We live in a world where instant gratification is supreme. We want it, and we want it now. Not tomorrow, but today.
In a way, mankind has become that spoiled child in the backseat of a car wanting an ice cream right now. Not tomorrow, but today.
Sometimes that doesn’t work in sports. Sometimes you have to be patient. Sometimes you have to wait and even suffer through hard times to get something that might be special.
The Atlanta Braves are rebuilding. There, I wrote it – the dreaded ‘R” word. It hasn’t happened in 30 years, so people aren’t enjoying it very much. Braves fans have been that spoiled child in the backseat, expecting a winning team each and every year – and for the most part, since 1991, they’ve gotten it.
It hasn’t happened the last two years, and chances are it won’t happen in 2016 either. The Braves were 67-95 last season, and it would be nice to think they can turn it around in one year and go 95-67. Let’s prepare ourselves since this simply won’t happen.
Braves fans would love for the team to go out and spend money to improve the team for next season. Well, isn’t it more important to make sure the organization is getting better right now, which might not necessarily show results in 2016? The Braves may be better next season, but they still won’t be ready to compete for a World Series.
They need to make steady progress. Go from 67 wins to maybe 75-81 wins, and then when Sun Trust Park opens up in 2017 maybe the team will be ready to at least compete for a wildcard spot. Maybe by then they’ll be ready to be a winning team and prepare for 2018 when maybe they’ll be good enough to be mentioned as a World Series contender.
It’s a rebuilding process, and those don’t work out overnight. Atlanta is accumulating talent, and the farm system is already one of the best in the game. This time next year, after the Braves have the third pick in the draft and sign more international players, there’s no doubt in my mind they will have the very best minor league system in baseball.
That should set the table for what’s to come – a better future, a future where once again the Braves are in the conversation each and every year as a potential World Series team. Remember, the Braves haven’t won a playoff series since 2001. That’s 15 years, a long time. It’s time for this franchise to try and be great again, like it was in the 1990s. That’s what this rebuilding process is all about.
Then you’ve got the situation in Athens. Kirby Smart has been on the job only a couple of days, but the expectations are already out of whack. Some of the comments are coming from supporters of the former coach, but either way, realism needs to set in.
Mark Richt was given 15 years to get Georgia a championship. It didn’t happen, so he’s in Miami now. But to think or expect that Smart has to come in and win a title from day one is just unrealistic.
Georgia needs more talent. If you watched the championship games last Saturday, you know that Georgia’s talent isn’t in the same ballpark as many of those teams. There is no quarterback. They need a significant upgrade on both lines of scrimmage. They need depth. They need more offensive playmakers.
There will be some that will go nuts next year if Richt’s Miami Hurricanes are better than Georgia. That could happen. Miami has a quarterback, a good one, in rising junior Brad Kaaya. But it really would be irrelevant to bring it up, even though it will inevitably be mentioned by Richt’s supporters.
Smart has a lot of work to do. He might be shocked to find out how much he has to do to get the Georgia program where he wants it to be. So it’s going to take time, and the fans have to be patient and realize that.
It’s not something any fan wants to have, but those who love the Braves and the Bulldogs, patience will be a virtue.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.