The 1993 Atlanta Braves
Of all the Atlanta Braves teams to ever take the field, this one was my favorite.
But it was overdone.
I'm of the belief that you don't have to spend the most money to produce a winner.
There comes a point when everybody who used to hate the Braves became fans.
At a time when they were 0-2 in the World Series, you'd expect them to get laughed at.
But America liked Greg Maddux...and had penis-envy when it came to San Diego Padres first baseman/home run cannon Fred McGriff.
Once they heard the Braves general manager John Sherholz had picked these two guys up following the Toronto loss, the same "paradigm" that would call the Braves losers would simply not apply.
Nobody gave a damn about John Smoltz, Tom Glavine or Steve Avery expect me and the city of Atlanta between 1990-1992.
They did in 1993.
The Atlanta Braves were losing back to back championships during a very touchy time to do so. And by the time you finish viewing this montage to the song "Slip Kid" by the Who in your mind...you'll see why...
January, 1991 -- In the NFL, Buffalo Bills Scott Norwood misses a last second field goal, Buffalo now 0-1 in the Superbowl.
October, 1991 -- The Braves lose the World Series. Atlanta now 0-1 in the World Series.
January, 1992 -- The Bills lose their second straight Superbowl to the Redskins. 0-2 in the Superbowl.
April, 1992 -- The Michigan "Fab Five" lose to Christian Laettner and Grant Hill's Duke Blue Devils in the college basketball time game -- Michigan 0-1 in the title game
October, 1992 -- The Braves lose their second World Series in a row, this time to the Blue Jays. Atlanta now 0-2 in the World Series.
January, 1993 -- The Bills lose to the Cowboys 52-14, Buffalo is now 0-3 in the Superbowl.
April, 1993 -- The Michigan basketball team's Chris Webber calls a time out when they didn't have any (but did get away with an obvious travel call before that). At any rate, North Carolina shoots the technical and gets the ball back, wins the game, and for anyone who is a Bills, Braves and Fab Five fan (every American kid in the early 90s with taste), their teams were now a combined...and incredible...0-7 in the title game in not even 2 and a half years.
And so now it was April, 1993, and coincidentally, here come the Atlanta Braves ready to suit up and try to keep from losing a third freaking World Series in Major League Baseball.
1993 was baseball's last good year.
Michael Jordan will retire on the eve of this season's playoffs in October...and baseball will crap itself into a strike, a wildcard team, a division playoff series, and thus a scenario where EIGHT TEAMS rather then four make the playoffs. No more September fun. I mean what the f-ck did one have to do in order to NOT make the playoffs now? Why don't you just make it so every f-cking team makes the playoffs?
Greed is good. Not great.
September baseball was once better then October baseball.
The kids now will have no choice but to go right to the sex and drugs. You parents wonder why this happens? September is no longer for patiently scouting and analyzing. It's for f-cking. Because your sons no longer give the kind of crap about baseball you and every generation of father before you has come to expect.
So the Braves in 1993 will have everything but a bullpen. It was the one area on the Braves that Sherholz couldn't fix. He literally got them EVERYTHING HE COULD. Yet just because you're a manager who is nice to your team doesn't mean the guys you get prove to be worth their while. As such, the 1993 Braves are like a big time production company. A major network. A mix of great ideas and bad ideas, all popular, all expensive, all coming from the mind of a man with common sense...
There's Bobby Cox, who's been the manager thus far for almost three decades and just retired last year, who gets alot of crap particularly in this era of the early 90s because of his "hands-off" approach when it comes to everything. That's just a bunch of crap. What they were essentially getting at was that he thinks he's the South's Phil Jackson...which would be fine if he didn't have so many "prima donnas".
The Braves were not prima donnas. But it was true that Bobby Cox would trust these guys to a fault.
Bobby had a problem when it came to remembering the mathematical concept of "rotation".
On more then one occasion, I've seen him lose the game for the Atlanta Braves because he comes out twice to talk to a pitcher which according to the rule books leads to the pitcher having to come out of the game, something always unknownst to Bobby judging by the fact that there's never anyone in the bullpen AT ALL when this happens.
It is this same mind that would make way for a guy like Maddux to even join them, for the three-man rotation of Avery, Glavine and Smoltz means that their best pitcher will get to start three games in a best-of-seven playoff series.
So in the "hiring managers" department -- Sherholtz gets a B.
Then there's their hitters, who over time have let everyone the f-ck down. It's not just the pitcher's fault that they keep ending up in situations where last inning heroics are so necessary. They start out with an A- but they end up with a D.
Next the starting pitchers -- they get an A. Because everything bad that happens to Atlanta always always, since 1990 and until about 2006, happens AFTER the seventh inning.
Television -- they're on TBS for God's sake. You can see them in any city in the country with BASIC CABLE. Like the Cubs on WGN and the Mets on WWOR and the Yankees on YES. For this, Ted Turner, you get an A.
Stadium -- They got a new stadium -- Turner Field -- but back then, this was the Boston Garden of baseball. The fans would give this broken down shit hole an F, but I like it for this very reason. Fulton County Stadium? You get an A.
But there was something about the Braves that will in fact get an A+ --
Their farm leagues.
The kitchen of the restaurant that is their major league Braves.
For it is in these cabinet leagues that the Braves were at this time producing Javier Lopez, Ryan Klesko, Chipper Jones, Jermaine Dye, and Andruw Jones.
So meanwhile the Braves have only two rivals in 1993 -- the Blue Jays who went and got Paul Monitor and Rickey Henderson -- and the San Francisco Giants, who would acquire Barry Bonds from the Cabrera-beaten, curse-ridden 92 Pirates.
San Francisco baseball was now thoroughly resurrected with an outfield of Bonds and a handful of fast gifted rookies including that unbeatable little a-sshole Solomon Torres to compliment an infield consisting of Matt Williams at third base, Robbie Thompson at second, Will Clark at first, and Kurt Manwaring as the catcher.
They would go up 9 1/2 games on the Braves in June and keep it straight through the most annoying July ever.
Then it was August 8th. Still 9 1/2 games out...but the Braves have 7 games against them coming up...
First there's four in San Francisco...
Braves kill their pitchers. Just like that, we take all four. 5 1/2 out.
We play them in Atlanta and take two out of three. 4 1/2 out.
We continue on throughout mid-August and September, until finally it's October 2nd and the Braves have gone an unbelievable 51-14 in order to DRAW EVEN WITH SAN FRANCISCO!!!
Going into the final three games of the season, their records through 159 games looked like this...
Atlanta Braves 101-58
San Francisco Giants 101-58
The Giants have to go to Los Angeles where the Dodgers fans for some reason gave a crap.
The Giants win the first two in L.A., as does Atlanta win their first two against Houston.
Then on the final day, L.A. beats the Giants as the Braves are tied in the sixth inning.
The Braves celebrate before the game is even decided.
YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! It took 104 wins to beat Barry Bonds this year. Last year, it only took a Francisco Cabrera hit and the inning of a lifetime.
And so the Braves were America's darlings, your three time defending National League West Champions, and their sweetest victory yet.
1993 National League Championship Series
Let me just say this -- Nike and Gatorade misled people.
Michael Jordan was awesome. Granted.
Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and Smoltz together. Awesome. Granted.
Chicks dig the long ball. Great commercial with Heather Locklear. "Hey any of you guys seen Mark (McGuire)?"
The problem was the world champion Chicago Bulls, much like these defending National League Champion Braves, each had rivals lurking in the distance.
People thought that just because the Lakers and Celtics were broken up, that meant that Danny Ainge wasn't going to sneak up on them in the form of Portland and Phoenix and give the Bulls a dogfight.
And in baseball in 1993, people assumed that just because the 1986 New York Mets only existed in memories, that their remnants weren't still around waiting to latch onto new teams and come at the incumbant favorite with hustle, smarts and EXPERIENCE.
The sparkplug of the cokehead Mets that we all loved and adored as children...was now the star of stars of the 1993 National League East Champs from Philadelphia. The Phillies had a bunch of fat dudes who chewed tobacco and had potbellies...except for a guy, their catcher Darren Daulton, who every woman wanted to f-ck. It was like the Jackass crew. They all complain that only Johnny Knoxville gets ladies. Knoxville was Daulton.
Hi. I'm Darren Daulton...and this is "Beat Atlanta In The Playoffs".
Game 1 was in Philadelphia because homefield advantage for every playoff series in baseball would alternate back and forth year after year. Last year, the N.L. West team got to start at home and thus have 4 of 7 at home, so now it was the East team that got it.
And someone on the Phillies would kick things off by striking out the first five Atlanta batters cold.
Who is this annoying little bastard? Oh...a young Curt Schilling. That's why everyone knew him BEFORE the bloody sock.
So as Braves fans all over America tried to wrap their heads around what in the hell was going on when a team that won 104 games now was even doing on the road to start a playoff series let alone losing it, Philadelphia had their finest hour.
The Phillies were led 4-3 in the ninth. Then Philly second baseman Kim Batiste threw the ball past Stocker the shortstop as they tried to do a double play on a pair of Braves runners who got to send the guy on third home to tie the game.
But before the fans could throw crap at their house, Kim Batiste would come up with the game winning RBI in the bottom half of the same inning where he committed that error.
As CBS commentator Sean McDonough said "Kim Batiste...goes from goat to hero in a matter of minutes!"
PHILLIES LEAD SERIES 1-0
But in Game 2, Fred McGriff hit a towering 540 homerun that the Phillies outfielders just stood and watched leave the park, not even bothering to jog to the wall to meet it.
F-ck you Philadelphia!
SERIES TIED 1-1
Game 3 in Atlanta was back in our favor. We trailed 1-0 until the sixth and then scored about seven runs as the fans clapped.
BRAVES LEAD 2-1
Then the referees got involved.
SERIES TIED 2-2 on a nonsense 2-1 Phillies victory where
a) Braves hitters stood at the plate dodging stupid Mitch Williams' attempts to behead them, and getting CALLED FOR A STRIKE for not swinging.
b) The Braves waiting patiently on interior, controversial pitches that could go either way -- and getting them ZERO PERCENT OF THE TIME.
c) The Phillies getting everything.
d) The Braves fouling off all the good pitches for an hour until hitting into inning-ending double plays, leaving almost twelve guys on base.
And so Game 5, and it appeared that it was nothing but two stupid flukes that Philadelphia managed to get because the Braves didn't feel like trying.
The entire series was like this. The Braves never took the Phillies seriously, and there was never a point when they assumed that an early lead in even the latest games mattered.
They go down 3-0 in Monday's Game 5, and into the ninth.
They get another rally that turns into ANOTHER MIRACLE FRANCISCO CABRERA SINGLE in order to tie it at three.
And so we go into the 10th, and figure it's only a matter of time before the Braves come back up and win.
The Phillies are facing the Braves' Mark Wohlers who has been reliable.
THWACK!!!!....oh that's one's going to deep center field...Nixon going back...AT THE WALL...HOMERUN LENNY DYKSTRA!!!!
PHILLIES LEAD SERIES 3-2.
But nobody's panicking. Because nobody takes Philly seriously.
Especially now that Greg Maddux is pitching.
Tom Glavine's gonna have Game 7.
Even knowing that the Phillies win this stupid Game 6, I still don't believe Maddux can lose to them.
Daulton puts the Phillies up 2-0 on a great right-field hit that scuttles like a golfball on a tightrope where the line between fair and foul sits. The fans are flipping out and John Kruk runs home.
Screw you Philadelphia.
PHILLIES WIN THE PENNANT (Their first in 10 years)
It would be a classic World Series between Toronto and Philadelphia, and I'll talk about Game 4 later.
Instead here's a brief recap of what has happened since the Atlanta Braves.
During the winter of 1993, Ron Gant got in a motorcycle accident and broke his leg, so our mighty young gun was now deemed not worth the huge contract the Braves wanted to sign him to, and he went off to play for Baltimore and Oakland.
In 1994, they had their best record ever through 100 games, but then the baseball strike happened, the season ended, and the playoffs were cancelled.
In 1995, the Braves won the World Series with these new cats of Chipper Jones and Javier Lopez. Only David Justice and Mark Lemke remained from that heart of the order that once had Gant and Pendleton.
In 1996, the Braves went up 2-0 in Yankee Stadium but then lost because Jim Leyritz tied Game 4 in Atlanta on a three run homer after they were down 6-1 in the eighth, and the momentum swung the other way for good. A 22-year old rookie named Derek Jeter hit a solo homerun in Game 5, and Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden handled Atlanta in Game 6. Screw you Yankees.
In 1997, Jim Leyland, manager of the 92 Pirates, got his revenge as the skipper of the 97 Florida Marlins, beating the Braves in the NLCS. In Atlanta.
In 1998, we lost in the NLCS to San Diego. In San Diego.
In 1999, the Braves got to the World Series without David Justice who was now on their opponents -- the New York Yankees. We got swept.
In 2000, the Braves lost to the Mets in the NLCS.
In 2001, the Braves lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS.
In 2002, the Braves lost to San Francisco and Barry Bonds in the divisional playoff.
In 2003, the Braves lost to Kerry Wood and the Cubs, who went on to have that Bartman incident in the next round.
In 2004, the Braves lost to the St Louis Cardinals of young Albert Pujols.
In 2005, I think it was the Astros. I was actually paying attention to the White Sox. They're never here, and THEY won it all.
And then 2006 was the last time until just recently
Last year they returned to the playoffs against San Francisco but lost because poor Brooks Conrad had THREE ERRORS IN ONE GAME. The Braves went from a surefire series tie to losing altogether. He never screws up at all.