The 2011 season will not be referenced in the Braves Hall of Fame Museum at Turner Field.
The Braves dominated the first half of the season and fell short of a playoff berth on the final day.
The Braves needed one win to keep the eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals out of the playoffs entirely, and they blew it. Atlanta only needed to finish the season 11-19, but they went a horrendous 10-20 in one of the most epic collapses in MLB history.
The only reason this wasn’t a bigger national story was due to the fact that the Boston Red Sox collapsed in grand fashion at the same time.
Last year will be hard for fans to let go, but the Braves are ready to move on.
“The calendar turned over to 2012, and so it is a new year,” Braves' pitching coach Roger McDowell recently told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Having a chance to put the World Series winner out of the playoffs by winning a single game down the stretch made watching the events of the post-season from home even tougher for Braves' players.
Brandon Beachy, who has been taking part in a voluntary, pre-season pitchers' mini-camp, recently sat down with David O’Brien of the AJC.
“That’s in the past,” said Beachy, who had one of the more impressive seasons for the Atlanta staff. “We learned from it, I believe. We know what happened. No one [person] is to blame. Each of us on an individual basis has things we need to improve on and things we could have done better at certain times. But it’s the beginning of a new season.”
The Braves hope last season turns out to be a fluke and not a trend.
When your “big trade” center fielder, Michael Bourn, gets out-performed by a stop-gap AAA man in Jose Constanza, you know you’ve got hitting problems. And Bourn wasn’t even the most under-performing player at the plate.
The Braves' offense needs consistent production and consistent hitting to contend with Philadelphia and regain control of the N.L. East.
But at this point, it’ll take an improvement just to contend for the NL Wild Card.
Atlanta is ready to move on, and that is understandable. Winning supposedly heals all sports wounds. But after last season, it will take more than a hot start to convince Braves' fans they are for real.
We've all been spoiled by 14 straight postseason trips under Bobby Cox.
Last season was enough of a reality check, now it’s time to get back to domination. Does Fredi Gonzales have what it takes?
Time will tell.
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