If anyone can sympathize with what Braves fans have been going through the last month, it’s those Cardinals fans who were tuned into their near-collapse in 2006.
We watched as a team looking to cruise into the playoffs suddenly spun off the road and turned a 7 game lead with two weeks to play into a .5 lead with three left. That near-disastrous stretch obviously is forgotten given the mind boggling World Series win, but for a week, Cardinals fans got to trudge through all five Stages of Sporting Grief -
1.) Denial that your team is crumbling
2.) Anger at players, management and the sporting world
3.) Bargaining for at least one win
4.) Depression when you concede that your team is terrible
5.) Acceptance that even if the team made the playoffs, they would be bounced in three games
So, while we are certainly enjoying every second of the Cardinals unlikely surge to the postseason, a visit to TalkingChop.com drummed up a smidge of empathy as it’s clear that Braves die-hards are going through their own version of the Stages of Sporting Grief.
We let readers comments take us on their journey over the past week:
“Wish I could be there to see the phoenix rise from the ashes but I’m with you in spirit. I’ll be chopping from my man cave in TN. The Braves are down but not out. They’re hurting but bear in mind…a wounded animal can be a dangerous thing.”
“Call me optimistic, but I actually think the Astros take two out of three from the Cardinals. The Astros have nothing to lose but everything to gain if they keep the Cards from the playoffs. GO BRAVES!!!!! I WILL HAVE MY BROOM OUR STARTING TODAY!!!! I’m sure my wife will be upset that I’m waving it around instead of sweeping!!! GO BRAVES!!!!!!!”
“I’m not sure I even want to be in the playoffs after watching this team fail down the stretch. What pisses me off more than anything is the fact that they don’t seem to really care.”
“I’ve never been one for doom and gloom But this team is done. No heart. No one putting the team on their shoulders. No competent managing. No heart.”
“Season over friends, let’s face it…we need a miracle to come out of this. And I know many of you are going to call me a pessimist, or tell me to “take your bad attitude somewhere else.” But let’s face it, this team is not able to win anymore. The wheels came off. I wish it weren’t true, but it is.”
“This, all of this, is a joke- right? Oh well. Please just win and get in. The playoffs are one thing I would actually keep up with and Braves Baseball would be nice to see for one more time.”
“I have no real expectations of a deep playoff run. It’s more about just holding on to the opportunity right now.”
“After the Phillies went up 3-0, my friend texted me and said we should take out Lowe I told him it really didn’t matter because a 3 run lead might as well be a 30 run lead the way we are swinging the bats right now. I took a nap instead of watching the last 5 innings of the game so I could stay up and watch the Astros game. At least they have some sack and some pride.”
“Watching this (Astros-Cardinals) game is making me depressed because it reminds me that other teams can actually like, string together hits and score runs.”
“Seriously. I’m sure these guys want it worse than any of us do. If they win, great. If they don’t, life goes on. I’m over it. Whatever happens, I’m cool with it.”
“Whether we win the Wildcard or not, it doesn’t really change anything. We still had a horrible September and our manager/hitting coach are terrible.”
“I emotionally detached myself from this team (mostly from our coaching staff) about a week ago. If they survive another game, then so be it.”
“There’s a chance… …our misery ends tomorrow. Dear Lord, just let it end.”
Cardinals fans couldn’t be hoping for anything more than to make the the last guy’s dreams come true tonight.