Georgia Republicans are whining about the Braves taking away the foam tomahawks

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Yesterday the Braves made the decision not to issue those toy foam tomahawks to fans in SunTrust Park and said that they would not play the Tomahawk Chop music if or when Cardinals reliever — and Native American — Ryan Helsley came into the game for the Cardinals.

It all ended up being much ado about nothing, of course. For one thing, they still played the damn Tomahawk Chop music, even when when they were down by a dozen runs, which is rather pathetic.  For another thing, fans, many of whom brought their own foam tomahawks, still did their whooping, again, even though the team was in a hopeless hole out of which it had no chance of climbing. For a third thing, Helsley didn’t even appear in the game, so there wasn’t even a moment when, if the fans wanted to chop and whoop, the team might do anything less than lustily encourage them to do it. He didn’t need to come into the game, of course, because the Braves pinched off one of the worst performances any team has ever given in postseason history.

You’d think that’d be enough to put any whining on the part of Tomahawk Chop dead-enders to rest, but nah.

My comments and mentions are some great evidence of that. Indeed, you would not believe the epithets some of my Braves fan readers/followers hurled at Helsley for his simple act of honestly answering a question about whether he enjoyed 40,000 people mocking and caricaturing his race at the prompting of a major league baseball team. Well, maybe you would believe it, but lemme tell ya, some people get seriously emotional and angry when they’re politely asked to consider the feelings of racial or ethnic minorities.

More evidence of it: Georgia Republicans are having a temper tantrum about the, again, wholly symbolic act the Braves took which did absolutely nothing to prevent either the team or its fans from doing the same things they always do. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“This. Is. Painful,” tweeted state Rep. Trey Kelley, one of the top Republicans in the Georgia House, midway through the team’s first-inning implosion. “Have to feel this is karma for the unjustified and rash decision to do away with foam tomahawks.”

He’s literally claiming that taking away a toy caused supernatural forces to make Mike Foltynewicz suck. And he’s in charge of legislation in the eighth-largest state in the country.

Nick Ayers, the former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence and a veteran Georgia operative, had a curt reaction to the team’s first-inning struggles. “Maybe don’t ban the tomahawk chop next time?”

Again: no one banned the Tomahawk Chop. They didn’t give fans a free toy. They still played the music and fans did the Chop. They simply did not give out toys.

Debbie Dooley, a Georgia tea party organizer, said the Braves “jinxed itself by catering to a politically correct snowflake” and suggested the team change its name to “Atlanta Snowflakes.”

On the one hand, this would be a way better name than one that inspires the use of offensive Native American iconography. On the other hand, it may be worth examining who is the bigger snowflake: a Native American man who, again, merely answered a question posed to him about whether he thought it was cool for his entire race to be mocked or a politician who is having a meltdown over not being given a foam toy.

Erick Erickson, the conservative commentator, highlighted images of fans swinging oversized tomahawks. “Braves refuse to go with the Tomahawk Chop and get crushed on the field,” Erickson wrote. “Fitting and embarrassing.”

Not as embarrassing as lying about and casting aspersions on teenaged survivors of mass shootings, calling a Supreme Court justice a “goat f*****g child molester,” making all manner of extremely ugly attacks on other public figures, and thinking that the world needs more murderous dictators who throw political opponents out of helicopters, but sure, embarrassing. I mean, some baseball fans didn’t get a foam toy. A FOAM TOY.

I have no idea why these babies are crying so hard. I suspect that the Braves, despite their half-hearted feint at doing a decent thing yesterday, will revert back to form next season, will hand out foam toys and will blare the faux-Native American “warpath” music while encouraging fans to whoop it up the first time they get a man on first base. It’ll be way worse then, of course, because when it happens it will come in the wake of the Braves actually having acknowledged, at least momentarily, that it might be offensive to encourage that, but I am pretty sure it will happen all the same.

At which point, I presume, these Republicans will be totally thrilled. Because the only thing they seem to enjoy more than being carelessly insensitive to the feelings of racial minorities is being actively dismissive of those feelings with full, conscious knowledge that they are doing so.

And hey, they’ll get their toys back too.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.