There was a lot of talk about how the 2013 team’s hot start emulated 1994 and 1982. How right that talk was.
After game 14, the 1982 team was 13-1.
After game 14, the 1994 team was 13-1.
And this season, before the ump called “Play Ball!” to ring in game 14, the 2013 team was poised to equal that mark. (As it happened, we lost 1-0 to the Royals and dropped to 12-2, but you get my point.)
But now, flash forward four games and you can take your pick of cliches: “How quickly things change” or “How often cycles repeat themselves.” Either one will do.
After game 18, the 1982 team was 13-5.
After game 18, the 1994 team was 13-5.
And now, after 18 games, our 2013 team is 13-5.
Let’s look back once more. (And only once more, it’s all I can take.) In 1982 and 1994, after scintillating hot starts both Braves teams slipped into hibernation mode. They wound up righting themselves, though to mixed results. The 1982 team finished with 89 wins and took a lot of excitement into the NLCS, only to be banished quickly by the Cardinals three games to none. The 1994 team finished the season 22 games over .500, but that was the year everyone involved in MLB stamped their tickets to hell by shutting the game down and flushing the World Series with it.
(And that’s the year the future Natspos would have put us down, anyway. I’m sorry, but I’m not gonna talk up “13 Straight Divisional Titles*” bravado, because I find it impossible to pronounce an asterisk.)
Let’s hope the 2013 team takes our current 13-5 and peels off a five-game winning streak to keep the enthusiasm up and the bad aftertaste of the last five games down. Tonight, presumably, Freddie Freeman will return from his precautionary (and controversial) stint on the DL. That means he’s back at first, allowing the hot hand Chris Johnson to presumably garner more time at third. So that’s a good thing. And Brian McCann is getting a crack at live at bats in extended spring training this week, so his return to the team is becoming more than just a theoretical topic of discussion.
But the Rockies are hot (hey, they have the same record we do), and Denver is cold (lows in the 20s and possible snow). So we have our work cut out for us. There’s still a bunch of fans out there that remember 1982 and 1994 who have yet to fully buy into the 2013 team because of previous experience.
I’m not one of them.