Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Brave Celebration - Part 2 of 2

So my Atlanta Braves only needed to win 2 games on the final weekend or win one and San Diego to lose 1 and they would clinch the Wild Card. The Padres needed to sweep San Francisco to force a tie and a one game playoff for the West Division Title. The loser of that game would then play the Braves in a Wild Card Playoff the next day. OK, so the Braves controlled their own destiny, can’t ask for much more then that...unless you decide to get the crap kicked out of you on Friday, get basically shut down completely on Saturday... neither of the games were started by Halladay or Oswalt either. Not a good position to be in going into a Sunday needing a victory to not only prolong the season for the team and the fans but also to do just that for the storied career of manager Bobby Cox.

As I do not have the MLB package and PeachtreeTV still being classified as a movie channel I was unable to watch the game. If I am not going to watch I don’t want to see updates during either of the two crucial ball games. 100% focus on Football where coverage is all NFL and nothing else.

While watching the game the out of town scores were up in the corner and in a glance I saw the score Braves 8 Phillies 2, it would have been around midway through the game. This was a relief and gave a sense of calm... cautious optimistic one might say. I continued with this until I felt like the game must be about done based on the elapsed time so I decided to check on the outcome of the game. The only problem with that was the game was not over and was in the top of the 9th and somehow the score had tightened up to a nerve wracking 8-7. You could almost feel it all just slipping off of the fingertips. The only "saving" grace was that old man Wagner came in to shut the door in the 9th with 3 nasty cutters that sealed the deal and but the Braves in a Wild Card position pending the outcome of the San Diego San Francisco game.
Yeah, there was more drama then that was needed, but that is what happens when you blow the two previous weekend games.

So It is off to San Fran and that game. This one I kept an eye on the score a little more closely. 2-0 for the majority of the game, but in the back of the mind I was just waiting for that Trolly to fall off the tracks. Buster Posey added a little insurance with a solo home run and Brian Wilson - not that one - came in to save the game looking like a cross between Jeff Reardon and Ricky Vaughn. He slammed the door shut on the Padres season clinching the West for San Francisco and setting up a first round match up between the Giants and the Braves.

So despite all the drama and all the critical injuries to a couple of the top Braves players (Chipper Jones & Martin Prado) everything is now set and right. The Braves are in the Playoffs and kicks things off on Thursday and Bobby Cox can continue to do what he does and lead his team.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Brave(s) Celebration - Part 1 of 2

Well, my Atlanta Braves had a nice ceremony before a packed house at Turner Field before the game Saturday versus the Philadelphia Phillies. The attendance was the most for a baseball game in either Atlanta Foulton County Stadium or Turner Field of all time. I was nice to see a packed house in Atlanta, It has been a long time. The occasion was to celebrate the career and contributions of their manager Bobby Cox. Cox will be retiring at the end of the season, which was prolonged by some gut wrenching baseball, but I will get to that.

Cox is the only manager that I gave really ever known since I began following the Braves in the Early 90’s. Until that point I was Blue Jays thru and thru but there was something about the Braves when I was first exposed to them in 1991 when they went to the World Series versus the Twins.
Bobby was hired as manager first in 1978 but was fired in 1981 and replaced by Joe Torre who led the team to their first divisional title since 1969. Cox landed with the Blue Jays in 82 and managed until 1985. At that time Cox went back to Atlanta as the General Manager. Bobby began to build his team over the next few years and in 1990 decided to replace Russ Nixon with himself, where the team ended with the worst record in baseball, at 65–97. Apparently Bobby knew what type of team he was building and figured he was the best person to lead them. Apparently he was right because for 14 straight years (OK a strike may have gotten in the way and maybe the Expos would have won the World Series but unfortunately we will never know) the Braves won their division and won one World Series. I don’t know what it was that attracted me to the team but I am glad that I attached my fan cart to that teams horse.

The Braves, in celebrating Cox presented him with a very nice portrait of him up on the top step of the dugout, a bench that was made of baseball bats and balls (autographed by the team) and a nice new car. Apparently he has enough pickup trucks that they thought he should also have a car. My favorite player, one Mr. Chipper Jones, who does not do a lot of talking, presented a nice speech to commemorate Bobby and his time with the Braves and all his years in Baseball.
This is the conclusion to part 1 of the end of the Braves 2010 Regular Season. Part 2 will be the gut wrenching way the Braves extended their season and managed to obtain the Wild Card birth on the last day of the season. Stay tuned for that soon.