What Is the Meaning of the 1978 Atlanta Braves? (card 20 of 25)
(continued from Vic Correll)
The 1978 Atlanta Braves are a matter of inconsequential record now, all their games played, all their slim possibilities exhausted. But in cardboard form, they stand poised forever on the brink of that season. Most of them in this form are marked by signs—lackluster stats, enervated gazes, ill-advised perms—that the season to come will not go well, or even that they might not be a part of the season at all, but by their very presence in cardboard, as something to be held in the careful hands of boys from sea to shining sea, they are preserved in that slim in-breath of a moment at the center of existence: the moment of rickety hope, the moment of if and maybe. If all things break right, maybe we can contend. If everyone has the one season they were born to have, the Career Year, maybe we can be a team for the ages. If the pulse of something we love comes close enough to mesh with our own, if this feeling extends beyond something fleeting, if it becomes a hot streak such as the one that carried Buzz Capra through his one great season four years before this 1978 card (his last) appeared, if this happens to enough of us at once, maybe the 1978 Atlanta Braves will never be forgotten. If it happened once, as it did for Buzz Capra in 1974, maybe it can happen again. And if it happens again, we’ll hold on this time and never let go, no maybes about it.
(Love versus Hate update: Buzz Capra’s back-of-the-card “Play Ball” result has been added to the ongoing contest, which has reached the bottom of the ninth with Love down two runs and one out and one man aboard.)