I arrived at the ballpark about an hour and a half before the game started. I went to the Clubhouse store and got myself a new hat and a Bobby Cox commemorative pennant. On the stage in front of the store, that obnoxious dude who does the announcing for Braves Vision mentioned that John Smoltz was signing autographs in the Hank Aaron room down Scouts Alley. So I bought a baseball and headed over. A nice surprise!
Of course, not everything was perfect. The line was long, but not obnoxiously so, especially considering they drew almost 35,000 last night. I noticed that a lot of people were leaving the room holding special John Smoltz cards printed up by the sponsor, the Air Force Reserves. When I was about 5 or 6 people from the door, a Braves employee came out and apologized but said Smoltz wouldn’t be signing any more because they ran out of cards, but we could still have our picture taken with him. Then, a few seconds later, someone came out and said Smoltz would sign our Game Day programs. So, I was ushered into the room where they had a photographer and Smoltzie. He shook my hand, signed my program and then we smiled for the camera. I received a card with a web address and a code where I can get the picture. As of now, it still hasn’t been posted.
Early in the game, I checked the news on my phone, and was really bummed to hear the news about Prado. From the moment he went into the starting lineup, he’s been our best player. I like his grit and determination. In a lot of ways, this Braves team is his team and I hope he maintains his intensity from the bench and I hope it rubs off on his teammates. It looks like Conrad will be his fill in, but you have to wonder if Troy Glaus might get a start at third as well.
I’ve had the experience of sitting around some awful fans this year, but the fans at this game were great. They were into it from the start and they didn’t act like they hated the Braves every time they came up short. It made them all the better to be around when the big inning came. Huge hits by Conrad and Hinske, obviously, but credit to Cabrera for getting on base to get it all started. (A huge shame about Maybin as well. After that last series down Miami way, I thought he was going to make the catch. He hit the wall awfully hard.)
This was also the first time I was in the stadium for Wagner’s big entrance. Now that was fun. Better yet, he was filthy.
All in all, it was a great time and it was nice to have it confirmed that I’m not bad luck.