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Joe: You see some fair-weather fans, but 12 years of championship baseball has gotten them a solid fan base. That's not going to go away if they have an off-season or two. It's still early. The national media always gives Atlanta a bad rap, not only in baseball but in football and deservedly in basketball. It's only because we're not New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. There may be resentment because the fan base was originally built on Ted Turner's Superstation and he was a pioneer and a lot of people are jealous of him.

Nubyjas: In a city where there's so much to do, who wants to spend a hundred bucks at a ballpark to watch a losing team when you can take 50 bucks and go out on a nice date? You don't have a lot of natives, and people here are very trendy. If the Braves don't win, they'll take their money elsewhere. You remember the '80s. Nobody came to the ballpark. And attendance fell off after '94 because people got used to it and it wasn't the hot thing to do anymore.

Ronda: Attendance is up. I attribute that to the new players. So winning is not as important this year. The fans are into the new team. They want to see them build up again. They got tired of some of the older ones. [Gary] Sheffield didn't even try. He wouldn't run for anything in the playoffs. You started to get the feeling from the older players that they didn't really want to be here. Now there's new blood, new energy, younger guys. It rubs off on the fans.


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