Braves Fans Should Calm Down

The Braves will be playoff caliber again next season

The Braves will be playoff caliber again next season

I wanted to write this article after Atlanta Braves fans had a chance to take a deep breath and calm down.  The fan in us is always quick to criticize and get upset, but most of the time when we take a step back, we can see things a little more clearly.  That’s what I am trying to do with this Braves team, because believe it or not, this team had a really good year.

I will start this off by saying that I completely disagree with anyone that thinks Fredi Gonzalez should be fired.   I don’t even understand how you could arrive at that conclusion, when this team led the division for every day of the regular season except for one.  Sure, guys didn’t hit like we wanted them to, but didn’t Fredi make those changes towards the end of the year and at playoff time?

If you want to criticize some of Fredi’s decision-making that’s fine, you can do that.  But realize that the second guess is always right.  The only reason that there is such a thing as the second guess, is because someone failed.  It’s easy to sit on the couch and question everything that doesn’t work after the fact, but managers have to make the decision in real-time.

The biggest example of this is the decision not to throw Craig Kimbrel in the 8th inning of game 4.  Had Carpenter not given up the game winning home run, you would have never heard a word about it.  Kimbrel didn’t record six consecutive outs all season long, so why would you try to get him to do something he hasn’t done all year, in the biggest game of the year?

You want further proof that no one would have said anything about the decision Fredi made, had Carpenter not blown it? Who is questioning Dodgers manager, Don Mattingly, about telling Uribe to bunt?  Are fans outraged by this?  Of course they aren’t, the managerial mistake was fixed by the long ball.  If Uribe had sacrificed the man over, who knows how this game turns out.  Mattingly made a questionable decision and because he won, we say nothing.

Winning cures all and in most cases it should. The problem I have though is that this series wasn’t the same old song and dance with the Braves.  If you listen to my radio show at all on WCCP 104.9 FM, 9 a.m. to noon every weekday, then you already know what I am about to say.  The Braves lost to a better team, plain and simple.  The Dodgers had better pitching and a very similar lineup to the Braves, that doesn’t strikeout as much.  The Braves didn’t choke the series away, or whatever other narrative you would like to use, they just got beat.

It is so hard to follow a team for 162 games and see it all come to an end the way it did for the Braves, but that’s baseball. It is why you can love and hate the game all at the same time.

The Braves are a real good baseball team, but the injuries that this team sustained were just too much.  It is almost impossible to overcome all the injuries that this team had.  The best news is that this team will be right back in the playoff hunt next season.

Before you know it, we will be talking about packing for Orlando and going to see the Braves start Spring Training.  Things didn’t work out this year, but if the Bravos can stay healthier next year, the sky is the limit.

About James Thurn

James is the host of The James Thurn Show weekdays from 9am to noon. He has been in sports media for 5 years and has followed the Braves that entire time. James was born and raised in "Braves Country" and is excited to now be writing for

  • Jerry

    Gonzales fired,no I do not think so but that was a bull headed blunder with Carpenter I said it when he was brought in ,this was a do or die situation there was no tomorrow, bring in Krimbrell if we win he has a day off for travel if not we go home loser either way there was no excuse for not using greg in that situation if he can’t pitch to four players in a must game then why is he there there was no reason to save him

    • Brandon

      who’s Greg?

  • Fire Freddie


  • Completely disagree about the Kimbrel situation. You bring Kimbrel in, in the 8th inning, because he IS the best closer in baseball. You don’t “not” bring him in simply because he hasn’t pitched more than 4 outs in a game.

    The argument against bringing in David Carpenter is simple: He nearly cost the Braves game 2 of the NLDS by doing what? The same thing he did that cost us the NLDS. Gave up a 2-run home run. Now, I don’t blame Carpenter for our Offense’s lack of production or Fredi’s decision to play Gattis in LF for his bat instead of your original OF trio for their DEFENSE.

    While Carpenter was good most all of the regular season, Kimbrel was even better. You take the risk of playing Kimbrel in the 8th inning knowing that you gave it your best shot to win the game. Since Kimbrel was relegated to no more than warming up in the bullpen in game 4 of the 2013 NLDS, you didn’t give your team the best possible shot to force a game 5.

    But hey, what do I know? I’m just a fan. I don’t have a sports blog to garner support for my personal thoughts.

  • Al Simard

    Fredi stuck with Uggli and BJ until the middle of Sept. This cost the team around 10 wins. Justin had a good April and 10 days in Aug, other than that he stunk. The Braves led in some more categories, such as taking called strikes and giving up 2 strike hits. They underachieved.

  • Mike Crowe

    The sky is not the limit when you have a lineup that leads baseball in strikeouts, no power arms in the rotation, and a manager that now has a clear history of not knowing how to finish. We just saw the results of what the Braves are, weren’t you paying attention? Everybody and their dog predicted the outcome, so wakeup and drop the sky’s the limit bull when the results are already in. There needs to be changes at the top ( management ), the bottom ( BJ, Uggla, etc. ), and the aquisition of power in the rotation. Just ask any scout … or the average Little Leaguer for that matter. BTW, I hear Charlie and Dusty are looking for work.

  • Robert Joseph Cerasuolo

    First off I would resign McCann that is priority numeral uno. Number 2 trading Uggla now heres how you do it you offer a package like the Red Sox did with Fla so make Uggla a throw in and eat like 60 percent of his contract or what not and don’t be afraid to sell him to an A.L team as a viable DH. Three go after the next big free agent out of Japan/ Korea/Cuba I am tired of seeing all these studs like Ryu Darvish Dice-K and Puig slip by the waist side going some where else so who ever it is like a high school cheerleaders says Be Aggressive BE BE Aggressive. Next Trade for a big time pitcher or another Power hitter or both I am not for another Teixeira deal but if we need another one of those dumping the minors for a big time player I am for it depending on who it is. See I have this inkling that the Braves maybe able to steal both Longeria and Price away and heres how offer then Woods Chris Johnson Benetacourt and Uggla as a throw in to the Rays for Price and Longeria

    • Mike Crowe

      I would resign McCann short term for his bat and leadership, but I wouldn’t sell the farm to do it. He’s not atheltic so his career probably won’t be too much longer, plus catcher is the only position he can play in the NL – not to mention he’s entering the age where injuries can take their toll. He’s an average catcher at best and doesn’t call the best came in the world and even as a hitter he’s shown signs of loosing bat speed. The Braves have good scouting in Latin America and they know who the Japanese players are, but LA and Boston have the money, and probably better connections to the East from what I’ve heard. I don’t know where your “inkling” came from but there’s no way Tampa lets go their two franchise players for a rookie reliever, a flash in the pan third sacker (hope I’m wrong there) and the worst second baseman in baseball. Wren, maybe, but not Tampa Bay.

  • Robert Joseph Cerasuolo

    Offseason list for the Braves

    1 Trade Dan Uggla and here’s how you do it. Like the Dodgers and Red Sox trade last year if anyone wants one of our big name players like Upton and thats Justin Heyward Simmons and so on Frank Wren needs to say you want one of my main guys you gotta take Uggla off our hands or sell him to a A.L as a viable DH.

    2 Sign the next big agent out of either Cuba/Korea/Japan.
    I am tired of seeing the players that are superstars like Cependes Puig Chapman Darvish and Matsuzaka go to other teams I just don’t get it

    3 Leadoff hitter

    We need a viable leadoff threat and its not Jason Heyward or Simmons so there for if you need to give up a big time pitcher or something I am game Emilio Bonifacio is always been a favorite of mine and can play anywhere.

    • Mike Crowe

      Who would take Uggla with two years left on his contract, and I wouldn’t give up a good player just to package a trade. He’s not a viable DH, he’s the all American out. I say release him and eat the salary. Might as well get used to that because Atlanta will have it to do again in a couple years with BJ. First thing I would do in the off season is look for a power arm and talk to Charlie Manuel.
      Braves don’t have the mula to compete with LA for free agents – Ted Turner is gone. Plus I’ve had enough of Wren’s big acqusitions for free agents. He doesn’t know what he’s doing there. He has a history now that proves it. Give Bobby Cox his old GM job back at once.
      Simmons could be your leadoff hitter sooner than later. He knows the strike zone and doesn’t strike out, but he needs to learn pitch selection. And this business of falling across homeplate after every swing like a Little Leaguer is rediculous. He’s a big boy now and needs to learn balance and to hit like a man. Somebody please teach he and Heyward how to bat. I think we’re in a era now where the players are just uncoachable. They do what they want because they have all the money and control.