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World Series 2001
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10/22/2001 04:14 PM ET
Media Beat: D-Backs hailed, Braves eulogized
By Kevin Czerwinski
MLB.com
Said Chipper Jones of the Braves' decade-long run among baseball's elite: 'Obviously this roll at some point is going to end. The window may be starting to close.'
  • Media Beat: A Star is born

    The Diamondbacks returned to the desert as conquering heroes and were treated as such.

    The Braves went home, taking a decade of baseball excellence with them. They weren't treated like heroes, just like a tired old team that appears to be at the end of what has been a glorious 10-year run.

    Here's Mark Gonzales' lede in Monday's Arizona Republic. He grabbed 42-year-old Mike Morgan to support his case, pointing out that though Arizona is just as old as it Atlanta, it never showed.

    They may be old, but they celebrated like kids.

    And National League champions.

    The Diamondbacks beat Atlanta 3-2 on Sunday night to seize their first National League title before 35,652 stunned fans at Turner Field. ...

    "Let's hear it for the Geritol Gang," Morgan said.

    Randy Johnson was praised for finally reaching the World Series, something great players and big favorites like Ernie Banks, Don Mattingly and Ryne Sandberg never did. D-Backs Manager Bob Brenly was given heaps of credit for some gutsy yet brilliant maneuvering.

    Yet the most prevailing thought that seemed to surround the end of the series was the demise of the Braves. Their obit was easy to write. Scribes around the country celebrated Arizona's good fortune, but the disappointment [again] regarding the Braves was too obvious to ignore. It's become as commonplace in the fall as turning the clocks back.

    Consider Furman Bisher's words regarding the Braves in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday morning:

    Looking out across this grassy stage, with its infield like a brown vest, you come to wonder if you are seeing the last vestiges of the Braves' 10 years of good times they have bestowed upon their clientele. (Not counting 1994, when the players' strike wiped out everything.) They have lost the Championship Series before, too many times to strike for the rank of dynasty.

    But the business arms of Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz were younger and more resilient, and in Smoltz's case unaltered by surgical intrusion. Favorite old hands have moved on to other pastures and thrived. David Justice, Fred McGriff, Ryan Klesko, Bret Boone and Mike Stanton, to drop a few names still found in box scores. And Mark Lemke, Steve Avery, Jeff Blauser, Greg Olsen and Terry Pendleton, who have put their toys away."

    (Long Island, N.Y.) Newsday's esteemed columnist Steve Jacobson had a wonderful take:

    The sound that broke the quiet in the Braves' clubhouse was the bang bang banging of the clubhouse boys clapping spiked shoes together to dislodge the dirt of the season, and likely to interfere with the newspeople who had come as pallbearers. It was as if you could hear the dynasty break.

    So could the Braves.

    Added Bob Hohler of The Boston Globe:

    In a pennant-clinching display of power and grit, [Randy] Johnson put the wheezing Atlanta dynasty out of its misery by harnessing the Braves for seven innings of a 3-2 victory by the Arizona Diamondbacks before a postseason-puny crowd of 35,652 in the drear at Turner Field.

    And Paul Hagan of the Philadelphia Daily News:

    From Peachtree Street in the heart of the city to Buckhead and the outlying areas, tomahawk-choppers can spend another cold and empty winter wondering whether the Braves were beaten by the Arizona Diamondbacks in this autumn's National League Championship Series or if this most recent postseason demise was caused by self-inflicted wounds.

    The fans seemed to sense it, too. Oh, there were the tomahawk choppers out in force Sunday night at The Ted. But it was also the smallest night crowd in NLCS history. They sensed what was happening and so did many of the Braves.

    Atlanta's run may be finally coming to an end, a point Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle discussed with Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones. Said Jones:

    "Obviously this roll at some point is going to end," Jones said. "The window may be starting to close. We've ridden Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz for much of this run and these guys are getting up there."

    Said Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle:

    The Braves looked very old as they lost their third NLCS in their past four tries. Although they fought valiantly against a tiring Big Unit [Randy Johnson], they collapsed from the weight of their own mistakes.

    And so it goes. The Braves have been buried ... again. The Diamondbacks are the new kings in the National League. It was in all the papers.

    Kevin Czerwinski is a site reporter for MLB.com.