It all started with an article by an LA Clipper (formerly Buffalo Braves) writer at B/R who stated the Clippers are not loved in LA and cannot win there. He suggested the problem is location. He then suggested the team move out of the Staples Center, where they share accommodations with the Lakers and play in Anaheim.
That got some die-hard Braves fans thinking. Perhaps location means more than the other side of Greater LA. Perhaps it means retracing their tracks back to Buffalo.
If they never bonded with their new home, why not bring them back where they were loved and where they were winners—among the NBA elite for a few years at least?
With that, the movement was officially launched. Or so says the mystery man in a trench coat, big shades, and a Braves cap, who refused to identify himself. I had received a mysterious text message an hour earlier to meet him at what was left of the Aud in 60 minutes sharp. Alone.
"Yes, we realize it will be hard enough to keep the Bills from leaving without trying to bring back a franchise that has been gone for thirty years, but we think both are not only possible but necessary to fix the sports karma in Buffalo."
"Necessary?" I asked.
"Yes. Think about it. When the Braves were ripped from Buffalo, the gutted franchise that left town and became the Clippers wasn't the spiritual essence of the Braves. The true spirit of the Braves remained to haunt the Aud until it was torn down.
"Now that it's down to a few feet of bricks, still standing, the ghosts of the Braves have been released into the atmosphere and they're beginning to work their magic."
"I don't normally think of 'magic' and 'ghosts' in the same context. You're saying they're good ghosts, you know, like in the Wizard of Oz when Glinda asks Dorothy, 'Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
"Exactly. And since the Braves were a good team. How could their ghosts be bad? But think about it. Is it coincidence that the Aud starts coming down, the only book ever written about the Braves is released (Buffalo, Home of the Braves, by Tim Wendel. See my article about the book), Randy Smith dies, and then LA admits it never loved the Clippers? No this is synergy! Synchronicity! The universe is realigning!"
"Ok, I asked, but it's been 30 years. Why should Bills fans care at this point? Half of them are too young to remember the Braves?"
"Two words," my anonymous interviewee said to me, dead serious, with a penetrating stare. "Wide Right."
"And," he went on, I have one for Sabres fans. "In the crease!"
"You mean the good ghosts weren't completely up to good things. They jinxed all Buffalo teams?"
"No, not the ghosts," he said. "Unless you mean the ghosts of John Y. Brown and Paul Snyder, but I'm pretty sure they're both still alive."
"Ok, I don't get it." I said.
"Look. When the Braves were ripped out of Buffalo, something happened to the city's psyche, it's soul. A city needs all the stars to be aligned perfectly to win a world championship. If even one star is out of whack the whole thing goes to hell. It's like a clock with a missing gear."
"So you mean bringing the Braves back to Buffalo would be putting the missing gear back into the clock?"
"Yup, he said." And then you watch out. With all that pent up hope and passion and disappointment, look for a triple crown the following year."
"You mean Lombardi, Stanley, and an NBA title all at once?"
"Better tell City Hall to stock up on tickertape and confetti," he said.
And then a black limousine pulled up, picked him up, and sped off toward the Niagara Thruway.
Note: First in a series. See part two:
See also this author's article about a possible Braves return, aimed at the Clippers and NBA audience.
John Wingspread Howell is the chief Chicago Red Stars correspondent, is a leading Women's Professional Soccer correspondent, and covers the Buffalo sports and Underdog sports beats for Bleacher Report.
Listen to Howell's audio commentary on Randy Smith, the Aud, the Braves and Buffalo curses on NPR's WBFO 88.7 or via web at www.wbfo.org on July 8 at 630 and 830 AM EDT.