I believe in Atlanta Braves baseball. It’s a team that values its veterans and uses them to help teach the rookies how to play the game the right way. I sit in the stands through rain and intense heat to watch them play and I refuse to leave a game before the ninth, no matter what the score. I sit on the couch with my dad for a good portion of the summer, watching my team in high definition cable that was ordered specifically to make watching the games, more like actually being there. And every year I relish the challenge of learning the new guys, from face, to number, to swing.
I believe in 14 Octobers in a row and total domination of the NL west and then east for over a decade; a streak unseen up to this point in the world of sports. And that faithful October in ’95 when the long sought after World Series trophy became ours. I will never forget the fear the big three of Glavin, Maddux, and Smoltz struck into every batter’s eyes. And I can not help but love the unforgettable rookies like Francoeur and McCann who constantly step up when needed and continue the streak.
I believe in Bobby Cox, the ultimate manager and the guy everyone refers to as “the Skipper,” leading his crew of 25+ players with postseason hopes through 162 games. It never ceases to amaze me how Cox, at 66, still walks around the dugout in full uniform, including cleats. I love the fact that every player gets a signature Cox nickname that he uses when cheering them on from the dug out. Nicknames such as Frenchy, Rochy, and Tex that become household names.
I believe in Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, the all-time homerun leader, no matter how many steroids Barry Bonds takes.
I believe in the hominess of Turner Field. How crackerjacks and an ice-cold Coke are never far from reach. I have been in a private sweet, on the Lexus Level and in the 755 Club, but nothing compares to row 13 in dead left field where Andrew can hit them all night long. I strongly feel that Chief Knockahoma will never die no matter how politically incorrect he is. And the best rally sound of all the baseball parks in the world is that of the giant drum near the plaza, beaten with the huge mallets to get the crowd fired up.
I believe in the one team that I have followed throughout my childhood. It is the source of the greatest bond my dad and I share. A Braves baseball game is the one thing that can instantly brighten or ruin my day, depending on the outcome. Postseason games were the only times I was allowed to stay up late on school nights and I relish some of those memories more than anything. I love the knowledge that hometown heroes are born on that field and that dreams are achieved there everyday. I live for the fact that when the game comes on, everything else stops, because for three whole hours, nothing else matters besides Atlanta Braves baseball.
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