Today, February 25, is my birthday. I am 33 years old. Meaning I have been an Atlanta Braves fan for 32 years and 40 weeks or so. My parents have a picture of me at Fulton County Stadium in April 1983 in a box somewhere. Pretty sure “Chief Knock-a-homa” was holding me. Point being, I hold a legitimate claim to being a lifelong Braves fan.
My parents both grew up in “Braves Country,” so we can’t be accused of transplant fan status. We are southerners. We are Braves fans. My two most vivid memories from my childhood in Atlanta involve Greg Olson jumping into the arms of John Smoltz on the last day of the 1991 season when the Braves clinched the NL West, and when Sid slid. One of the great joys of my life is that I remember when Sid slid.
The 2016 season could be a rough one for the Braves and fans alike. Baseball Prospectus has the Braves ranked 29th in the major leagues. Sure the farm system is loaded and the future is bright, but what do we do until then? Braves fans haven’t had to deal with being godawful since the 1980s.
I have the solution: Just watch baseball, man.
There is a freedom in knowing that your team is going to lose. Hoping for a division title or a trip to the World Series is quite stressful. Every game matters. Every bad bullpen decision has the chance to affect the outcome of the season. But when your team is destined to be bad, in the last year at a ballpark with a lame-duck manager (come on, does anybody think Fredi is sticking around for the transition to SunTrust Park?), there is something nice about not caring.
I will watch a ton of games and listen on the radio because I like baseball. Once some of these prospects start getting promoted it will be very exciting to watch them develop. But winning is whatever this year. In past years I have taken losses with pain and frustration because they mattered. In 2016 the Braves losing will be no big deal. They weren’t supposed to win anyway! I can just go on with my day and look forward to better days. It’s not a matter of caring less about the team. It’s just adjusting expectations. I am stunned by the idiots in the comments section of the Atlanta Braves Facebook page who seem to have no grasp whatsoever on what it is that the front office is working towards.