The Final Season: Stay Healthy My Friends

Mets 3 – Braves 1; CJ: 0-4

The Braves honored Chipper Jones tonight. Great to see. I felt great for him, watching him get all those accolades. I mean, would you believe Michael Jordan not only knows who Chipper Jones is but also claims to be a fan? Again, I guess I forget I didn’t grow-up in the TBS bubble I think I did. I, along with my fellow Braves’ fans, am not the only one who thinks Chipper is pretty great.

So the ceremony and then… they lost. I had this terribly cynical thought while I was watching Chipper groundout for the third time: Now this is the Brave team I know. Huge crowd in the stands, intent audience at home, and Chipper does nothing and the Braves loose. These are the Braves I know, particularly those teams that made playoff runs back in the early aughts. I know, that’s not fair and is a terrible thought for a team I claim to be a fan of. The night was just a bit anticlimactic, to say the least.

Watching it, I also couldn’t shake this feeling of dread I have for the rest of the season. Well, I guess not the season so much as the playoffs. Well, I guess not the playoffs so much as the play-in game. It’s making me very nervous. I want them to be fully in the playoffs, but I just, well, I have this gut feeling, and it’s not a good one.

I know I’ve written before about my gut feelings and how I tend to believe they’re right (What It Feels Like for a Fan). Well, for some reason, when I think of the Braves playing like the Cardinals in that play-in game, I don’t think it will go well. I have no trepidation about this last series of the season at home. They’ll do fine. Probably win two out of three. Also no concern with the last road series in Pittsburgh. But that could just be because these series don’t matter. I mean, let’s face it. They’re not going to catch the Nationals for the division.

But I had a feeling, when I first heard about this play-in game that the Braves would be in it and that it would be their undoing. Maybe that’s why I was opposed to it from the beginning. To quote Chipper, it’s stupid. The way MLB crammed it into the season without even making it a proper series. Stupid.

I just have a feeling. Again, I could be completely wrong, but I’m nervous for them to face whoever, be it the Cardinals or some other team. And, no, I don’t see them playing the Cardinals as a chance for poetic justice. Why? Well, as I’m outlining in this, I don’t think they’re going to beat them. So now they get the chance to get knocked out of the playoffs basically by the Cardinals two years in a row. That will officially make them a thorn in the Braves’ side.

I could see Atlanta losing that game. And, to me, it sucks that it’s just a matter of one game to keep them relevant. And my gut tells me they won’t win it, and that will break my heart. Not for myself, but mostly for Chipper. Because he wants it badly for the team, and they want it badly for him. And they’ll get close, but I don’t think they’ll quite get it together. But here’s hoping my gut is wrong. It has been known to be so.

But my gut is also telling me that the winner of the Series will come out of the AL, and I’m thinking either the Yankees or the Rangers, whichever wins the ALCS. (That’s called cheating predicting like that.) Even with the Yankees struggling to hold off the Orioles right not, it’s them and the Rangers world, while the rest of MLB is just playing along.

Both teams are very good, and you know that cheesy expression that “steel sharpens steel?” (haha – side note, I just looked that up to see if I was getting that expression right – it’s from the Bible. So much for cheesy.) I think the more those two break themselves against each other, the tougher they get.

Anyway, I said long ago I would just enjoy Atlanta being relevant in Chipper’s last season. And I have tried to. It was a blast watching them win. Good luck, Atlanta, in your, and MLB’s, first ever play-in game. May you win it and get yourselves in the playoffs outright. If not, it’s been fun. Thanks for playing. Thanks for being relevant. I’ve enjoyed it once again. Brought back a lot of memories.