2004-09-25

The Braves!


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Previously I wrote about Greg Maddux's incredible run of 15-win seasons. The Atlanta Braves have just completed an equally amazing feat in winning the NL East for the 13th straight season. OTB has great coverage here.

I've been a Braves fan since I was stationed in Charleston, SC and they were the closest MLB team back in the early 90's when this whole streak began. The amazing thing is how much this team has changed so many times over the past 13 years. Well, it's not amazing that they've changed ... in this era of free agency and MLB's inability to get a handle on salaries, every team has changed dramatically many times over. But with that kind of routine change, no team should be able to win year in and year out. And only the Braves have defied this gravity.

People give the Braves a hard time because they've only closed the deal on a World Series once in this run. As an Atlanta fan it has been frustrating to watch some of the post-season flops. But when you realize that after winning 7, 8, 9 (insert your own big number here) Division Titles in a row, every other team wouldn't even be in the post-season, it puts it all in perspective.

Granted, winning a division isn't quite what it used to be now that MLB has expanded to six divisions and allows two Wildcards into the playoffs each season. But this is well short of NFL-esque dilution. Does winning your MLB Division still mean something? Ask all the other teams that have won 13 Division Titles in a row!

And there's the point. If the Braves winning the NL East was as uneventful as folks now make it out to be each year, there'd be a handful of other teams doing the same thing. So, all the other teams that have won 13 consecutive Division Titles and want to criticize the Braves, step up now and speak your piece ... (*crickets*).

The Braves' run, and Greg Maddux's run are right up there with Cal Ripken's consecutive game streak. No one has done it before, and no one will ever do it again.

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