When you grow up in the midst of the Atlanta Braves’ streak of 14 consecutive division titles – something that’ll never be done again in Major League Baseball – it always seemed like we’d notice even the littlest missteps, if they ever came along.
So it’s a little strange that in 2016, the Braves will mark 15 – fifteen! – years since the franchise’s last playoff series victory, and 20 years since the last time they won a World Series game.
Flash back to Oct. 21, 1996. The Braves had just taken the first two games of the World Series from the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium and were returning home for three games. It was supposed to be the perfect opportunity to win two games at Fulton County Stadium and clinch the second consecutive championship at home.
The Braves wouldn’t win another game that year, and after getting swept by the Yankees in the 1999 Fall Classic, Atlanta has yet to return to the World Series.
The success would continue in terms of division titles until 2005, but the Braves haven’t had any postseason success whatsoever after sweeping the Houston Astros in the 2001 National League Divisional Series. Since then, they’ve been bounced in the first round of the playoffs in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2013, with a 2012 Wild Card Game loss in there as well.
Some memories we have in the Turner Field era.
Because the Braves are odds-on favorites to finish dead-last in the National League East this season, it’s not likely that either streak will end in 2016. That means the World Series drought would enter its third decade as the Braves enter their new digs at SunTrust Park.
The rebuild is almost complete, and after a rough 2016, the ’17 campaign should put the Braves a lot closer to the postseason, or maybe even in the playoffs, if the young squad overachieves. But even if this young crop of talent brings us a decade of success, it won’t get any easier to fathom how this franchise fell so far in the late ’90s and early 2000s.
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