Welcome to the refreshed Talking Chop! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here [https://www.sbnation.com/why-we-are-fans] and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a fan of the following sports teams in no particular — the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta United, Manchester City, U.S. Soccer, and Mississippi State football. Those are the teams that I follow closely with an invested emotional rooting interest, but there’s one sports team that will always be on top of my rooting interests through thick and thin, and that’s the Atlanta Braves.
I spent most of my early childhood in a very small town in Mississippi, which meant that TV-wise you had two options when it came to rooting interests — either watch the Cubs on WGN or be a loyal Southerner and watch the Braves on TBS. My family chose the Braves, so most of my first memories associated with sports include watching the Braves with my grandaddy and my great-grandaddy as well. One of my very first memories with the Braves was watching the “Sid Slid” game with my grandaddy and seeing him go crazy when Sid, well, slid. That was probably the first time where I understood the actual joy of winning in sports, so I have the Braves to thank for that.
I can’t say that I was 100% hooked on the Braves for most of my childhood in the 1990s. Like any other kid, I was prone to following whoever was cool on Sportscenter at the time and I loved home runs so Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, Albert Belle, Mo Vaughn, Barry Bonds, and the other big boppers of the ‘90s (in addition to Pedro Martinez striking out everybody on the face of the Earth) caught my eye. Still, the Braves were like my rock. Two things were for sure: They’d always be on TBS, and they’d always be in the playoffs after beating up on the rest of the jobbers in the division.
Of course, nothing lasts forever. The Braves were never going to be on top of the division forever, but they definitely tried their best to do so. Still, their descent into baseball normalcy also coincided with my interest in baseball going up. It also helped that I moved to the metro area for the start of high school, so I was able to still closely follow the team as they lost their national TV footprint with TBS and went to a regional network. They may not have been the divisional juggernaut that they were during the ‘90s, but this was still my local baseball team with a proud tradition and players I loved to watch, so they were still my favorite sports team in general.
Even during these incredibly lean years of rebuilding, I still enjoy the fact that on any given night during the summer, I can sit down and watch the Braves play. Now, is the baseball on display necessarily entertaining every night? That’s hit or miss, but that doesn’t change the fact that baseball is still fun and it’s great to watch, win or lose. I’d much rather see them win, but it’s still nice to know that this constant is still there for me in a life where change is inevitable.
So I was a fan who was incredibly spoiled as a kid during the 1990s with the likes of John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, and many other awesome players and now I’m a fan of the present-day squad who is clinging to Freddie Freeman’s superhero cape like it’s a grab handle in a car that’s spinning out. I should’ve appreciated the ‘90s even more than I did, and now I’m trying to make up for it in the off-chance that the Braves miraculously reach that level again in the near-future. No matter what, I’m still going to be here rooting for them and writing about them for as long as it’s feasible for me to do so.
Now there are a couple of questions for you: What brought you into the fold of Braves Country, and what’s keeping you around now? You can answer it in the comments, or you can go into a deep dive in the FanPost section. Either way, we definitely want to hear why you’re a fan of the the Braves. These types of stories are always interesting to hear about, so don’t feel shy in sharing!
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