A Turning Point?

At 16-35, the Montreal Expos are no one's idea of a good baseball team. Rocky Biddle is no one's idea of Eric Gagne. And with a 6.88 ERA and 4.24 K/9 rate, I'm not sure if he's anybody's idea of Don Wengert...

It's amazing how little that all mattered when Nick Green's homerun landed in the left field bleachers and tied Tuesday's game in the bottom of the ninth inning.

And it's amazing how little it all mattered when on the very next pitch a rare J.D. Drew wall-scraper eluded Juan Rivera's outstretched glove and won Tuesday's game.

What did matter was a winter's worth of prognosticators gleefully shoveling dirt on an organization desperately pointing out to the Dead Collector that they aren't quite there yet.

What mattered was a game gained in the standings when it looked for all the world like fans would have to go home happy in the knowledge that no games were lost.

For a team who's had about as much success getting over .500 as Calista Flockhart as had getting over 200 lbs, that's more broken bones and battered bodies as the set of "Jackass: The Movie", 26-25, a .510 winning percentage, and a "3.5" in the GB column must look like salvation.

One should hesitate to let the emotions of a tremendous victory push you into writing stupid words like "destiny" or "magical." I spent most of 2003 reading Joe Posnanski write the same column two days a week until the end of September, and while it was very inspirational (when Joe Posnanski writes something, it almost always is) and it made everything sound very noble and uplifting, the Royals eventually ran head on into a wall of thin pitching, injuries and the assembled might of some very scorned statistical concepts.

No one should expect Nick Green to play at this level for long. And while Drew can be expected to play like this, it's hard not to worry about a flukey accident with a book or something.

Making three errors in a game and generally playing like the Braves played on Tuesday won't win many games.

But it won this one. It was the high point of a season that heretofore has consisted of sloppy, uninspired play punctuated only occasionally by flashes of a still-proud organization's supposedly vanished greatness.

I can't say that in three months we'll look back on June 1st as the day that propelled the Braves to their 96 wins. I can't promise that we won't look back on it as an oasis of euphoria amidst a desert.

But tonight, it feels pretty good.

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