Mar 25, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ervin Santana (30) reacts during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves' Fans, It's Just Day 2

Mar 31, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez gives a thumbs up to his players before opening day baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 31, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez gives a thumbs up to his players before opening day baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I didn’t get to watch the opening day game for the Atlanta Braves yesterday.  As most grown-ups do, I had to work, so I set my home DVR to record the game, kept myself isolated just enough to avoid seeing any of the scores during the game, and then plopped down in front of my big screen to watch the game when I got home.  No, it wasn’t live, but since I didn’t know the score, it might as well have been.  I watched it fresh, giddy for another opening day, and pumped for what the Braves might do in the game.  The Braves didn’t win, as you well know, but no worries!

I spent the evening last night after the game, and this morning on the web, looking for reactions to the game.  As always, the Twitter folk don’t disappoint – you can always rely on a great many of them to overreact to anything and everything, and trust me when I say there was a TON of overreaction.  The season is doomed!  No way the Braves will get remotely close to their winning % from last year!  Why didn’t Frank Wren do more to get some people who can help this team?  It went on and on.

Twitter was bad enough, but then I read some articles about familiar themes, and low expectations, etc.  Every year we see this doom and gloom from Braves’s fans, and I know we’re not unique.  It’s human nature to be negative, to look at the worse-case scenarios, and to wax nostalgic about what could have been, and yes even on day 1 of a new season!

It’s true that the Braves didn’t wear the cover off the ball with hits.  It’s true that they went a big fat ZIP with runners in scoring position.  It’s true that the struggles for Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton from the 2013 season seem to be carrying over to this year, as both went hit-less.  Never mind that Julio Teheran pitched a pretty good game (and I believe will only get better), and that Ian Thomas and Gus Schlosser (as I’ve predicted) performed well in their big league debuts with the club.  Never mind any bright spots, because again in 2014 we seem to be seeing entirely too much doom and gloom, and all of that entirely too early!

Keep your collective chins up Braves’ fans!  There will be some struggles with our injury plagued pitching staff, but the positive signs we saw in spring will begin to blossom in the regular season soon enough.  Hang tough, be loyal, and root for your team no matter what.  Isn’t that the hallmark of a true fan?

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  • Benjamin Chase

    If we get 19 pitches per game seen by BJ, that would be tremendous. Heck, between the Upton brothers, they saw 44 pitches. For all the talk about how impatient the team is and hack-friendly they are, they forced the Brewers pitchers to make 137 pitches, including 38 in the last two innings. I’d take the odds on pulling out a run in the last two innings anytime you get nearly 40 pitches thrown by the opposition to get through the two innings. Like the Braves showed yesterday, fans just need patience!

    • Chris Headrick

      Well said Ben.

  • Mushy Peas

    I will forever remain an optimist when it comes to the Atlanta Braves. I’m always disturbed by those fans who continually unleash their negativity. Some of this pessimism is certainly being fed by the over-zealous analysts and their fancy numbers. People seem to forget that not everything in baseball is quantifiable. Well, here’s ALOT of what I think:
    Now that the 2014 season is underway and even though the Braves are the defending NL East champs after trouncing the Nationals last year, once again, everyone seems to be putting their money on the Nats to run away with the division. This sounds all too familiar. Most everyone points directly at the Braves’ injury stricken pitching rotation and the expected lack of productivity from B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla as the weights that will pull them down this year. Hmmmm? Also sounds strangely familiar. Dejá vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say. As I clearly recall, the Braves went through most of the year without Tim Hudson and Brandon Beachy. Kris Medlen didn’t start the 2013 season well and Mike Minor was a little skiddish in the second half; having the tendency to give up early runs before settling down. Hudson, Beachy, Medlen, Minor? That’s four out of the five starting pitchers with season altering issues. The only one left was Teheran…a rookie! Not to mention, Alex Wood, another rookie, filling in as a starter. With that said, you may as well include the fact that their prime relievers, Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters, were also lost early with season ending injuries; yet, without them, they still managed to post the lowest ERA of any bullpen in the league. Adding on to that, the multitude of days other Braves players spent on the DL. Finally, it’s worth noting that their two highest paid players both hit under .200. All this and they still managed to win 96 games; many of those against the hyped-up Washington team! Above all else, they made no excuses.I must say that I really get a kick out of the Nats local radio-tv programs. They have continually stated all winter that the Nationals would have done better had they not been hit with “so many unexpected injuries to key players”. Comparitively, the Nationals were fit and healthy all year. They were near the bottom of the list of teams whose players spent the most time on the DL. Now, with the exception of the additions of McClouth and Fister, they will pretty much be sending out the same crew. Funny how all those facts seemed to have vanished into thin air when the predictions for this year are considered. I know many may suggest that 2013 was just an aberration for both teams. I respectfully disagree. I know the Nationals very well. As the saying goes: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Well, I am fortunate enough (or not) to live in enemy territory. Technically, the Nats are my local NL team, though I’ve been a die-hard Braves fan long before they arrived in my neck of the woods. To me, they’re nothing more than the Expos in drag (No offense to drag queens). I have the opportunity to watch them play virtually everyday– that is, if I can manage to tolerate the local announcers. Alot of times I have to watch the games on mute or with headphones playing music. These announcers are the worst I’ve ever heard– and I have heard many, if not all, at one time or another! Yes, this includes Chip Caray. The Nats have old Bob Carpenter who is about as entertaining as an insurance seminar. Then there is the insufferable F.P. Santangelo. Oh my! I have another nickname for him, but it contains a couple expletives so I’ll refrain from sharing it. He is supposed to be the color-announcer. Well, they picked the wrong color with this guy. He comes off as a trash-talking, spiteful, arrogant frat-boy who is very condescending to the viewers. His banter is very repetitious, and loaded with every annoying, idiotic cliché you can think of. The worst part is that he tries to be funny, but fails miserably every time. He jabbers excessively about what (he thinks) ever player is thinking. He also talks as if every successful Nats’ pitch, swing, and play is truly masterful. I do love, however, how much he hates the Braves! All that aside, I have always kept a close eye on the Nats. As I remember it, last year, the Braves did very well against their, supposedly, impervious pitching staff– even their prized Strasburg. They also completely owned their bullpen. I’ll miss Ian Krol! The Braves didn’t seem to miss the opportunity to batter him once again during one of their last games with the Tigers this spring. Clippard is a joke. I’m not even going to bother talking about Harper. One of the Nationals’ biggest weaknesses, as I see it, is their massive ego. In addition to that, they now have a rather large chip on their shoulder. They and everyone else expected them to run away with the division last year. It was going to be a cake walk. Nothin’ to it, right? They did manage, though, to turn things around during the last month of the season. It gave everyone a glimpse of what they’re capable of but, oddly, it was only when they were virtually out of the competition for a post-season slot; hence, no pressure. Believe me, anyone affiliated with the Nats will make it a point to mention those magnificent few weeks as often as possible. I know that they don’t want a repeat of the flop that was last season. They may have chewed up some humble pie, but they didn’t swallow it– and it’s going to come back to haunt them. There is still way too much ego. Not enough heart. The Nats have a new manager in Matt Williams (whom I absolutely despised back in the day). He’s certainly not going to be one to turn down the dial in that regard. He’s most likely going to crank it up as high as it can go. ‘Natitude’ all the way! Especially now, as he is most certainly feeding off of the unfortunate injuries the Braves have suffered already, as well as the final analytical predictions and bets are being declared in his favor. More fuel for the fire….and I like it! I like it because it will make them choke once again. Call me crazy, but I also feel, strongly, that this Braves team collectively plays better when it seems the odds are stacked against them during the regular season. I see them performing better in the post-season as they mature and gain more experience with that atmosphere. Naturally, I follow the Braves very closely. I watch nearly every game and I can see that this team has alot of heart. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but I like cheese, and I can’t ignore what I see in them as an advantage. They are hard-working, resolute, and seem to take nothing for granted. When I look at the Braves and I look the Nationals, I see two polar opposites. Sure, the Nats look great on paper, but there is definately something lacking deep down at their core. I’ll continue, as always, to keep my eye on the enemy, but I’ll keep my money on the Braves.