So I retired on February 1st and shortly thereafter, in an attempt to “give back,” agreed to provide recaps of Wednesday games. Appropriately enough, the first of these turns out to be a “Businessman’s Special,” a 12:10 get-out-of-town start that, when I was working, was the sort of game I forgot about altogether. As a former Businessman, I just assume that Businessman’s Special means “can be safely ignored.” Better was Skip Caray’s definition: “the day that 40 year old executives bring their 26 year old daughters to see our Braves.” Somehow my business career missed both this and the three martini lunch.
Like tfloyd, I didn’t come to the Braves. They came to me in 1966. Not Atlanta – Me. Aaron, Alou, Carty, Mathews, Torre, Cloninger and Lemaster apparently had as their mission the capture of a 10 year old mind. Against those gods that bestrode the planet, today’s competitors are well-intentioned impostors. So when the retired guy yells at the screen: “Kids, get off my field,” I mean the parking lot next to Turner Field, not the expansion of Cumberland Mall (where I perfected my video game technique when it opened, but that’s another story.) I tell you all this just to let you know where my Wednesday recaps will be coming from.
The Braves’ sixth game in 1966 was played in Philadelphia before 7,476 paying spectators. The game featured 4 HOFers and one guy a lot of people think would have been if he’d played the HOF game, Dick Allen. The Braves won 3-1 to bring their record to 2-4. Pitching for the Phillies was HOFer Jim Bunning, who, to bring this around to today, is the 10th closest to Max Scherzer in age 32 Similarity Score.
The sixth Braves game in 2018 found 29,834 spectators. Scherzer was not at the top of his game, but he had defensive assistance. In the bottom of the first, a Difo error allowed Preston Tucker to hit a wall-scraping three-run homer. Preston Tucker is easily the best Tucker we’ve had since Michael. He may well be the best Tucker in MLB history. Thurman Tucker had a year as an All Star, but it was 1944. In the second inning Scherzer got an RBI, but Folty responded with a two-run double. The critical game moment came in the top of the 6th: after one-out double, Moylan replaced Folty and sandwiched an out between a couple of walks leading to Freeman (Sam, that is) facing Zimmerman with the bases loaded and two outs. Called strike 3 on a call that could have gone either way silenced the only real remaining threat.
Minter goes 1-2-3 but stays in to face the Mormon Mahatma (Harper) and walks him, then faces Mountain Matt (Adams) but gets him to fly out. Winkler gives up a walk and gets Difo.
Two more runs in the eighth when Lane Adams walks and is doubled home by Ryan Flaherty, who then scores from second base on a two-base passed ball. Flaherty is not the best Flaherty in MLB history – yet, but he’s definitely closing in on John. Arodys did that thing a Closer™ does when not eligible for a save, giving up a walk and a single and a walk to load the bases for Harper: people say he’s talented, but even he can’t hit a 6 run homer…. and he didn’t. An legitimate application of the Infield Fly Rule followed (I’m still not over that) and Mt. Adams struck out to end it.
It wouldn’t be a JonathanF recap without a mention of Chip. I’ve mellowed post-retirement, but Chip remarking how “all of us remember that awful day 50 years ago” is odd. Chip is 53. He doesn’t.
Braves lead MLB in runs scored. They’re 4-2. I’m Tuckered out. Time for a nap.