There's always a part of me that will be a Buffalo Braves fan. The team started play the year I arrived in Buffalo. I went to several games a year, year after year. My dad always seemed willing to take me down to Memorial Auditorium for a game, no matter how tired he was from work. He gets some serious props for that in hindsight. When I was in college out of town, I went to as many games as I could. One year I think I saw a quarter of the home games -- no small task when living 150 miles away. Gotta love those bargain seats in the end zone.
The Braves were more exciting than they were good. They started out like any expansion team -- poor -- but slowly built up their talent base. Bob McAdoo remains the best shooting big man I've ever seen. Randy Smith got better every year, to the point where he should have retired the NBA's Most Improved Player award. Ernie DiGregorio was always capable of putting the fans out of their seats on a fast break.
The team moved to San Diego in a complicated transaction in 1978, and generally has been forgotten about by everyone who didn't live in Buffalo in the 1970's. Indeed, it's one of the great "What ifs?" in Buffalo sports -- what if the Braves had hung around until Magic and Bird entered the NBA in 1979 and made the league trendy?
Oh well. I'm left with memories. Between that and the Internet, it was easy to come up with a history of the franchise. You can reach it at http://bufffalobraves.homestead.com. It's mostly a narrative of the eight seasons, but I've added the covers of the media guides (I don't have the second one -- sorry -- although I'm trying to borrow it) and programs along with the ticket stub from the last home game in history to the site. It was fun to look around the Internet and see what had been posted on the Braves. Who knew Dick Gibbs had substance abuse problems?
Having your favorite team move away will take away the innocence of a sports fan in no time. There are those in Brooklyn who still miss the Dodgers, more than 50 years later. This is a little bit of a substitute.
And with luck, I'll find out who scored the first basket in Braves' history. That fact isn't anywhere.