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brave-new-world-1991 | April | 2004 Articles

2004 Archives

Brave New World (1991-?)

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I apologize for the long delay in posting. It has been a rough month, but it's over now. I had actually just typed a very long, very nice introduction to Johnny Estrada, J.D. Drew, Adam LaRoche, and Mark Derosa, including limited analysis of their performances so far. However, a surge wiped out about 500 words of potential insights and statistical comparisons, and I am a bit too distressed (and tired at 2:20 am) to attempt to retype it. However, as it was almost complete and I feel guilty for leaving this space so empty for so long, I leave you with this. --- The Atlanta Braves have played more than 1500 games while in first place for the last 13 years, including 12 division titles. 2004 has announced itself, by way of pessimistic analysts and fans, as the year for the Braves to finally lose first place. But before jumping onto that bandwagon, consider that the Braves have been projected to lose first place by countless numbers of critics every year, yet for the past 12 complete seasons they have managed to do one of two things: claw and scratch their way to the top, or simply obliterate the competition on the way. In 1991 the Atlanta Braves, who managed the league's worst record the previous year at 67-95, put together a team with the likes of Sid Bream, Otis Nixon, David Justice, and Ron Gant to inexplicably go all the way to game seven of the World Series, only to lose to the Minnesota Twins. Coincidentally, the Twins were another worst-to-first team, rising from a last-place finish in the 1990's AL West (the Yankees in the AL East were worst in MLB) to take it all in 1991. Since then, the Braves have featured some 250 players on the field -- that's about seven newcomers each year on the average! Still, after thirteen years and several hundred roster changes, one has remained: John Smoltz. In addition, the only other Braves of significance to remain with the organization are manager Bobby Cox, pitching coach Leo Mazzone, and the masterweaver behind the scenes, general manager John Schuerholz.

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