The tomahawk chop, a postscript

John and I both wrote last night about the use of the tomahawk chop by fans of the Atlanta Braves. I speculated that even if the Atlanta Braves tried to stop fans from chopping, the effort would probably be unsuccessful.

Today, a Braves fan informs me that the Braves did, in fact, try to do away with the tomahawk chop two years ago. He writes:

On the first day of the 2019 NLDS, the Braves announced that they were no longer going to do the tomahawk chop as certain communities found it offensive. According to media accounts, the Braves’ players found out literally as they were headed to batting practice and were confused and upset.

The fans tried to keep the tradition going, but I remember a lot of TV trickery to try to minimize it as well as music played over it. Could that have been enough of an edge for the Cardinals to take the series in five games? Who can tell, but it certainly destroyed the home field advantage the Braves enjoy, as shown by this year’s playoffs.

Fast forward two years [Note: Fans were not allowed to attend games in 2020. The cardboard cut-outs who replaced them did not chop] and the Braves bureaucrats have changed their mind. Early in this season, they had a huge promotion at a home game where they invited representatives of various Native American communities. They even had one leader sit in the broadcast booth for an inning, extoling the virtues of the Braves and their outreach.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the chop was back, both on the organ and in the stands. I would love to know what happened behind closed doors to make that switch. I was one of many “I’m done with them!” fans after that series, which lasted about 15 minutes into the next season. And judging from the many tens of thousands of fans that have been in the ballpark and the battery this post season, I am not alone in refusing to be cancelled.

As John says, chop on!

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