Sometimes it’s better if you just watch the good parts. Walk into the stadium, stand in line for a burger, look out toward the field just as that particular combination of boom and anticipatory crowd-noise and people getting three-quarters of the way out of their seat foretells Justin Upton‘s 20th home run, even if you can’t track the ball’s flight path from the concession line. Hey, a 2-0 lead. And, eventually, a burger.
Take your burger back to the railing behind the 200 level, because if you don’t mind standing up that’s the best damn general admission vantage in the house, and anyway rain is coming and you’ll be in great shape once the rain begins, nestled under the upper deck’s overhang. Watch Ervin Santana on point, coaxing weak contact and getting timely strikeouts. Marvel at the statistical improbability of B.J. Upton, of all people, taking Stephen Strasburg deep to make it 4-0 by the second inning. But marvel also at the seeming inevitability of the Braves owning Strasburg, author of three starts against Atlanta now this season, all of them bad. Of all people, indeed.
Watch Freddie Freeman put an exclamation point on it with another two-run homer later that inning. Hell, watch Tommy La Stella throw some weird emoji on top of the exclamation point with his first MLB home run. 7-0, end of five. Rain’s coming down now. While you weren’t looking, the Nats got a run; annoying. And then, apparently, a three-run homer. 7-4 in the sixth. Concerning. But the rain arrived a little while ago, and now it has camped out over the ballpark, with force. Who knows how long it will last, or whether you’ll want to stay standing (though happily dry) during a rain delay that could last a while.
Walk through the now-abating rains to a MARTA train packed full of Falcons fans who picked, as their Friday sporting event of choice, a type of football game in which only the injuries count toward the standings. Wonder what this means. Unbeknownst to you, there is baseball on the field again, and you’ll learn later that it was a difficult thing to watch. Don’t have watched it. To confront and measure all twenty-seven of the outs necessary to avoid a nine-game losing streak is to invite an unhealthy anxiety in which failure is visible around every corner. Best to turn it back on after the damage has been done, but Craig Kimbrel is around to clean the mess up and restore a bit of order. 7-6, and it’s final.
Acknowledge logically, through careful reconstruction of the box score, that the Braves took a sure thing and walked it to the brink of disaster. But refuse to acknowledge it emotionally, because you missed all the bad parts, and frankly the parts you did see were pretty damn inspiring from a team that looked dead and gone last time you checked in with them. It goes much better if you just watch the good parts, and the streak is W-1 now.