To Atlanta Goes the Spoils

The White Sox continued their slide; but then, Cleveland lost, fortunately for both the Red Sox and Yankees, who both also lost. In the AL, nobody gained any ground, although in the time/space continuum of a playoff chase the leaders are marginal winners when everyone loses, since time, as counted by games, slips away.

Nobody would spoil the Angels and Braves celebration on this day. Both clinched their divisions, the Braves for a record 14th straight year.

I remember when the Braves were the laughingstock of baseball. My college roommate was attempting to play out an entire APBA (a board simulation) season managing the Braves in the days of Bob “Pig” Horner. Ted Turner bought the team in 1976 to provide consistent content for his then fledgling “superstation”, transmitting via satellite to cable systems. In 1978 the Brave finished last in the NL West with a record of 69-93. In 1990, they were even worse: 65-97. Then came the 95 win season of 1991. John Smoltz was the opening day starter for the 1991 Atlanta Braves, which featured Terry Pendleton, Rafael Belliard, David Justice, Sid Bream, Ron Gant, and Deion Sanders. They, along with teammates Otis Nixon, Keith Mitchell, Lonnie Smith, Jeff Blauser, Brian Hunter, Mark Lemke, Mark Wohlers would go on to become household names through TBS broadcasts. And who could forget Danny “Uriah” Heep (or Chris Berman’s infamous monikers on those early ESPN broadcasts).

Smoltz is the last Brave from that 1991 team. Tom Glavine is wrapping up his great career with the Mets. Kent Mercker has pitched in 77 games for the Reds this year, with a respectable 3.69 ERA. Mike Stanton has thrown in 30 games for the Nationals with a 3.58 ERA. And speaking of the Nationals, cornerstone Vinny Castilla was also a member of the 1991 Braves. Everyone else is retired, or so I assume since they can’t be found via a search on the minor league rosters.

Makes one realize how short a baseball career really is.

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