I’ve been a Braves fan all my life. It seemed only natural, since I grew up in Decatur, right next door to Atlanta. I remember my dad taking me to games when I was little, when we would meet his brother, who came up from Seale, Alabama to watch the games. Much to my mother’s disapproval (and probably because of it), Uncle Roe would always buy me a paper bag filled with hot boiled peanuts from one of the vendors outside.
We also had a cousin, Bobby Bragan, who was a manager for the Braves in the early ’60s. I remember my dad taking me down to the field one time to meet Bragan. I remember he didn’t seem too happy a person, so it was probably around 1966, when he got fired mid-season.
I remember going to Braves games while I was in college. This was also during the long losing years for the Braves, and I went more for what else was happening than for the games themselves. A couple of times it was for the bands that were playing after the games were over, and once it was for a college mattress stacking contest they had after a game that we competed in.
When the Braves finally started winning consistently in the 1990’s, my attendance dropped off, mainly because by then I was raising a family and money was tight (and it still is). After the Olympics came and went in 1996 and the Olympic stadium was converted to Turner Field, I’d go to one or two games a year, usually when friends or business acquaintances might have tickets they couldn’t use for one reason or another.
But while I may not have been a Braves fan attendance-wise, I’ve always followed them on radio when I’m in my car, or on TV when I’m at home. I never even thought about cheering for another team… until now.
When I first heard the news that the Braves were moving to Cobb County, I was shocked. When I heard why they were moving, I was outraged, and I still am. They say they are moving to Cobb County because, based on season ticket sales, that is where their “fan base” is, the north side of Atlanta. That, to me, says a lot about what they think of those of us living on the south side of Atlanta – not much. They like our money – they’ve been scalping us on ticket prices for years – but they don’t like us enough to keep the stadium easily accessible for everyone. Starting in 2017, if you want to go see a Braves game, you’ll have to drive twice as far to get there. You won’t be able to take MARTA, since MARTA doesn’t run in Cobb County.
Since the Braves are showing they can care less about their fans down here, I say to heck with the Braves. Let’s find us another team to root for. We can do it one of two ways – lure an American League team to Atlanta, or pick another team to individually cheer for. I think bringing another team in would be good. We have a perfectly good stadium for them to use at Turner Field, and who knows, we might actually be able to bring a team in that can actually win in the playoffs and maybe win more than one World Series. Other big cities have two teams – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles. Why not Atlanta?
But Atlanta officials are saying they are going to tear down Turner Field and build a residential/commercial area. If that’s the case, then let’s just find another team to root for. I was in Texas this summer for a family reunion and went to a Texas Rangers game. I like the Rangers. I even have a Texas hat. So I think I’ll become a Rangers fan. After all, I’ve got as much a chance of going to another Rangers game anytime soon as I have of going to a Braves game in Cobb County.
So let’s tell the Braves where they can go.
And go Rangers!