that actions speak louder than words I would have to surmise that the Chicago Cubs organization has added more sleeping bags to their tent and plan to hang out for a spell.
I hear Braves fans who claim to be “true fans” complain about fans they refer to as “fair weather fans” all the time. The Braves as an organization are doing just fine at the box office because of who? Because of us; all of us—those who leave after seven innings and those who stay to the bitter end. We people the stadium. We buy the tickets. We buy the jerseys at 75.00 to 100.00 dollars a pop bearing the names of players who may or may not be with this organization next season. You want us to continue supporting this organization? Prove to us that you are trying your best to win each season. How? Actions baby, actions. The team that this organization is currently fielding is disorganized and flat as a pancake. When we as fans see Bobby Cox send Royce Ring to the mound in a must win situation against the Phillies with the bases loaded it is like a swift punch to the stomach. When we see Manny Acosta give up two runs to allow the Marlins to tie a game in the ninth while we as loyal fans are roasting away under an Africa-hot mid June Atlanta sun and are forced to watch in abject horror as Bobby leaves Manny in to give up yet another two runs to lose that game…well…need I say more? When we as fans see front office actions that contradict the organization’s public rhetoric, we feel its time for a reassessment of the relationship. We need some couples counseling or we need to start seeing other teams.
Braves, I speak out of frustration…of course we won’t go, yet, but we do want you to work harder. Take us out to dinner. Buy us some new players and maybe a new manager, maybe even some flowers. Bring back some of those talented young players we saw earlier this season. If you really love us, you’ll prove it.