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Whoever said baseball's fair?

"Whoever said baseball's fair?" Continued...

Issue: "Faith-based about-face," Aug. 27, 2005

The Braves have done so well year after year becaerm suffering is important but so is long-term merit. Consider the Atlanta Braves, a team that has won 13 consecutive division titles, the longest such streak in the history of any major American sport, but only one World Series-so it deserves another.

Sure, I like Atlanta's kid-friendly Turner Field, with areas under the stands like "Throwing Heat," "In Control," and "Outta the Park" at which up-and-comers can test their pitching and hitting. But other new ballparks have similar bells and whistles. What really impresses me is a successful organization that maintains continuity at the top, and the Braves have shown that with three key persons:

• General Manager John Schuerholz, 64, is in his 15th season with Atlanta-that's the longest tenure of any current general manager.

• Manager Bobby Cox, also 64, is in his 16th season in this, his second stint with Atlanta. (He managed the Braves from 1978 through 1981 and then the use they do a good job of assessing talent, they don't panic when the inevitable losing streak arrives, and they always have several veteran leaders who police the team.

(Ed: So the Braves are the most worthy and should win the World Series?)

No, St. Louis should: The Cardinals are the best team. Derailed last October only by the red-hot Red Sox, they deserve another shot.

(Ed: So, despite your brave talk, it all comes back to the Red Sox, doesn't it?)

Guess so.

."

The question about rookies reminds me that in this era of free-agency, judgment at the top is more important, year in/year out, than the strong arms and sweet swings of any particular players. The Braves have averaged 10 new faces each year on their 40-man roster, and the only current Braves player who has been on the team for all 13 of those championship years is . . .

John Smoltz, and that's another nice touch, because he's one of the Christians in baseball who walks the talk: He donated at least $2 million and a lot of his time to start a Christian school in suburban Atlanta, where his children and 300 or so others attend (WORLD, Aug. 2, 2002). He responded this summer that the school is "doing all right and getting to the critical points," which shows his understanding of the ways that educational success brings new challenges.

The Braves have done so well year after year because they do a good job of assessing talent, they don't panic when the inevitable losing streak arrives, and they always have several veteran leaders who police the team.

(Ed: So the Braves are the most worthy and should win the World Series?)

No, St. Louis should: The Cardinals are the best team. Derailed last October only by the red-hot Red Sox, they deserve another shot.

(Ed: So, despite your brave talk, it all comes back to the Red Sox, doesn't it?)

Guess so.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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