The Atlanta Braves selectively and cynically scrubbed the “tomahawk chop” celebration ahead of Wednesday’s Game 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals. This did not go far enough, as was evidenced by defiant Braves fans loudly performing the chop almost immediately after the start of the game. Moments later—and I do mean just moments later—the Cardinals went ahead and silenced all cheers and chants and celebrations from the home crowd, by ending the game in the first inning.
The Braves did not pass out foam tomahawks to fans Wednesday, and they committed to withholding prompts for the chant whenever the one Native American player on either team was on the field. Braves fans, determined to own the libs and not caring at all who they offended along the way, let loose with a loud “tomahawk chop” after the game’s second pitch:
What followed was deeply satisfying for anyone who finds it impossible to support a team whose fans are this committed to a chant that was just described as disrespectful and hurtful by a member of the group it’s meant to reference, who plays for one of the teams on the field. Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz imploded; then Max Fried also imploded; the Cardinals pounced on every single mistake; and before the inning was over, the game was over.
There were several low points on this journey, which hilariously enough started with the Cardinals* playing small-ball and bunting Dexter Fowler to second following a leadoff walk. Dansby Swanson had to swallow the ball on a hard-hit grounder to short that under only slightly different circumstances would’ve been the second out of the inning. Freddie Freeman booted a sharp grounder to first off the bat of Game 4 hero Yadier Molina. Matt Carpenter drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home St. Louis’s second run. Fried, relieving Foltynewicz, walked the opposing pitcher with the bases loaded to plate the Cardinals’ fifth run. But definitely the saddest moment came with two outs, when Marcell Ozuna, batting for the second time in the inning, struck out on a 77-mph curveball, then reached first anyway and brought home St. Louis’s 10th run when Braves catcher Brian McCann let the ball get by and then slipped and fell while trying to play it off the backstop. Below is a video of the highlights of this disaster inning, which ended with a Yadier Molina ground-out. The music you hear is just the ambient sound from the stadium.
The lead was up to 13 runs by the bottom of the third inning. The 10 runs scored by the Cardinals are the most ever in the first inning of a postseason game, and are tied for the most runs scored in any postseason inning, ever. It’s truly a shame this humiliating 13–1 season-ending bludgeoning had to come at the hands of the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals, but it is otherwise not a shame at all.