ATLANTA -- They may have among the broadest geographical separations among National League clubs, but the Giants made their first visit to SunTrust Park with more ties to the Braves than one might imagine.Buster Posey grew up three hours south of the Majors' newest ballpark, in Leesburg, Ga., and though
ATLANTA -- They may have among the broadest geographical separations among National League clubs, but the Giants made their first visit to SunTrust Park with more ties to the Braves than one might imagine.
Buster Posey grew up three hours south of the Majors' newest ballpark, in Leesburg, Ga., and though he admittedly didn't visit Turner Field much, he recalled fond memories of being a Braves fan in the 1990s.
"Obviously the '95 world championship is the one that stands out the most," Posey said. "And then just kind of growing up watching Chipper [Jones] and Andruw [Jones] play, and all the great pitching that came through. I mean, they essentially won the division every year of my childhood."
Posey was 4 years old when the Braves won the first of their MLB-record 14 straight division crowns in 1991 -- a streak Posey said might not be matched, particularly with prevailing parity in today's game. In each of the 11 seasons since the Braves' streak ended in 2005, there has been a postseason turnover by at least half, and the longest streak of division titles in that stretch is five, by the Phillies from 2007-11.
"You never say never, but I don't think it's very likely," said Posey, who added that one of his fondest Braves memories came when he was an opposing player, in the 2010 NL Division Series, when he and the Giants eliminated the Braves at Turner Field in Bobby Cox's final game.
"Being on the field and [Cox] waving to the crowd and just kind of taking a moment there was just kind of a cool moment for me, because I did grow up watching him manage so many games," said Posey, who has since met Cox in an elevator encounter, describing himself as "star struck."
The 2010 postseason series win was Bruce Bochy's first as Giants manager, but also his first since 1998 when managing the Padres in the NL Championship Series against -- guess who -- the Braves. That year, Bochy and the Padres bested the Braves in six games to clinch their second NL pennant, facing Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine in consecutive days in Atlanta in Game 5 and Game 6.
"Really, pretty similar," Bochy said, comparing 1998 to 2010. "You had the same managers in both series. Really, very competitive series. One was longer than the other, obviously, with the best of seven vs. best of five. Best of five, you've got a shorter margin of error, so every game was so important."
Tracing Turner Field ties even further, Giants special assistant Shawon Dunston played in the first regular-season game there on April 4, 1997, with the Cubs, finishing 0-for-4, and beginning what wound up being a career 7-for-34 (.206) showing, with zero walks and one RBI in 53 games.
"You didn't enjoy coming to Atlanta in the '90s," Dunston said. "You couldn't get any hits. You could come in on a hot streak, but you'd leave town after going 1-for-12."
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.