With the Game on the Line, the Braves Turned to...Greg Norton?

Brett KettyleCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2009

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  Outfielder Greg Norton #20 of the Atlanta Braves poses for a photo during Spring Training Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at Champions Stadium at Walt Disney World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I consider myself to be a very optimistic person when it comes to sports.

Talk to me about college football and I will tell you how Virginia Tech has a great shot to be in the National Championship if they can just get past Alabama.

Even in the NFL, I will find a way to support the Raiders and create some expectations (yes, when you draft Darrius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree any expectations are a surprise).

The same is true for baseball. Every year others tell me how the Braves season is over while I hold out hope that they can fight their way back into the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the last few years those other people have been right.

I am not saying that the Braves won’t win the wild card, because they obviously still have a shot at only 3.5 games back, but I have lost all hope in the team.

With most of their remaining games against teams that are below .500, normally I would hope that the Braves could storm back and even take the division, never mind the wild card.

But not this year. I have lost hope for the playoffs, and it seems strange not to be expecting some kind of comeback.

To be honest, I don’t think that the change was because of the Braves loss to the Phillies yesterday. I have held out hope on bigger deficits than this before.

No, the reason that I have no hope left for the Braves to make some miraculous comeback within the division is because, in what could prove one of the biggest games of the year, I was sitting in front of my television and rooting like crazy for...Greg Norton.

I know, he’s a professional hitter with a lot of experience and he draws a lot of walks and so on. But how can we expect to go to the playoffs if, with the game on the line, we turn to a guy who has never been a starter for a full season and, despite playing in 80 games this year has yet to record his tenth hit.

I am sure Bobby Cox had his reasons for turning to Greg Norton on Sunday, but putting him up there to pinch hit in that situation has caused me to lose all faith in the Braves this year.

I would love to be proven wrong, but when Greg Norton is our go-to hitter on the bench, I don’t know if it’s possible.