Monday, October 04, 2010

Braves bring a smile

Sunday afternoon was cold, gray, windy.

Didn't feel so good. Kidney stones and such. Ugh.

But my long lost first love, those amazing Atlanta Braves, found themselves on the brink of the postseason. All they needed was to win Game 162 and get a little help from the San Francisco Giants to win the National League Wild Card. Wow.

I propped up on the couch and managed to make it through one of Chip Caray's telecasts. You ain't your daddy, fella. Routine singles don't warrant all that screaming.

There was Bobby Cox, a guy you'd swear was 80 years old, but hasn't yet made it to 70. It seems like he's been there forever, doesn't it?

Bobby is saying bye-bye after this year. The young Turks on this year's squad dedicated the season to him, said they wanted to send him out a winner, give him one more day in the sun.

Darned if they didn't do it.

After a terrible start (anybody remember that 9-game losing streak?), the Braves found themselves in first place for much of the summer. I kept thinking that the Phillies would prove to be too loaded, that they'd eventually catch these scrappy Braves.

And that's what happened. But, down-to-the-wire races are fun. Expansion took some of it away, but the pennant (and wild card) races endure, as does most everything that's grand about this old game.

The ATL nearly blew a big lead, but held on to win, 8-7. I didn't jump up and down, but I did smile, and pulled the fading Braves jacket out of the closet. The blue dye is starting to bleed on whatever one wears underneath it. Which is fitting, because I, too, once bled Atlanta blue.

Baseball isn't what it used to be. I don't live and die with it anymore. To tell you the truth, I didn't watch too many games after the All-Star break.

But yesterday, when I didn't feel too well and the chill of an early fall enveloped East Tennessee, my long lost first love showed back up for three hours, right when I needed them, bringing some unexpected joy, reminding me of precious memories all but gone with the wind.

Here it is October and Atlanta is back in the playoffs. For a few minutes anyway, all seems right with the world.

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