Monday, September 02, 2013

This Is Why We Chop

Retired/future hall of famer Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves once said, ~I think the legacy is what it is. We've won 14 straight division titles. We know how special that is. We're going to keep doing our thing whether we win or lose the post season. It's not going to change the fact that we've won 14 straight division titles.~ Without a doubt, the Atlanta Braves have come a long way from being considered a mediocre afterthought in the late 80's to an absolute strong contender now to the point where they've made a huge impact, especially in the 90's. For it's most definitely a memorable situation indeed to any die hard fan who has been through their ups and downs with the team so much so loyal fans such as myself consider ourselves part of the prolific baseball team.

As I said before, there are certainly countless memories to choose from concerning the early history of the Bravos in the 90's. Thinking about it, one memory that tends to stick out is the great rivalry established with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot in the division when it was merely the east and west during that particular era. In any case, it was considered a David vs. Goliath type battle between the two teams as the Braves truly fought their way from being known as the worst team in baseball to finding themselves in first place. True, clutch hitting played a role in their rising success; but what made such a significant impact at the time was the pitching staff. Glavine, Maddux, Avery, Smoltz, and Merker along with a revolving door of closers gradually elevated them to premier pinnacle status.

Without a doubt, every fan of the Braves knows what I'm saying when I mention the words Sid Slide. Essentially, it's a memory that has been deeply ingrained not only in our minds, but hearts as well. The setting was the bottom of the 9th at 92' NLCS in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium against the Pirates. Stan Belinda on the mound, Francisco Cabrera at the plate, and a not so swift footed Sid Bream representing the winning run on second base. It's a play that would live in utter infamy in a good way of course with the late Skip Carey calling the play. When it was all said and done, Sid Bream would be forever encapsulated as the guy who chugged his way with full force and inevitably slid his team to the World Series against the Minnesota Twins. Let me tell you something, I was so emotionally invested in the game on that night, I couldn't watch and went to bed only to find out later they would go to the World Series.

Let me ask you this question to my fellow Braves fans, how did you react/feel when they finally won their first World Series in 95'. Personally speaking, I went through a mixture of emotions but mostly happiness as I literally jumped off my couch as the final out was caught letting the celebration begin. Glavine was in the zone as he pitched a superb game with David Justice providing the lone home run and the defensive play of the night went to Javy Lopez throwing out an Indian player at first base. Of course, I had a smile the following day as I watched Sportscenter repeatedly just watch and listen to the our guys celebrate a deserving title knowing they've fell short in the past.

In retrospect, there have been other memories that still to this day stick with any Braves fan. The combined no hitter against the San Diego Padres by Merker, Wohlers, and Pena. Who can never forget the outstanding catch by Otis Nixon to the right center field wall hit by Pirate's player Andy Van Slyke to preserve the 13 game winning streak in 92'. Of course, the debut of Chipper Jones in 93' and sadly his goodbye season in 2012. Ultimately, the Braves today are on the verge of clinching their division with ease and hopefully a World Series visit once again and a newly built Waffle House in Turner Stadium is partly responsible for that. In the end, I say to my fellow Braves fans this is why we chop for a team who never quits till the end, which is why they have as of now 22 comeback walk off wins under their belt.

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