Even cynics have their soft spots, and I’m no exception. Kitties (notice I didn’t say “cats”), old people and baseball are mine.
I was at The Ted this afternoon for the Bravos’ season finale, and I hated to leave. The local nine are part of my daily routine from April to October, and, like a feline, I don’t like my routines interrupted. Sure, all good things must end, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. And while many observers will tell you differently, there are plenty of hardcore baseball fans in the ATL. Not enough, but we’re there.
We don’t all worship at the glitzy altar of football. I don’t dislike the game — I just despise the spectacle. Give me subtlety over Terry Bradshaw and end zone dances any day.
Good pal Al Kosa summed it up nicely on our Braves blog after we attended Friday night’s game:
It felt in many ways like a reunion with friends: most of these folks, minus the couple hundred Astros fans, are true Braves fans, you figure, here like us for a last visit with our team before they pack it in until next March.
It’s been a disappointing season, obviously. But it’s still baseball. It’s still the Braves. In the name of Pearl Sandow, our own Hall of Fame fan, it’s still about as good as any three hours I can think of. Only five months ’til spring training.
As much as we’ll miss our Braves, there’s plenty who’ll miss them more. It’s all they have, and I hate to see them go without:
At 1:05 p.m. today, they’ll all be watching, anticipating the first pitch of this strangest of season finales.
By then, Sister Miriam will have prayed the Angelus over the intercom, then said grace before lunch. Kenneth Beaton’s hospital bed will be positioned at just the right angle for the TV; perhaps he’ll tap the John Smoltz figurine on his nightstand, a little luck for the Braves’ starting pitcher. Mitchell Drewery, who turned 93 Wednesday, will affix his headphones to hear the play-by-play.
And German Mabry, 80, will hit the call button, summon a nurse and ask, as he always asks, “What channel is the Braves game on?”
I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit I choked up while reading the conclusion of Jack Wilkinson’s excellent front page story (excerpted above and below) in today’s AJC about how much the home team means to the cancer patients living at a hospice in the shadow of Turner Field —
This season, uncharacteristically, ends abruptly Sunday for Braves fans. One of them, however, is already looking ahead to 2007.
“The doctor said I had stomach cancer but I can’t tell it,” said German Mabry, who was admitted to Our Lady of Perpetual Help on July 20. “I don’t believe it. I feel fine. Now, we’re gonna get that Braves thing right next spring. I’m going to a ball game.”
Hope to see you there, German.