Nothing is worse than Jim Leyritz
Mark Bradley is calling the Hawks’ most recent loss worse than Jim Leyritz homer in 1996. I didn’t catch the Hawks game tonight, and it sounds like an epic collapse. But I have a hard time believing it is “worse” than Jim Leyritz, because nothing is worse than Jim Leyritz. Not even Kent Hrbek or Kriby Puckett. Braves fans will know what I mean – the thought of Hrbek and Puckett just make me sigh and wish what could have been. The pain is still there, but it is a dull disappointment.
Jim Leyritz. Just thinking of this man cause my face to twist into a scowl. I am literally writing this with a curled lip. Jim Leyrtiz and his crazy legs, twirling his bat. WHO BATS LIKE THAT?? My heart rate increases, I grind my teeth, and I honestly kind of feel like vomiting. I hate this man. I imagine it is comparable to what Bostonians felt about Bill Buckner or that guy who caught the foul ball at Wrigley.
See, this Hawks collapse, you could sort of see this coming. These Hawks haven’t been able to hold a lead for the last month of the season. I told James that the Hawks would break his heart when he decided he would start following them. “Even if they get good, it will only be to tease you before they let you down.” James doesn’t know what it is like to be an Atlanta sports fan, so he gets a pass. Sure, he’s a Cubs fan, which comes with its own neuroses, but he doesn’t know our franchises. The Hawks, they are simply playing their role. This loss doesn’t really change anything about the franchise.
Leyrtiz. Leyritz killed the Braves. The Braves had finally, finally escaped decades of ineptitude and won the whole deal in 1995. They shook the “always a brides’ maid, never a bride” stuff. They were dominant, and they had just won the first two games in New York. Against the g-d Yankees. This series was OURS. Welcome to the New World Order, baseball.
And then Leyrtiz hit that hanging slider. The Braves lost four games in a row, lost the series to the damn Yankees, and were never the same again. In 1997 Florida (Florida! who we beat by 9 games in the regular season) beat us in the NLCS. We lost to the Padres in 1998. The Yankees swept us in 1999, and only one game was even close. We only got out of the divisional round once in the next six years.
Jim Leyrtiz killed what was becoming the most dominant franchise in baseball and ushered in a new era of Yankee worship. He ripped out this franchise’s heart and left it beating on home plate. Fourteen years later, the Braves still haven’t recovered. I defy the a lowly first round loss by the fourth best team in the lesser division to compare to Jim Fucking Leyritz. Yeah, maybe as far as single game choke-jobs go, it was pretty epic. But worse? Not even close.