ATLANTA — Surveys indicate the majority of baseball fans around the country are rooting for the Atlanta Braves in this World Series, solidifying the team’s hold on the title America’s Team.
In 1966, the Braves said good-bye to Milwaukee and became Atlanta’s Team. The city embraced both the Braves and the Atlanta Falcons as the two professional sports teams began play in the same year in the same stadium.
What followed was a lot of years of losing.
“I was in Atlanta when we would say go Braves and take the Falcons with you,” Braves fan Bill Emeott said.
Despite decades of losing, the Braves eventually became known as America’s team. Here’s Why.
In 1976, Ted Turner bought the Braves. The billionaire broadcast mogul owned a local television station called WTCG. The station had the local television rights to air Braves games. Turner was already in the process of expanding WTCG’s signal beyond Atlanta, so Braves games could be seen in several southern states.
Then, in December of 1976, WTCG became Superstation WTBS. Using satellite and cable outlets, The Superstation beamed professional wrestling, movies, and Braves games all over the country. Baseball fans in Los Angeles could watch Dale Murphy and Bob Horner take on the New York Mets.
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It was Turner who bestowed the Braves with the name America’s Team. It was hard to argue with the title when fans in the northeast and Midwest could rattle off the names of Braves players they saw on their television screens every night.
When the losing ended, and the Braves started their historic playoff run in the 90s, the team became even more popular.
Ted Turner no longer owns the Braves. TBS stopped airing games in 2007. the name America’s team seemed to be slipping away.
Then came this Braves season, one that has captivated the entire country and seems to suggest that the Braves are indeed America’s team.