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Braves will try to let last year slip away
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ATLANTA  — Brandon Beachy did his best to forget what happened at the end of last season.
It all came back to him this past weekend, when the Braves pitcher was in St. Louis visiting his college roommate.
Everywhere Beachy looked, there were shirts, caps and other gear celebrating the Cardinals’ improbable World Series championship.
A title, of course, that came at Atlanta’s expense.
“They’re lucky we lost that last game,” Beachy said, managing a weak smile.
Beachy and a handful of his teammates were back at Turner Field on Monday to begin two weeks of informal workouts before the team heads to Florida for spring training.
Naturally, the subject of what happened at the end of last season came up very quickly.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. The Braves blew it, becoming the first franchise ever to squander an eight-game lead in September with a playoff spot on the line.
Instead, the Cardinals clinched the NL wild card on the final day of the regular season. Then, as if rubbing more salt in the Braves’ wounds, St. Louis went on to win two playoff series before taking the championship with a thrilling seven-game win over the Texas Rangers in the World Series.
For the Braves, it’s time to move on.
There’s not much more they can do.
“On Jan. 1, the calendar turned over to 2012,” pitching coach Roger McDowell said. “So, it is a new year. Like any other experience you go through — good, bad or indifferent — you learn from it and move on.”
Nevertheless, the Braves figure to be one of the most intriguing teams this season. Unlike Boston, which had a similar meltdown on the AL side and now has a new manager and general manager, Atlanta will go into the season with largely the same cast that appeared to have a playoff spot all locked up with a month to go, only to come up one game short.
All those guys who endured so much disappointment last September will try to put it in the rearview mirror.
“What happens in the past won’t dictate what happens in the future,” McDowell insisted.
Pitcher Derek Lowe, a huge disappointment, was traded to Cleveland (though the Braves still are paying $10 million of his salary). Hitting coach Larry Parrish was let go after one season. Otherwise, not much changed — which sparked plenty of grumbling from the team’s fans.

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