Friday, October 5, 2012

Braves Fans Should be Ashamed

What just happened in Atlanta during the Braves vs. Saint Louis Cardinals wild-card game was horrible. And I’m not talking about the call. Bad calls happen. They are part of sports. If we, as fans, don’t get that after dealing with three weeks of replacement referees in the NFL, then we still have something to learn. My problem is the reactions of the Braves fans to the “infield fly.”
            But first, let’s describe what happened. Eighth inning, two on, one out. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons at the plate, and St. Louis reliever Mitchell Boggs is pitching. Boggs gets Andrelton to pop up to left field where left fielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Pete Kozma race to go to catch it. As if the baseball gods intervened, Holliday and Kozma let the ball drop between them. Was it miscommunication? Did the baseball gods actually intervene to help the Braves, already down 6-3, come back and continue future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones’ final postseason? Apparently not. It seemed that Holliday and Kozma let the ball drop because they saw left-field umpire Sam Holbrook call an infield fly. The bases, which would have been loaded, went back to just having runners on first and second. Simmons was out, and chaos ensued.
            Almost immediately as fans realized what had happened, they began to throw heaps of trash, which mostly consisted of beer bottles, onto Turner Field. One of the umpires even had a bottle thrown directly at his head. This resulted in a 19-minute delay of the game while the grounds crew cleaned up the field, and many fans were no doubt escorted from their seats and arrested. I find this deplorable. I cannot believe that fans of this team, which was playing what became the last game that one of the most respected players in the history of the game, a player that spent nineteen years (the length of my entire life) with the same team will ever play. I sit here writing this and I cannot believe that the fans would put such a mark on Chipper’s final dance.
            The Atlanta Braves fans have forever put a stain on their franchise and they did it at the worst possible time. I cannot believe that they would put such a blemish on the final game of the face of their franchise. Chipper Jones is the type of player that everyone likes. He gives everything that he has every time that he laces up his cleats. He is extremely likeable, to the point that the final time that he played in most, if not every team’s stadium, they celebrated him as a hero. There is no doubt that his number will be retired and that he will be a first-ballot hall of famer. Chipper will forever be remembered as one of the top-five players in franchise history.
           The fact that the fans would bring a riot atmosphere into baseball is absolutely horrible. Leave the riots to the soccer and Vancouver Canuck fans. That is where they belong. Braves fans should be ashamed of themselves. They have put a dark stain on their franchise and especially the final time we will ever see Chipper Jones as a player. Knowing that this could have been Chipper’s final game, the fans should have treated this whole game with the utmost respect and honor that Chipper deserved. Instead, they acted like idiotic hooligans.
            The best thing that could happen is for Chipper to call out the fans. Make them realize that they basically ruined that game. The only reason that I am glad that the protest was denied is because of what the fans did tonight. Not only did they bring shame upon the Braves franchise, but also they brought shame upon the entire league. I hope that Chipper or someone else in the Braves franchise calls out the fans so that they realize what they have done. It is horrible and they should be absolutely ashamed.
            Now we move on to the Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles game and the rest of the playoffs. I cannot wait to see the Divisional series between the Cardinals and Washington Nationals (I do wish that Stephen Strasburg was pitching though), the San Francisco Giants/Cincinnati Reds series, the Oakland Athletics/Detroit Tigers series, and the New York Yankees series against whoever wins the Rangers/Orioles game. I just hope that the fans of those teams have more respect for their players, franchises, and the game than the fans in Atlanta apparently do. Let’s all hope for a great postseason! 

(NOTE: The Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 5-1 in the second wild card game. They move on to face the New York Yankees in the ALDS starting on Sunday, October 7, 2012.)

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