oh, the pain

my legs are blindingly bright. lobster red doesn’t even begin to describe them. our outing yesterday to a rome braves game resulted in my thighs and face getting sunburned while the rest of my legs stayed pale. i’ve been smothering my legs in aloe vera, but that hasn’t done much to ease the pain.

at least the game was worth it. it was a nice day, albeit very hot. we had fantastic seats in the seventh row right behind home plate. there were scouts clocking pitches and scoring the players sitting right behind us, which was pretty neat. a few others rating the opposing team were sitting a couple rows ahead of us.

the game lasted 10 innings after the braves blew a four run lead. oh well. it was still fun. we walked around a lot and moved out to the patio and home run hill in the outfield for part of the game. it was just wasn’t as exciting as the atlanta games. minor league games never are. but that’s ok. they’re fun in their own way.

dining with the braves

we hobnobbed with the braves last night.

as a writer for choptalk, the atlanta braves’ official magazine, joe was invited to the braves’ 400 club’s annual banquet, and i was able to go as well. it was at a really nice hotel in atlanta and, despite my toe poking through my hose (i *hate* pantyhose…if it hadn’t been 30 degrees outside i wouldn’t have worn any!), it was a fabulous night.

we paid $13 for a beer and glass of wine (yes, $13 freakin dollars. man.) and perused the silent auction items. i was hoping for something signed by jeff francoeur, my new favorite brave, but he was not among the players’ autographed items up for bid. we bid on several items, including hats signed by three players (joe really wanted one to give his friend tim as a wedding present), a baseball signed by pete orr and a baseball signed by sid bream. i staked out the hats at the end of the auction, but an old man hovered over the bidding sheet, spending two minutes writing his name and bid amount so no one else could bid. sigh. at least we won the two baseballs. or so we thought.

after the program, we headed out to claim our balls, but after joe paid we realized the sid bream ball was missing. “someone must have walked off with it,” one of the men said. not surprising. no one was watching the two tables the items were on, so it wouldn’t have been that difficult. we took home our pete orr ball, but joe was still bummed because he’s a sid bream fan, and he was really proud to have won the ball.

this afternoon, however, while we were at david’s bridal getting rachel’s (his sister) bridesmaid dress for our wedding (one down, five to go! they all opted to get the dresses now because they’re on sale until next weekend, saving them about $30), someone from the 400 club called joe and said they had his ball! apparantly the person who won the chris reitsma ball picked up the sid bream ball by mistake. it should be in the mail to us in the next day or two. yay!

there were two braves players at the banquet, and after dinner we had a chance to meet them. brian mccann is a rookie catcher who ended up starting most of last season because starting catcher johnny estrada (now on the diamondbacks…sigh…) was injured.

we also met kyle davies, a rookie who ended up being one of the braves’ starting pitchers last season as the regular starters were plagued with injuries.

they were really nice. we got our tickets signed, and we’re putting one in our scrapbook, and we’re going to frame the other with their baseball cards. once we get a house we’re going to start a “sports room” of memorabilia, such as the baseballs and pictures.

and rachel was right…baseball players *are* taller in person. hehehe. 😉

2 games in 1

the braves made baseball history. the fourth game in the postgame series against the astros last 18 innings. yep. two whole games.

and the braves didn’t win. sigh.

i thought we had it in the bag when adam laroche hit a grand slam in the 3rd. catcher brian mccann hit a home run. the score was 6-1 in the 8th. bring in the braves bullpen. and i use the word bullpen loosely because they suck. really suck. kyle farnsworth gave the astros a grand slam in the 8th and another home run in the 9th to tie the score.

then start the extra innings that keep going and going and going…joe and i didn’t think the game would end before the yankees/a’s game started at 7:30 p.m.

each team held the other at 6 runs. the braves were running low on bullpen relief. the astros were out of their pitchers, so they called in roger clemens, who started in game 2. i was shocked, partly because he had started just two days ago and partly because he’s 43 and had just started two days ago.

we continued to hold the astros, and joe and i kept saying, next inning we’ll get a run. that was until the bottom of the 18th when joey devine gave up a home run to chris burke.

game over.

no more postseason play for the braves.

what a crappy game.

i just hope the yankees lose tonight to the astros. that’s the only thing that’ll cheer me up from this.

awww

this exchange took place yesterday when i was trying to cheer joe up after a long, exhausting day.

me: i’ll have the (braves) game on when you get here so you can watch it.
joe: only if we change it at 9 p.m. to big brother.

i don’t think i know any other guy who would say that! this is just one of the many reasons why i love my boyfriend!

my hero

i’ve always looked up to cal ripken jr. i grew up outside baltimore, and my family got orioles season tickets every year. Each spring we’d make the 20 minute drive into the city and trek to camden yards, which i believe is the most beautiful baseball stadium, to watch “my boys” play.

and for some reason, cal ripken became my favorite player. i followed his record in games, i collected his baseball cards. my one wish was to meet this man who earned my respect when he would spend an hour or two in the sweltering sun before each game signing autographs for fans while the other players relaxed inside.

in july 2001, i got my chance. it was cal’s last season playing, and his farewell tour was scheduled in atlanta (thank goodness for interleague play!). i had to go. i wrote a column about how i looked up to him for our sports section, and then pitched the idea of covering his press conference and game in another column to our sports editor. he made a few calls and secured press passes for me and matt, my photographer.

fast forward to july 12, 2001. i’m speeding down the interstate, stressing out that w’d be late and miss the press conference. matt is watching my spedometer reach 90 and is flipping out.

we get to turner field and are taken down into the bowels of the stadium to head to the dugout. i sit down, and when cal comes in to answer our questions, i’m just inches in front of him. it was amazing. but i still wanted to talk to him.

i approached cal’s publicist. i’m a baltimoran, i tell him. i grew up watching cal play both in person and on tv. i wait. the publicist smiles. cal would love to meet you, he tells me.

and then, i was talking to him. definitely one of the best experiences of my life. we weren’t allowed to have posed pictures taken, so matt was at the top of the dugout shooting away as cal and i talked.

i gave cal a copy of the first column i had written about him. “this is nice,” he said. “i’ll read it while i eat my pizza.”

that made my day.

our press passes allowed us access to the field and the press box, so after going up to the stands to visit my family who drove down for the gama and getting something to eat in the press box, i watched the game from the orioles dugout, no more than five feet from cal the whole time.

that was the best baseball game i’ve ever seen.

the best game ever

i watched the most fantastic baseball game i’ve ever seen last night. braves v nationals, both teams tied for first in their division. at the end of the ninth the score is tied 2-2. it’s the top of the 10th. the nationals get three outs with no runs. the braves come up. two outs later, bases are loaded. andruw jones comes up to bat. he’s the home run king of the braves, so i’m hoping he’ll hit one out of the park for a grand slam. but no. the nationals’ pitcher throws four balls, walking the winning run in for the braves. absolutely amazing. joe went nuts. i just sat on the couch in shock. i don’t think that closer will be pitching again anytime soon. 🙂

so now the braves are in first, one game up on the nationals. the rest of the three-game series should be great.

here’s the story in today’s ajc.