COMMENTARY | The 2013 season is over for the Atlanta Braves, but the MLB playoffs will still continue without them.
After the appropriate amount of postseason mourning has subsided, it is only natural for baseball fans to adopt another club to pull for the rest of the way.
Drop a comment down below and voice your opinion on the team Braves fans should be rooting for in the postseason.
So, do Atlanta fans pull for the team that knocked them out of the 2013 playoffs, or the team that sent them home in 2012?
There are no former Braves to root for in this series. The closest thing to an ex-Atlanta player is Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright. Unfortunately, this may still be a sore subject for fans.
Wainwright was a hot up-and-coming pitcher in the Atlanta farm system until the Braves traded him to St. Louis in 2003 for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. Add in the fact that formerly despised division rival Carlos Beltran suits up for the Redbirds and it becomes clear that the Cards will be getting no support from Atlanta fans in this one.
The wounds created by losing to the Dodges in the NLDS are still too raw to make rooting for L.A. a possibility, either. The Dodgers' $200 million payroll has made them the New York Yankees of the National League, who some could argue have essentially tried buying a World Series title this season.
The only real option for Atlanta fans in the NLCS is to pull for the team buses of both clubs to get lost on the way to the stadium, only to lose control and hop a freighter bound for Antarctica. A valiant effort is put forth to find the missing teams, but the show must go on and commissioner Bud Selig decrees the Braves and Pirates be brought back to compete for the right to represent the NL in the World Series. Short of that, there is nothing to root for in the NLCS this season.
Braves fans will have a few former players to root for in the ALCS. The Red Sox have a two-pack of former Atlanta catchers in David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ross played four seasons for the Braves and proved to be invaluable replacing the injured Brian McCann in 2012. Ross went 3-for-4 with one home run and two RBIs in Atlanta's wild-card match with the Cardinals last season, but the Braves still fell 6-3.
As for Saltalamacchia, he was a young catching prospect who was once thought to be the heir apparent to McCann behind the dish. However, in 2007, "Salty" would be one of the key pieces in the infamous trade that brought Mark Teixiera to Atlanta.
From the Tigers, Omar Infante still holds a special place in the hearts of Braves fans. Infante defined what it meant to be a super-utility player during his three seasons in Atlanta. He hit .309 for the Braves between 2008 and 2010 while playing every position on the diamond except first base, catcher and pitcher. In 2010, Infante hit .321 and even managed a rare utilityman All-Star selection. The fact that he was traded to the Miami Marlins a year later for Dan Uggla should not be held against him.
But perhaps the main reason to root for the Tigers is that Atlanta still owes them a great deal more than they could eve repay. In 1987, the Braves dealt Doyle Alexander to the Tigers in exchange for a young right-hander named John Smoltz. Alexander would go 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA for the Tigers that season, but in the end, the Braves could have been legally tried for grand larceny.
Smoltz would go on to pitch for 20 seasons in Atlanta where he would help led the club to the 1995 World Series title before picking up a Cy Young award for himself the following year. Smoltz remains the only pitcher in MLB history with at least 150 wins and 150 saves.
What team do you think Braves fans should be rooting for to go all the way?
Anthony Schreiber is a freelance sportswriter who has been following the Atlanta Braves for over 20 years. He has penned articles for a variety of online publications and magazines.
- Sports & Recreation
- Atlanta Braves