GEORGIA NOT SO PEACHY: Fredi Gonzalez was right to question the call be the umpires in the 8th inning, but the fans took it too far. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Despite two ball clubs advancing through the first round in one night and, therefore, locking into place the NLDS match ups, all anyone is going to be talking about this morning is the 8th inning in Atlanta.

And that’s a shame.

Not because the call wasn’t controversial or even, in my opinion, correct, but because that’s not what this inaugural Wild Card round was about. As much as the Braves fans aren’t going to want to hear it: Friday was a success for Major League Baseball.

I still have my reservations about the new playoff system, but it achieved exactly what the Commissioner’s Office wanted: it expanded the playoff field, it added excitement to the postseason, and it gave the television networks a guaranteed do-or-die, must-watch baseball game.

Yes, Atlanta fans are upset, but so are the Rangers. More to the point, though, we KNEW this was going to happen. The second a team lost this new wild card game, we knew the fans of the losing team were going to gripe that a one-game series had cheated them.

The only difference here is the Braves fans want to say they were cheated expressly by the umpires and that the fate of the game rested on one blatantly wrong call. But it just isn’t so. On a number of levels, for that matter. If you call the play a hit and give them the bases loaded, maybe they tie the game and maybe they don’t. Hell, maybe the game still ends 6-3.

You see, it’s cliché to say this, but one play never leads to a loss. While the Braves faithful groan about one that infield fly ruling, they conveniently gloss over those three errors committed and the five runners left in scoring position NOT in that inning and a slew of other factors that led to their elimination.

Why? Because saying you got cheated is the easy way out. For a fan base that roots for a team called the Braves, that’s rather cowardly.

Instead of taking the loss with the wounded pride of a diehard sports fan, the Turner Field faithful chose to throw beer and popcorn on the field — THEIR field — and make the whole situation about themselves.

And what about Chipper Jones? Just a few weeks ago, he said he believed his tenure in Atlanta made him the face of southern baseball. He’s enveloped everything that was the Braves organization for the past decade, and THIS is how you repay him, Atlanta? It’s disgraceful.

As much as the Braves fans don’t want to admit it, they aren’t the Green Bay Packers. There’s no defined rule here. An infield fly, by DEFINITION, is left entirely to an umpire’s judgment. It’s right there in black and white: there is no boundary for what is and is not an infield fly. You’d be better off arguing balls and strikes.

So, rather than taking one unlucky break for what it is, the Braves faithful threw a temper tantrum that I have to imagine was as much about their team being on the brink of elimination as anything else. If you want to take issue with the new playoff format, that’s you’re prerogative, but don’t let a bunch of sore losers persuade you that it was as bad as they’re making it out to be.

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