Today, I’ve learned that the Atlanta Braves will be commemorating their 2010 playoff appearance by hanging up a banner on the Turner Field 755 Club wall. The one caveat to this gesture is the fact that the Braves made the playoffs via the Wild Card. Meaning the Braves will be joining the ranks of one of those teams, who celebrates, being second-best.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much pleased that the Braves made the playoffs in the first place, and am very much aware that making the playoffs in MLB is a far cry from the 36% of NFL teams and 50% of NBA teams to reach their respective sports’ playoffs. But there’s something inherently wrong about the fact that an organization as aged and proud as the Braves organization is now relegated to celebrating Wild Card campaigns.
It’s all a matter of perspective and opinion, but quite frankly, I’m rather against the idea of the Braves slapping up a second-place finish on the same wall with banners commemorating 14-straight division titles, five pennants, and a World Series victory. Celebrating Wild Cards is something that the Mets do, or the Brewers, Astros, Cubs, and Rockies. Organizations that are widely known for mediocrity, controversy, and/or playoff appearances once every blue moon, or were expansion teams brought in after the integration of the Wild Card.
But not the Braves, please. An organization that likes to boast integrity, class, and success, and believes that it’s an organization genuinely dedicated to winning. One that isn’t mired in economic scandals, or filled with players who feud with the media, or fighting with the parents of the mothers of their illegitimate children. That isn’t seen as Bud Selig’s pet-project team that’s often suspected of having a little bit of an edge playing for Selig’s city. Or one that relies on slogans and taglines (There’s only one Rocktoooober!).
But unfortunately, the Braves have decided to celebrate second place. And as much as I am looking forward to the impending start of the 2011 season, I really wish I didn’t find out about this news. It’s not going to deter my fandom in the least bit, but I’m not going to lie, it is, going to be somewhat of an eyesore to me, unfortunately, forever now.