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You Play To Win The Game.

“Win or go home.”

That’s what happens in a best of 7 series. You either win or you go home.

The same is true in a game 5 of a five game series. You either win that game or you go home.

On Wednesday night, in Major League Baseball’s National League Division Series (NLDS) there were two game fives. If you are a fan of the game, it was set up to be a great night of watching America’s pastime. The Dodgers were set to take on the Washington “Natinals” (not a typo) in the late game while earlier, the St. Louis Cardinals traveled to Atlanta to face the Braves.

The Dodgers, Nats and Cardinals were all focused on baseball. After all, as we said, the losers of these two games were going to go home for the season.

The Atlanta Braves were concentrating on something else – the so called “tomahawk chop.”

Ever since the early 1990’s the team had used the chop as a rallying cry for fans in the stands. Thousands of people doing the chop in unison as well as the accompanying music and cheer was a unifying message to the team, as well as to opposing teams.

Editor’s Note: We aren’t fans of the “chop” as it seems rather silly to us and was stolen borrowed from Florida State University. That’s just us, however.

Prior to the game – arguably the biggest game of the season for the Braves – the Braves announced they would be scaling back on the “tomahawk chop” because a member of the St. Louis Cardinals was offended by it.

The Atlanta Braves took action to “reduce the Tomahawk Chop” for Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

The decision was a response to recent concerns voiced by Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation and expressed displeasure with the chop during Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta.

As part of their efforts, the Braves did not distribute foam tomahawks to each seat for Game 5.

The Braves also announced that they would not play the accompanying music to the chant or use any “Chop-related graphics” on the scoreboard when Helsley was in the game.
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“We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason continues,” the team’s statement read in part.

The “concerns” and whatever you want to call it from a member of the other team resulted in changes.

ATLANTA — When fans arrived at SunTrust Park for Game 5 of the National League Division Series, one of the most important playoff games for the Atlanta Braves in more than a decade, there was something missing from their seats Wednesday, something subtle.

The foam tomahawks that had been placed at each seat before games 1 and 2 of this series against the Cardinals were not there this time.

Rookie Ryan Helsley’s comments after Game 1 about how he found the Braves’ ‘Tomahawk Chop’ chant “a disappointment” and “disrespectful” to his Cherokee heritage prompted the Braves to consider how they promote the cheer and how they could alter their game-day practices as a result of Helsley’s thoughts.

Two officials at the ballpark confirmed that the foam tomahawks were not at the seats in response to Helsley’s comments and the conversations the team had as a result of them.

There will be other changes during the in-game entertainment and fan interaction involving the “chop” that will be different from games 1 and 2.

“We’re sensitive to it,” a Braves spokesperson said.

While the Braves were being “sensitive,” the Cardinals were focused on the task at hand.

By the end of the first inning, the Cardinals had scored 10 runs, tying a record for most runs in an inning in post-season history:

  • 2019 Cardinals Braves ALDS 10
  • 2002 Angels Twins ALCS 10
  • 1968 Tigers Cardinals WS 10
  • 1929 Athletics Cubs WS 10
  • Talk about laying an egg.

    Wow.

    The final was 13 – 1. The Cardinals advance to the National League Championship Series while the Braves pack their bags and talk about spring training.

    While we were watching / listening to the game, we kept thinking “why wasn’t the discontinuation of the ‘chop’ something to be done after the series or after the season? Why now? Why the distraction?”

    After all, the Braves had been using the hash tag and logo of “ChopOn” all season long.

    We are not saying that the chop should not be discussed, but there is a time and a place for everything. After playing 84 games in a stadium where fans were encouraged to “chop” and yell, on the biggest game of the season, the Braves decided to make a “social justice,” “politically correct” decision based on the feelings of an opponent?

    Really?

    If you are a Braves player and you are used to the noise, the fan involvement and the home field atmosphere that you played for all season, what are you supposed to think when someone in management says “change this” the prior to game five?

    You get the impression that the people in the Atlanta Braves offices forgot that you “play to win the game.”

    There is a certain karma to this type of thing.

    Instead of focusing on the game and the Cardinals, the Braves focused on the chop.

    Now they get to think about it until spring training starts.



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