Like most of you, I've been a Braves fan as long as I can remember. I'm not sure if I actually remember the 1991 World Series (I was only 4), but my memory has definitely produced images of the key plays during those games (Hrbek pulling off Gant, Puckett at the wall...well, whose memory hasn't engraved that image?). But since I can remember, I haven't had a reason to stop being a fan. The Braves were always on TBS, they were always winning, and they had a number of players I really liked, particularly Justice and Maddux.
My brothers always tease me that I cried when the Braves' replacement players lost in spring training in 1995, but I'm fairly sure it was one or the other, not both. I vividly remember watching the last out of the 1997 World Series, and still cherish the World Series plaque my parents gave me for Christmas. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many people I corrected when they were mistaken about how many consecutive Division titles the Braves have had, and it's generally been a great ride.
But it's hard to be a fan of a team nobody likes. A team that was once vilified because of their league-high payroll even though they've recently been operating only slightly above average. Why not the Twins?, they say. People often ask me why I am a Braves fan and I simply tell them "I've been a fan since as long as I can remember and they haven't given me a reason to stop." That seems to shut them up for at least a little bit.
And I guess the reason I posted this right now is because it seems like a lot of people are frustrated with the Braves. They were recently up 6.5 games, and any minute it will be down to 2.5. They can't hit with the bases loaded as pagnocis so eloquently detailed, and a few of their players are below replacement.
You can't forget that every team goes through slumps. The Braves were on a 3 month heater and it just couldn't go on forever. Still, they have the best run differential in the Division, by far the most depth, and several guys in the minors (particularly pitchers) who are poised to step up. Heyward is back on his superstar trajectory and we will have potentially four top 30 prospects come the annual reports.
So don't get discouraged. I've managed to remain a fan despite having no company. Through these recent years with disappointing performance and personnel decisions I've known that they'll rebound. They are a smart organization with incredible scouting and player development and they will be contending for the foreseeable future; There is really not much doubt about that.
It's a rough spell, but we'll weather it. Take everything in this season, because when it's over, you'll wish you could relive it.