Is it weird to be this emotional about a building? I really don’t think so. Plenty of people have a special connection to, say, their childhood home. But, I have more of an emotional attachment to Turner Field than I do with that old house on Ogeechee Drive.
After all, baseball is the fabric of my life. Those that know me at all know that’s obvious. Someone once asked me what I’d do if God asked me to give up baseball. I replied that was a ridiculous question because Jesus loved me. He wouldn’t do that.
When The Ted opened on April 4, 1997, I was just six years old. I was amazed that my Braves were getting to play in the stadium that was first built to hold that Olympic Flame I stood on the side of the road to see pass a year before. Later, while visiting my grandparents in Roswell, I clearly remember being fascinated by an article in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution about the layout of the Braves new clubhouse, complete with a map. Little did I know that I’d get to go on a few tours over a decade later and see that clubhouse for myself.
I’ve got so many memories at 755 Hank Aaron Drive. It’s hard to believe that on Sunday I’ll make my last memory there.
“Like Lambs to the slaughter, the Braves take the field.” – Skip Caray
The Braves have started a season 9-28 for the first time in franchise history since the Boston Rustlers began 9-28 in 1911. 105 years after player/manager Fred Tenney was fired after leading his team to a dreadful 44-107 season, the Atlanta Braves have fired Fredi Gonzalez. He’s the first manager in Atlanta to be fired in 26 years.
It’s no secret that the Atlanta club is awful. Once in a century (hopefully) awful. But it wasn’t all Fredi’s fault. He was given a terrible, young, and unproven roster to work with. These guys will undoubtedly grow and get better, becoming our future bedrock, but no one expected them to win in 2016. That being said, no one thought they’d win quite so rarely as they’ve shown. (more…)
Bobby Cox is a Hall of Famer. Today, December 9, 2013, a few minutes after 10am, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s expansion era committee voted to induct him. He is the 18th manager to get in (Tony La Russa and Joe Torre are also being inducted this year for a total of 20). He will also be just the 3rd person after Hank Aaron and Phil Niekro with an Atlanta Braves cap on their plaque in Cooperstown. That being said, it’s likely Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux will also join him this summer after their ballot results are announced in January.
Bobby has been there from the beginning, in my eyes at least. I grew up in the 90’s watching him argue with umpires. He’s the only manager I knew until 2011. I personally witnessed 34 regular season and postseason (not including a few exhibition games) Braves games under his watch – 22 of those were during his farewell 2010 season. (more…)
I hate the idea of expanded instant replay in Major League Baseball. Hate it. You could say that I’m a baseball purist. I also hate the Designated Hitter rule, Interleague Play, and the fact that the All-Star game counts for anything other than memories. The game is perfect as is, we don’t need to add anything.
USA Today is reporting that baseball could have fully expanded replay systems in place by as early as the 2014 season. Home run calls (fair/foul, fan interference, and over/under the boundary) have been reviewable since the 2008 season, but the proposed rule changes would add it to nearly every part of the game. Only balls and strikes (and presumably, judgement calls) would be off limits.
I understand that I have an unpopular opinion. Modern technology has infiltrated many aspects of the game already. There are a lot of good reasons to add full replay capabilities to baseball. We all know how terrible umpiring can be, especially over the last few years. From Jim Joyce’s blown perfect game call at first base in 2010 to Sam Holbrook’s infamous infield fly call in the 2012 Wild Card Game, there is certainly room for improvement. But replay is not the answer.
There’s been no joy in Atlanta lately
I’ve been a Braves fan for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is the Braves winning the 1995 World Series. That’s a pretty good first memory. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened again since.
I still clearly remember the final out of the 1999 World Series when we were swept by the Yankees. I still remember crying myself to sleep that night.
Because the Braves haven’t won it all since I was five years old, every season since has ended in heartbreak in some form or fashion. We’ve lost in the playoffs, and we haven’t even made the playoffs five times in my life. For most teams, that’s not that unusual. For me, I grew up pretty much expecting success. I didn’t know anything different.
We haven’t won a playoff series since 2001. In 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, and 2012 we lost in the first round. Every year I’ve been hopeful, every year I’ve felt like my heart was ripped out. I know some folks don’t understand why its such a big deal. After all, its just a game, right? Yeah, its a game. But its so much more for me and countless others I know.
“Baseball is not necessarily an obsessive-compulsive disorder, like washing your hands 100 times a day, but it’s beginning to seem that way. We’re reaching the point where you can be a truly dedicated, state-of-the-art fan or you can have a life. Take your pick.” ~Thomas Boswell, Washington Post, 13 April 1990
Now, I’m biased, but I think baseball is in a league of its own. A baseball fan lives and dies with every pitch over a 162 game season. We pour over numbers and spreadsheets (that might just be me) to gain an insight on the game within the game. We even sometimes name our kids after the players we grew up watching (that’ll be a fun conversation with my future wife). We view the months of November-February as just filler until the next ballgame. No other sport can say that.
Tom Glavine has always been a hero of mine. I distinctly remember sitting in front of the TV with a Glavine baseball card in my hands as I watched him pitch. I had his poster on my bedroom wall touting his two Cy Young Awards. He’s the reason I first started putting my index finger on the outside of the glove. I think at one point I even dressed up like him for a school project. Unfortunately I only got to see him pitch in person once – a 7 inning, 4 K performance with a W over Cal Ripken Jr. and the Baltimore Orioles on July 13, 2001.