Until baseball returns in the United States, we've got to keep coming up with ways to keep ourselves entertained. There are only so many baseball movies and types of hot dogs that we can rank.
So for the next few weeks, we'll be taking a look at the best season in each team's history, going division by division starting with the NL East. The first team up is none other than the Atlanta Braves.
I've been a Braves fan my entire life, and while most of their success came before I was born or when I was too young to remember it, I have seen some pretty great seasons. But the one that I chose as their best season of all took place when I was just one year old.
I'm going with the 1998 Braves as the best team they have ever put on the field. This might get some criticism, especially considering the Braves won a World Series and five National League championships during the 90s, none of which happened in 1998. But over recent years I've realized that while postseason success is the ultimate goal, it's not an accurate measure of how good a team was.
The playoffs are really about who gets hot at the right time. The best team in the league might not have the momentum that they need at the end of the season to make it through the different rounds of postseason play, and for that reason, I'm choosing the 1998 Braves as their best season, even though they didn't get a World Series or National League championship out of it.
The 1998 Braves season was one of eight in their franchise history in which the team won 100 or more games. Atlanta finished with a record of 106-56, which was the most wins in team history and the eighth-best winning percentage in franchise history at .654.
The team produced six All-Stars, four more than in its 1995 championship season. Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Walt Weiss, Andres Galarraga, Tom Glavine and Javy Lopez were all selected to the Midsummer Classic. Jones, Maddux and Weiss were all starters in the game.
Glavine won the NL Cy Young Award and Silver Slugger at the pitcher position, while Andruw Jones and Maddux each won Gold Gloves.
The team posted a run differential of 245 in 1998, while coming in second in WAR. The Braves were fourth in the league in home runs in '98 and finished in the top 10 in most offensive categories.
While they weren't able to finish the postseason strong, ultimately losing to the Padres in the NLCS, the 1998 Braves were a force to be reckoned with on the field and were arguably the best team that the franchise has ever put together.