”My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”

- Hank Aaron

Another season filled to the brim with hope topped by another let down for the Atlanta Braves in the National League playoffs.

It’ll be “we’ll get ‘em next year” for the 25th straight year after Braves fans were heartbroken for the 19th time since 1991. That’s 19 out of 20 playoff appearances, and 21 out of 22 since moving to Atlanta.

Atlanta had us all believing, sweeping their way through the wild card round and National League Division Series, then went up a quick 2-0 on the almighty Dodgers. After the series went 2-1, the Braves got their mojo back and put their feet firmly on the necks of the Los Angeles team, moving to 3-1 and coming within 12 outs of their first World Series berth since last century.

We saw several former Rome Braves — Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley and Max Fried to name a few — really shine in the playoffs. The call for Freeman to be named the MVP was magic as homer after homer sailed over the fence.

Then ... Atlanta sports happened. We all knew it was coming.

The whole world knew the Braves would find a creative way to blow it and they did, by losing three straight games to let the Dodgers through a wide open door to face an underdog Tampa Bay team for the title.

Atlanta went into the playoffs without their ace, Mike Soroka, and that’d be a fine excuse, but that wasn’t what caused the choke. The offense went all but ice cold, leaving more base runners stranded in the clutch than a three hour tour with Gilligan and the Skipper. A money bullpen that could do no wrong turned into a roller coaster ride and some of the most fundamentally sound players in baseball turned into little leaguers running the bases.

To move on, the Braves and their fans must own it. The future is bright, but trips to a league championship series don’t come easy. This team was a few outs from the World Series three straight days and blew it — plain and simple.

What do we do now? Accept it and chop on until next season.

On to a rough, but hopefully appropriate, segue. Something else that could have used some time on the chopping block is the flood of crap surrounding the presidential race.

The good thing is that both candidates need those undecided votes and are campaigning for them. Polls are showing a close race and we’re seeing the vitriol spew forth.

The bad thing, or things, well there are too many to name — but here’s a question, is anyone else tired of this type of campaigning?

It’s continued the long downward spiral of “don’t vote for that person” instead of giving people reasons why they SHOULD vote for a candidate. Are we imagining there was a time when candidates debated policy instead of talking over one another to see would be the first person to reach crazytown?

Look, if you’re tired of this as we are — take a look at how any candidate comports themself and vote appropriately. There may be a primarily two party system at this point, but that doesn’t mean the best person for the job is in the party you identify with.

Nearly everything has become a politicized talking point — the pandemic, public safety, substance abuse, poverty, guns, religion — for God’s sake can we not actually have a discussion?

It’s a sad state of affairs and a terrible thing to watch play out as conspiracy theories are given equal voice with science and evidence.

Not right now as we all emulate the debate tactics of our country’s leaders: Yell until your voice is heard.

It’s disheartening to see a journalist called to task for not controlling a debate by those who are seeking to lead this country. There should not have to be a mute button in a presidential debate — leaders should know how to act with honor and dignity. A person who accepts the terms of a debate and cannot abide by them should not be in charge.

It makes no sense. And while you can keep your choices to yourself — as it should be — we urge you to vote your conscience.

Thank you for reading.

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