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Monday, September 03, 2012

Posnanski: Mac and Braves Journal

My condolences to those who knew Mac:

You know what I think is an adventure now? Baseball blogs. Every team’s fans have them, of course, there are hundreds and hundreds of them out there, lurking in between error pages, waiting to be found in the midst of the spam and the politics and the family photos and the naked pictures. The blogs are all passionate, every one of them, because who else but a passionate fan would start a baseball blog? But passion is where the similarities end. Some are hopeful and some are angry, some are vicious and some are playful, some are shrewd and some get every detail wrong. Some are astonishingly well-written and some use a lot of exclamation points so that you get the point!!!

 

But the real difference between them is the commitment. Few last. The idea of writing every day about your favorite baseball team fits right into the “sounded good when I started” category. At that start, there might have been a specific and fiery purpose—get the GM fired, celebrate a favorite player, break down the games in a way that the local paper does not. But that worn out old line about a season being a Paul Ryan marathon isn’t just true for the players and the coaches and the scouts … it’s true for the fans too. You say what you want to say about the awfulness of the GM, and another morning arrives. You talk about how breathtaking it is to watch Torii Hunter chase down a fly ball or to watch Derek Jeter make the jump throw from the hole or to watch Matt Holliday swing the bat, and another morning arrives. You empty your anger, you unload your joy, you drain your creative juices, and another morning arrives.

And so blogs, many of them, crack and wither in the dull Internet light, with a dateline “May 4, 2005,” at the end to remind everyone of the moment the author ran out of words.

Mac Thomason began Braves Journal in 1998—before, as is written in the touching words written about him, CompuServe offered free web hosting. It was so long ago that “CompuServe” does not clear today’s computer spell check. It was right around that time that I actually wrote for a Website by CompuServe called “WOW” which was short for “Wow, this idea won’t last very long.”

Mac’s idea for Braves Journal shifted and varied through the years, but it always came from the same place: An undying love for the Atlanta Braves and a defiant intolerance of the stupid things they did. And of course, intertwined in that, was a strong feeling about baseball, its rhythms, its myths, its joys, its many annoyances.

The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: September 03, 2012 at 01:04 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blogging, braves, cancer, fandom, posnanski

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   1. Belfry Bob Posted: September 03, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4225757)
Thanks, Joe. That was some pretty darn good writing, yerself.

Mac was, and is, a piece of work. He'll be missed by a lot more people than his family.
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 03, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4225763)
I never met him, but feel a great sense of loss at his passing. Mac once did a series on the greatest X Braves which was very good, he asked for contributions of write ups for those that missed the cut. I contributed a piece on Pete Smith (who obviously just missed out) in which I embarrassingly forgot to mention his Braves career was essentially ended by a line drive off his head. Still, feels good to have been part of that place for so long.
   3. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4225765)
Melky Cabrera is fat.
   4. PerroX Posted: September 03, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4225783)
Braves Journal's essential problem was that it's hard to talk about stupid management that was so damned successful for so long, after being so horrible for the preceding decades. Mac may have been insightful and to the point in his criticisms, but he incitied a lot of ######## and moaning from his readers that I couldn't stomach for long.

Regardless, RIP to a critic who was highly successful for a very long time in a rapidly changing medium.
   5. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4225786)
There was never any doubt that the Journal was "for Braves fans, by Braves fans." That was the real secret of Mac's genius over there. Never get confused about who the good guys are, or who the bad guys are. Never let past success dictate future idolization. Hold even Bobby Cox accountable for sticking with Jeff Francoeur for too long. Remind everyone that Melky Cabrera is fat.

Also, while it's easy to suggest that Braves fans at the Journal might ##### and moan more than their fair share, I'll argue that there's no fan base in recent memory who really understand what it's like to get thisgoddamnedcloseeveryfuckingyear just to have some schmuck from this year's model rip the ring from your hand at the last minute. Leave us to our ########, asshat.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: September 03, 2012 at 08:53 PM (#4225790)
I'll argue that there's no fan base in recent memory who really understand what it's like to get thisgoddamnedcloseeveryfuckingyear just to have some schmuck from this year's model rip the ring from your hand at the last minute


Considering you actually won one of them rings and they didn't (and you guys were the schmucks in question for one of them), I'd say the Indians fans from the same general time frame had a pretty good understanding of that concept.

   7. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4225804)
Considering you actually won one of them rings and they didn't (and you guys were the schmucks in question for one of them), I'd say the Indians fans from the same general time frame had a pretty good understanding of that concept.


Yes, but they were all from Cleveland. God hated them already.
   8. Belfry Bob Posted: September 03, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4225810)
We had a different problem at Birds in the Belfry. For eight years, all we COULD talk about was the dysfunctional Orioles organization. You can only do that for so long, so we finally packed it up. I think it's easier to complain about things a good organization does that you don't like...though it does smack of 'ungrateful' a little.

Well, more than a little. :)
   9. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4225822)
It's hard to write up "well, the O's still suck" year after year.
   10. PerroX Posted: September 03, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4225859)
Leave us to our ########, asshat.


I was a Braves fan long before you were the twinkle in my eye, Sam.

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