10/02/2003 7:25 PM ET
Braves have the right attitude
CHICAGO -- When Gary Sheffield was playing in the 1997 National League Championship Series, he had the sense that he and his Marlins teammates were playing against a Braves team that lacked emotion.
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
Now that Sheffield has been a part of the Braves organization for the past two years, he has come to respect and understand the business-like approach to which fans in Atlanta have become accustomed over the past decade.
But at the same time, Sheffield believes that if the Braves are going to reach their ultimate goal this year, he and his teammates are going to need to show some of the same emotion the fist-pumping Mark DeRosa displayed as he cruised into second base with a game-winning double in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
DeRosa's display of emotion was justified in the fact that his game-winner enabled the Braves to even the best-of-five series at one game apiece and head into Friday night's Game 3 against Mark Prior and the Cubs with momentum.
"That's just part of the game," Sheffield said of DeRosa's actions. "Regardless of how the other team might take it, everybody should be excited when they get a big hit or something big happens in a big situation. Everybody can feed off of that because you want to be out there pumping your fist also."
Sheffield remembers as the 1997 NLCS wore on that he and his Marlins teammates gained confidence because they never got the sense the Braves had the killer instinct that is necessary in the postseason.
"You have to show the other team that you are a little bit cocky," Sheffield said. "Because if you just sit there and act like everything is all right, your opponent feeds off that because they feel like they got you and that fuels them. That's why everybody hates the Braves, because we go about our business in a quiet manner."
But the departure of such players as the poker-faced Tom Glavine, who had an uncanny ability to hide his emotions, has opened the door to new regulars like Robert Fick and Marcus Giles, who have raised the volume of emotion around the Braves clubhouse.
"I think we're starting to kind of turn that corner from being a quiet 'let our actions do the talking' team to a little more excited team," Giles said. "To me, it's a lot more fun this way."
But really when it comes down to it, the only way to have fun is to win.
"If you want to be crazy, go crazy," Braves backup outfielder Darren Bragg said. "If you want to be mild, be mild. But the bottom line is just win."
Mike Hampton, a man whose competitive fire has never been questioned, seems to have easily adapted to the Braves' ways this year.
"I kind of call it a quiet confidence," Hampton said of the Braves' approach. "We have a lot of confident players on our team. The best team is going to win. Whoever shows up and plays the best is going to win."
But Giles realizes it's going to take a lot more than just showing up if the Braves are going to achieve their ultimate goal this year.
"I think we need to make things happen and not just sit back and wait," Giles said. "When you play good teams, nothing is going to be given to you. If we wait for things to be given to us, we're going to be in our LAZY-BOY next [week] watching the NLCS."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or