If you’re retired and live deep in the country where beauty abounds and distractions are few, you saw almost every game the Braves played this year. A month after it all ended we became spectators of the same game played at a significantly higher level by others. What remains of the Braves year has become a fading blur. Ninety losses doesn’t help.
Strangely though, without trying, there was one series that came to mind and stayed there. It reminded me of the pleasure, the surprise I got from it at the time so it has hung around to the point I wanted to see how much/little detail of what happened could be recalled. What follows is all from memory and all too brief. There will be howlers but so what? This is what pleases, as I write this on a 25 dark degree Sunday morning.
We went out west for a road trip somewhere in the second half of the season and stopped by at the Coliseum. Ho hum I thought, neither team was going anywhere and wasn’t this all being played at a dump, a much reviled setting?
It was a 4 game series as I remember; we — most surprisingly — won 3 of them. The game we lost, the second I think, we faced Sonny Gray and even then we were ahead late. Individually and collectively we played some of our best baseball of the year. I tried to rack my memory of the highlights that must have prompted me to this conclusion: here’s a few.
I remember Dansby, had to be his best game maybe. Good D but some sensational hitting in the clutch in the game we were behind late and his two back to back doubles in the 8th and 9th tied and then won the day. Each was an elevated line drive to the left field corner, something he spent most of the year trying to duplicate and failing. What was moving was his infectious delight after the second. He was transformed.
Then Danny Santana. Brought on to pinch run he ran them ragged, then and later, he stayed in the game. The A’s were flustered, he must have been so happy to be achieving something positive. Kurt Suzuki. This might have been the series when we had to start taking him seriously as a power hitter. He had two I believe, maybe in the same game. There is nothing more fun to watch than somebody who doesn’t hit homers hitting homers. There were other homers we hit in this series but danged if I can remember by who.
So that, absurdly, is all I can be reasonably sure about over 4 games of individual efforts. Trying to recall this you come to realize what makes it so difficult is not just who did this or that but was it really in this series or another. Lines get blurred, names transposed. But in this instance there was one other thing, never to be forgotten, the stadium itself. Wow.
Dirty, worn, totally devoid of people the huge shell far away beyond left field was awesome, I loved it. Those giant names, magical, better here than at Cooperstown. All the seats quite empty of course, what a lunatic idea. And more coming with a new, bloated mixed user somewhere, yuk. Looking at the reduced arena where we actually played you couldn’t but help and admire the spectators too. Blue collar, raucous, knowledgeable, generous. The antithesis of Cardinal garbage.
So that’s my favorite Braves series of 2017. We won this one but there’s nothing to say yours could not be a tie or a loss even. We had plenty of those and many of them still contained individual good memories. Please, I would love if you would share yours.