Originally created 10/07/04

Few turn out as Braves waver in series opener



ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves' annual chase of the Fall Classic began Wednesday afternoon.

But fans seem to be expecting the Braves' postseason to be more fall than classic.

The Braves surprising run to their 13th consecutive division title didn't bolster many fans' hopes for the playoffs, at least those on hand for the opener.

Questions such as, "Is this the year?" elicited skepticism. Many fans cited the Braves' history: four trips to the World Series and one championship in their 12 previous playoffs appearances.

And that was before the Braves lost 9-3 to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the division series.

One fan who arrived in the third inning with Atlanta trailing 4-1 answered pensively.

"Crap, they got four already," said the man, who wouldn't give his name because he sneaked out of work early to attend the game.

The announced crowd of 41,646 fans was the smallest since the fifth game of the 2001 National League Championship Series.

Whole sections of Turner Field's upper deck were empty, and other parts of the stadium were sparsely populated.

While beer stands did a steady business, even the most diehard fans lost interest as the Braves fell further behind.

Fans had little to chop about with the red foam tomahawks passed out to them as they entered the stadium.

Reach Adam Van Brimmer at (404) 589-8424 or adam.vanbrimmer@morris.com.