The Braves celebrated the signing of a title sponsor for their next stadium Tuesday.
Washington celebrated something that moves the meter a little more with fans — the National League East Division title.
There’s your balance-of-power update, Braves fans.
The Braves lost to the Nationals 3-0 at Turner Field. They watched the Nationals stream out of the dugout for a brief on-field celebration, which was followed by a dizzying champagne-and-beer soaked party in the visiting clubhouse.
This kind of thing isn’t new in Atlanta. The Braves have lost elimination games in 10 postseason series at home since 1992, and this might as well have been the end for the 2014 season. They have lost five straight and 11 of 14 in September. At 75-76, they’re under .500 for the first time since being 0-1. They’re not only dead in the East, they’re 5½ games behind Pittsburgh for the second N.L. wild card berth.
Simple math: If the Pirates (80-70) split their final 12 games, the Braves would need to go 11-0 just to tie them.
But, hey, the Braves have a big dirt lot in Cobb County and a deal with a bank.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez congratulated the Nationals, but added: “You never want anybody to celebrate on your field. But they did it professionally.”
How much blame should Gonzalez share for this late-season downward spiral? He said Thursday, “I take full responsibility,” even though many would point to the flawed roster built by general manager Frank Wren.
For the full MyAJC column on Gonzalez and the Braves, click here.
This could get even more humiliating for the Braves. How’s this for a scenario? Pittsburgh comes to Turner Field for a four-game series next Monday. The Pirates conceivably could clinch the wild card berth here, which would mean two opponents in the same season would celebrate something at Turner Field (a franchise record).
Washington’s celebration was relatively tame on the field but not in the clubhouse. Players shouted while loud music players and they sprayed each other champagne and beer.
“It’s a great feeling just to wrap it up,” said Nationals and former Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche. “For us, the sooner the better.
“I think last year just proved how hard it is to get into the playoffs. It’s not a given, no matter how good your team is on paper. You have to come out here and get it done. Last year was kind of humbling for a lot of us. We came back this year with a little more fire. We knew we needed to start in March to make this thing happen.”
When asked if the clinching game carried special significance because it came in Atlanta, against the Nationals’ rival and LaRoche’s former team, he said, “I don’t know that it was that big a deal, like some people are making it out. Individually maybe for some guys it is. But it happened to be here so it worked out great.”
Like St. Louis, Arizona, Florida, Chicago and others, an opposing team clinched something in Atlanta. Maybe the Braves need to perform an exorcism here before they leave.
— MyAJC: Fredi Gonzalez: ‘It’s my team, I take full responsibility’ — AJC: Braves’ opponents often celebrates here — MyAJC: Falcons let everybody see their ugly side — AJC: Short takes on Falcons’ loss to Cincinnati — MyAJC: Georgia Tech has problems, but it also has Justin Thomas — AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s narrow escape — AJC: Danny Ferry takes leave but Hawks won’t change with this ownership — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons (real ones) over Saints — AJC: Hawks giving lessons on how not to contain a fire — AJC: Goodell was at Masters when Rice video arrived at office — AJC: Adam Silver, Magic Johnson see Ferry-Deng differently — MyAJC: Only cure: All Hawks’ owners and Ferry must go — AJC: Levenson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar miss point about Atlanta — MyAJC: Levenson gone but timing raises questions — AJC: Hawks’ Levenson has ugly exit because of email — MyAJC: Matt Ryan wouldn’t let Falcons lose — MyAJC: Georgia Tech still looks wobbly at 2-0 — AJC: Short takes on Tech’s 38-21 win over Tulane — AJC: Live blog: Tech tries to spoil Tulane’s party — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons (real ones) over Saints — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons (real ones) over Saints — AJC: Video evidence of Stephen Garcia hitting bottom — MyAJC: Falcons need Mike Nolan to create an illusion — AJC: Michael Sam not being viewed as just a player — MyAJC: With Todd Gurley, possibilities are endless — AJC: Short takes: Georgia 45, Clemson 21 — AJC: Cantor’s magic tallis has cure to Braves’ problems (on Fridays) — AJC: Weekend Predictions (no lie): Dogs over Clemson — MyAJC: Richt, Georgia need another highlight — MyAJC: Braves CEO Terry McGuirk vows ‘Everybody accountable’ — MyAJC: Full Q&A with Braves CEO Terry McGuirk — AJC: On Braves, McGuirk and repairing baseball