So the Braves had just come off a week in which they were swept by the Phillies, swept by the Cardinals, and saw their seemingly insurmountable Wild Card lead crumble down to an uneasy 4.5 games. Back home from the brutal road trip, the Braves kicked off a three-game series against the lowly Florida Marlins.
I was happy to head down to Turner Field for the series opener on Monday- its my duty as a fan to stand by my team through thick and thin, to be in the stands and give my boys the support they need to step up and win a big game. I swear I was surrounded by no more than 10,000 people. For a stadium that holds over 50,000, it not only looked empty – it felt empty. There was no energy. Nothing for the players to feed off of. If I’m Brian McCann coming up with the bases loaded, how can I be expected to get fired up if I can hear someone coughing in the upper deck?
Naturally I’m exaggerating, the paid attendance was actually much higher – 17,216. And there was energy in the stands – when the cameramen focused on the teenager outing in left field.
Look, this is nothing new in Atlanta. This isn’t a town that comes out in droves to see the Braves when we’re on a winning streak, let alone when we’ve lost 7 of 9. But for a town that does in fact pack the house for the playoffs, how come no one wants to help their team reach that goal? Why do we deserve to have a team in the playoffs if we won’t support them during the season?
Did the Bobby Cox era, the 14 straight division titles, spoil us so much so that we’re bored unless its the postseason? Possibly. But after seeing the city’s hockey team skipping town this year, shouldn’t more Atlanta sports fans be more aware of what can happen when a city stops caring about its team? I am troubled. Hopefully some other Atlantans are too.