Cut4 postseason preview: McCanns of whoopin', yicketty and everything else you need to know about the Atlanta Braves
Playoffs? You kiddin' me? Uh, no, actually we're not. In case you've been holed up watching Gangnam Style videos for the last few months, here's what you need to know about the season that was and the postseason to come --Atlanta Braves edition.
The Braves return to the postseason for the second time since their run of 11 straight NL East titles ended in 2006, and they'll make some history just by showing up. At 5:07 p.m. ET on Friday, Atlanta will host the first-ever Wild Card playoff -- one game against the Cardinals to decide whether they'll survive and advance or break out the golf clubs. Who does Fredi Gonzalez's club have to thank for their postseason appearance? Well, the Atlanta faithful would be a good start, but don't forget about Freddie Freeman's optometrist or that guy over at third base.
- The Braves got hot in mid-April, providing confidence that players hadn't missed a beat over the long winter. Center fielder Michael Bourn did, however, miss on a post-grand slam high-five and poke Brian McCann in the eye. Freddie Freeman avoided similar issues (and corrected an actual vision problem) by getting new glasses in May, leading to plenty of "four eyes" jokes in Atlanta's dugout.
- Nobody could see too well when the lights at Turner Field went out for 16 minutes during a Mets-Braves game in July. July 13, specifically. Friday, July 13. In an eerie coincidence, an old-school hockey mask was later spotted in Jason Heyward's locker.
- Burgers were big at the ballpark this year. Donald Gorske increased his personal Big Mac count to 25, 924 during a game in September, and a Braves reporter got caught stuffing his face with a stadium patty mid-game ... and played it off like a pro.
- Fans braved the heat at the Ted all summer, some to catch a glimpse of their favorite players -- say, Brian McCann (of whoopin') or Ben (three) Sheets (to the win) -- and others just to rep their team. Taki, who claims to be Japan's biggest Braves fan, even made a stateside appearance with her granddaughter.
- Of course, many fans journeyed to Atlanta -- some overcoming great obstacles -- to watch retiring third baseman Chipper Jones in person one final time. Others followed Chipper on his farewell tour around the league.
- When a guy plays for 19 seasons and makes 11 All-Star teams, you just have to give him a parting gift. The Padres sent Chipper surfing into the sunset, while the Brewers covered all of his future tailgating needs. The Astros provided some headgear, and the Mets filled that empty space on his living room wall. Jones' teammates expressed their emotions with kind words and the occasional aggressive dugout PDA.
- As for No. 10 himself, he spent much of the season mastering the art of the tweet (kind of). The third baseman's first few updates were in "Chipperish," but he was at least able to get his hotel TV fixed via social media. We still get our "yickettys" and "mammos" confused sometimes, but we really like the way Chip works it
An airline mixup leaves the Braves without a charter plane following Game 2 of the NLDS, threatening to delay the remainder of the series. But Jones calls in a favor to save the day once again. After all, it's hard not to let you on the flight when your number is painted on the aircraft.
When an errant Kris Medlen fastball goes up-and-in during the NL Wild Card playoff, one perturbed Nationals batter considers charging the mound -- until he sees a certain former Fulton County Stadium soda vendor cracking his knuckles menacingly behind the Braves dugout.
Hawaii sees a sharp dropoff in tourism revenue during October, which local economists attribute to fewer honeymooners visiting the state. Turner Field, meanwhile, sets numerous records for postseason attendance.
-- Matt Monagan / MLB.com