Winning pennants has never been as automatic. Last night our Atlanta Braves clinched their unprecedented (in any sport) 14th consecutive divisional title. And this particular title has to rank with the original in 1991 as the least expected of them all – making it that much sweeter. John Smoltz, who alone has participated in all 14 titles, admitted that earlier in the year he wasn’t sure this one was possible: “I didn’t think it was possible from the time we left Spring Training with all the things that we were dealing with. Who could have imagined  rookies coming up here at different times.” The Braves have overcome injuries and bad free agent signings (remember Raul Mondesi and Dan Kolb) with the play of the “Baby Braves” and the long-awaited emergence of MVP candidate Andruw Jones.
Will the infusion of young talent give the Braves a passion and exuberance they have seemed to lack in many postseasons? Hopefully so. The clubhouse celebration was reportedly more raucous than in previous years. Naysayers will predict an early exit. Cardinal fans are assuming the World Series is theirs. Let them think that way. We will see.