The Braves have been the best team in baseball from start to finish, led by their historic offense. This very well may be the best lineup from top to bottom that has ever been put together. They’ve already clinched a first-round bye, and in a few days, they will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
However, as Braves fans know all too well, what happens during the regular season gets thrown out the window come October. The Braves have finished with the best record in baseball several times over the last few decades, and they’ve fallen short in the postseason more times than I can count.
It would feel dirty if this historic offense didn’t end up holding up the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the season. With those expectations, comes pressure, but how much pressure do the Braves have on their shoulder’s compared to other teams?
According to Bradford Doolittle of ESPN, not much. He recently went threw the list of contenders using a model he created and ranked the teams from most pressure to least, and the Braves came in at 16th out of 17 clubs.
For the Braves, champions just two years ago, the only pressure stems from the fact that they are just so good. They’ll enter the playoffs as heavy favorites to win their second title in three years. The pressure points system gives Atlanta a break, but when you’re supposed to win, that favorite’s status generates its own tension
I’m just going to call a spade a spade, this system needs to be thrown in the garbage. The reason is these “pressure points” are built up by good teams that haven’t won a World Series recently.
The system is built on the year-by-year accumulation of “pressure points.” There are three ways to compile pressure points:
1. Not winning the World Series.
2. Not winning a pennant.
3. Having a “good” season (defined as .500 or better in this adaptation of the James system) without winning a pennant or title.
That’s something that should be taken into account, but expectations trump everything when it comes to pressure.
Nobody on the Milwaukee Brewers — the team that Doolittle had as his #1 team in these pressure rankings — is feeling pressure because their organization has never won a World Series. Most of them have only been there for a few years. Conversely, most of the guys who helped the Braves to the World Series in 2021 aren’t even on the team anymore.
The Braves are the best team in baseball. Everyone who pays attention to the sport acknowledges that. There are expectations in Atlanta of a World Series title. Anything less than that is a massive disappointment. I’m not sure there’s another team in Major League Baseball that can say that.
With those expectations, comes October pressure. Thankfully, the Braves have proven in the past they can rise to the occasion.
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