I had it in my head to go and see the Braves Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
It was probably running into Cal Wednesday evening that had me worked up. Cal and I saw many games in the ’70’s and ’80’s when we were younger and baseball was less expensive. We were both available at short notice and all it took was one of us deciding that he felt like driving that night and picking up the phone and dialing up the other. We peaked in the early ’80’s catching 20+ games a couple of years.
Most games we could park in the shadow of the stadium, but a five dollar ticket, go in, and sit anywhere that we wanted. For most of the ’70’s we were allowed to carry a thermos in and I had one that held nine short Buds that I took to every game. No expensive stadium draft beer. It was a cheap night out.
Now I’ve been priced out of Turner Field, but I still try to make it to a couple of games a year.
I haven’t been this year and I didn’t make it Sunday. Friday evening I had to put a new battery in my car and that left me cash poor and sitting at home Sunday afternoon with the game on TV.
Reno stopped by and we re-lived our recent cross country drive through the photographs that I took along the way. As we once again marveled at the hoodoos and mountain landscapes of the west, we didn’t even notice that Shelby Miller had a no hitter going until it was gone.
The no hitter was gone. The shutout was gone. It was tied one to one and Reno left for Oconee County saying that he’d catch the rest on his way home.
But I was really excited. Peter Moylan was coming in. The Braves had made another move that I love. Moylan is one of my all time favorite Braves bullpen guys. Bobby Cox used to bring him in with one out, runners on first and third and he’d get a ground ball every time. Add in his Aussie accent and his great tattoos and I don’t know what more you could ask of a reliever. Now he’s back.
I think that this has been a great season for the Braves. Maybe the best since ’91, only time will tell. During the spring I thought that we were going to be stuck with whatever his first name is this week in centerfield and I’m going to destroy this ice chest in the dugout because it made me strike out on third.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no longer upset at Melvin or Chris or any of the rest of the dead wood that we jettisoned this season. I hope they all bat .400 for their new teams. I’m just glad that they are no longer Braves.
We now have a team loaded with talented young players. Potential is always a double edged sword, but the Braves are now so loaded with potential that they are really fun to watch. Sprinkle in a handful of veterans who play hard and play right and we’ll weather the inconsistences of youth and emerge as contenders sooner rather than later.
Wednesday night Cal was singing the praises of Maybin in centerfield. Bottom on the tenth Sunday Maybin led off with a game winning homer. Two to one Braves win. Shoot, they may not lose again this year.