The Atlanta Braves were known throughout their 14-year division championship run as going about their business on the field with a tight-lipped, button-down, corporate approach. Rarely did Braves players show emotion, particularly by leaders of the team.
John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Fred McGriff… those players went about their business like robots, efficient in their play, but lacking fire and enthusiasm. They may have been excited when their huge paychecks arrived, but rarely did they demonstrate emotion during games.
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When the playoffs came around, rarely did Bobby Cox make bold moves, rarely did he show fire. My all-time most frustrating Braves game was when they were playing the Marlins in the playoffs and home plate umpire Eric Gregg was giving Marlins right-handed starter Livan Hernanzdez strikes that were a full foot outside. Yet Cox sat there the entire game and let it happen without going out and raising holy hell. Like he was in a catatonic state.
The Braves are admired as being a very successful, very classy organization. Their business model has proved to work extremely well during the regular season. But it has proven to not work very well during the playoffs.
Will the Braves change their approach during this year’s playoffs? Will they show emotion and fire, or have that bland, corporate type approach? Will manager Fredi Gonzalez be quick to make moves that need to be made, or will he wait before pulling an unproductive player?
Will the Braves change their past approach and have a sense of urgency in this year’s playoffs?