Braves fans get reassurance from on high

We have been assured that this fellow, Freddie Freeman, is still a Braves. Everything else is up for discussion. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

We have been assured that this fellow, Freddie Freeman, is still a Brave. Everything else is up for discussion. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE – If Winston Churchill were alive and running the Braves he would mark the Winter Meetings going on here now with a stirring: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

The Braves, however, are commanded by a bunch of guys named John, who came to baseball’s big swap meet bearing a message of much the same tenor.

To fans left dizzy and disenchanted by a 95-loss season and the piece-by-piece deconstruction of the team, the brass offers reassurance that it knows exactly what it is doing and that nothing is so wrong that it can’t be cured by a new stadium and a whole bunch of new, downy-cheeked stars in the making.

Of all the rumors that fly this time of year, the Braves leadership foremost wants to launch this one: Trust us. We know what we’re doing. The worst is over.

Speaking to the immediate, John Hart, president of baseball operations, said, “We think we’re going to be competitive in ’16. We think we’re going to score more runs, we think there’s more offense, we think there’s a better bullpen, we think our starters have grown a year.”

As for the long-range, the whole reason for the wholesale exchange of almost everything familiar for pitching prospects (some of them even not fresh off Tommy John surgery) and draft picks and international players of mystery, general manager John Coppolella says a payoff is coming for those who are patient.

“Two-thousand-fifteen was rock bottom, 2016 is going to be a better year and 2017 is going to be even better,” he said. “You’re seeing so many good young players that there are going to be steps forward every single year until we get where we want to be, and that’s the World Series.”

They ask the populace to lend them the rarest resource – faith.

They promise that the pain you are feeling now will be rewarded with a heavenly future, that of being continually competitive again, relevant beyond almost any All-Star break.

Hart is 67 but sells the grand design with the energy and conviction of a hungry kid just out of seminary school.

As he noted, “It has been painful. It has been Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride for everybody – for our fans and for us.”

And still, he said, “We have our own agenda. We haven’t wavered on it. We haven’t blinked on it.”

For Braves fans, this is the winter of their discontent.

They are being promised an incrementally more tolerable spring.

Trusting that will test the limits of every fan.

Reader Comments 0

14 comments
BenMishra
BenMishra

I get the rebuild, but if the payroll stays in bottom half we can expect this every 5 years. (projected payroll bottom 5 this year) Coppy sounds like an idiot when he gives the impression they don't need money to win, can do it with prospects alone. Go ask the A's how many WS they have won. 

BobDawg
BobDawg

@BenMishra that's why the New Park with all the amenities…so they can spend on free agents and have another great run… 

SynergyDawg
SynergyDawg

If the Braves have the big impact ,as predicted on the International Draft, including the Venezuelan Short Stop that has a higher ranking than any player in the Minor Leagues, and add three picks in top 39, including the #3 Pick in the MLB Draft. The Braves should have more minor league talent than any other team

  We need stars to rise from this ,and next years

Drafts, because we should have one of the worst teams in baseball this year. That should give us a chance to bring in some more elite talent !

    The MLB Draft is partially luck. It is necessary for there to be a great prospect for you to Draft !

SynergyDawg
SynergyDawg

I think the Brave Management has to be careful ,not to promise much improvement in 2016 ! I don't see it !

The real improvement may not come until 2017- 2018 !

VeryDisgusted
VeryDisgusted

The Braves top management have not earned our trust .  Why do we owe them anything?  They have done nothing but destroy the major league product and antagonize the fan base and we are supposed to trust them?  Bernie Madoff told his clients to trust him and what did they get?

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

The only thing that this team is going to be competitive is  for a top draft pick in 2017.

David Hurst
David Hurst

Yes, I am guilty of being a 'glass half full' sort - so I am choosing to believe that this upcoming season (2016) will be our 1990 season - -  (a lot of young talent on the roster, but not seasoned enough to win yet ... and a LOT of really good talent in the minors).  BUT... 1991 is coming!

lowlow
lowlow

I wish the management luck and want the Braves to be good but as a fan this has been tough to take. This team two years ago while not good, was also not horrible. The good Upton brother, Hayward, Freeman and Simmons formed the nucleus of a decent batting order and fielding team.  Something worth watching.  There were pitching problems for sure.  But couldn't we have kept that nucleus - I'll even let the Kimbrel trade go to dump BJ- and added some like Markakis and had a decent team? Relief pitchers come and go so that would not have been that expensive and we would have had to buy some starting pitching.  But was a complete sell out necessary? 


The team on the field last year was atrocious and a lot of things will have to go right to make that team decent.        

Gman84
Gman84

Acknowledging that the current on-field product is unattractive and pricing it accordingly would foster some good faith on their part. Of course prices only go up while fans are told to shut up, pay up and have faith. No thanks.

BobDawg
BobDawg

I'm drinking the Kool Aid now…. The Shelby Miller Trade was Masterful and from Jason Hayward's trade we now have 2 future Frontline Pitchers and a good outfielder and the top pick from the 2015 draft in the SStop from Vandy. That kid is for real and from Marietta…. 

VeryDisgusted
VeryDisgusted

@BobDawg  Todd Van Poppell and Luke Hockevar were top 2 picks in the draft and how did that work out?  And remember Casey Kotchman and Brandon Wood were top 5 picks by baseball America & what did they turn out to be

And Will Myers who was all this and all that -- has had trouble since his 88 game played rookie of the yr season.  Prospects mean nothing

Donald_01
Donald_01

The captain of the Titanic had a grand design too!

UGA75
UGA75

I have the tar warming up and the feathers sorted for when we ride the two Johns out of town on a rail. Hmm just noticed their names are Johns, maybe that's where they are spending the money, naw, that's too obvious. Vegas line on Braves wins is 75 which means 87 losses. I'm taking the over on losses. I thought this was a well written column, how in the world can Mark Badly and Schultzie work with a professional and nothing rub off on them?

KG1100
KG1100

Braves have less talent in 2016 than in 2015, yet by some miracle they will win more games.  John C looks like a turtle.  The shell will come in handy when the Braves lose more than 100 games this season.