This was going to be the year.
The smart money had the Phillies and the Marlins finally kicking dirt on the Braves decade-plus dominance of their division.
Long-time stars like Maddux, Glavine, Millwood, and Lopez were gone. Short-term hole-pluggers like Ortiz, Sheffield, and J.D. Drew were likewise. Creaky old Smoltz was going to blow out his elbow once and for all by being forced back into a starting role, depriving the team of the dominant closer they'd enjoyed for the past three seasons. Some pre-season pundits were picking the Braves to finish dead last in the division.
As the season wore on, things just got worse: Three starting pitchers (but not creaky old Smoltz), the team's star hitter, and the starting catcher all went down for various lengths of time, and the leadoff hitter went into a spectacular slump.
Where does this leave us in mid-September?
It leaves us with Triple-A Richmond being six games out in front of the NL East, that's where.
Gotta love it.