Wednesday, November 14, 2007

my boys.

Well, kids, the news is good. Very good. It's sounding like Tom Glavine has finally re-found his soul and is going to get out of that icky Mets uniform and come back to Atlanta. I never understood why Tommy left in the first place: he is loved by Atlantans, actually gets along with Bobbby Cox, and his family still lives there. The final decision will most likely be announced this afternoon, but things are looking good for a reunion from the Glory Days.

It all just takes me back to the '91 and '92 seasons, when I was just a wee girl who loved baseball. But it wasn't just me, EVERYONE loved baseball. The Braves were more important than God. Literally. We prayed for them and did the tomahawk chop in church. We got time out of school to recover from watching the World Series until the wee hours of the morning. The grocery stores were decorated, lightposts turned in to tomahawks, and it's all anyone could talk about. John Smoltz and Tom Glavine were the Golden Boys-- they could do no wrong. People around the country may talk about where they were when we landed on the moon or when they first discovered my blog (it's true, everyone talks about it) but in Atlanta we talk about where we were when Sid slid. It was an incredible time to live in Atlanta and even though both seasons ended in final disappointment, I think all Atlantans still view them as the best seasons in Braves' history. I can't even watch this video without tearing up, and I'd assume that I'm not the only one.

I just love my Atlanta Braves, and no one can tell me otherwise.

Here are some excerpts from a great article I found. You can read in its entirety here.

Cabrera's Lightning Stroke Anoints Braves
By Thomas Boswell

ATLANTA - When a former president of the United States jumps the box seat railing, dodges police horses and breaks the law so he can run onto the field to hug and kiss the players, you know it was a pretty good country ballgame.

Actually, when the hometown Atlanta Braves score three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the playoffs for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the National League pennant, it's not really a ballgame. It's a piece of mythology dropped into our communal life like some ultimate innocent confection. No, it hasn't been done like this -- three runs in the bottom of the ninth to pull out the pennant -- since Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard 'Round the World in 1951. So we can talk about it forever and feel warm and silly every time. We can spend the rest of our lives saying, "Don't leave until the last out. Remember Francisco Cabrera."

Yes, the name is Francisco Cabrera. You never heard of him. Now, everybody who loves the Atlanta Braves, everybody who loves baseball, loves Francisco Cabrera. Whoever he is. From now on, whenever the bases are loaded with two outs and your team is a run down, you'll pay attention, because if Francisco Cabrera can rifle one into left field to win it all, then anybody can.
"It's ironic," said Pirates Manager Jim Leyland, "that the guy they added on the 31st of August is the guy who beat us."

At 11:52 p.m. on Wednesday night, Jimmy Carter -- of the peanut-farming Georgia Carters -- wanted to kiss this Senor Cabrera. However, it's unseemly for an ex-president to crawl to the bottom of a pile of 20 big league players, heaped up along the first-base line, just to say, "Hello, Francisco. Wanted to tell ya that's one helluva way to win the pennant for us, son. They'll probably be talking about you 'round here after they've forgotten me."

Almost nobody had ever heard of Cabrera until last night, unless you follow the Richmond Braves. He came to bat just 10 times for the Braves this season. With the National League season down to its final out, he was all the Braves had left. The bench was empty. It was either Cabrera or activate the batboy. With the Pirates still ahead 2-1 and pulling fresh miracles out of their pockets each inning, Cabrera -- pinch-hitting for tiny Rafael Belliard -- was the last chance.
He was all the Braves needed.

Now, he'll be remembered as long as they play softball in Plains.

Where David Justice, Terry Pendleton, Jeff Blauser and Ron Gant had failed -- sometimes agonizingly, sometimes by a hair's breadth -- Cabrera succeeded. On a 2-1 pitch from Stan Belinda -- poor sidearming Stan Belinda who never hurt nobody but will now live forever next to Ralph Branca and Donnie Moore -- Cabrera hit a clean bullet of a single in the hole to left field.
David Justice trotted home to tie the game. But what about Sid Bream, the slowest Brave, the human moving van, the guy with the knee braces, what about him? You going to send him home from second or hold him at third?

Send him, for the Lord's sake. It's only Barry Bonds in left field. The best left fielder in the league -- the fastest at charging the ball and the man with the strongest arm. But, go on, send Sid Bream. Lend him a dolly.

And here Sid came, running faster than he ever had in his life and slower than you could imagine your Uncle Ralph on Sunday afternoon. Where was Barry? Playing on the warning track? Well, almost. Bonds played a conspicuously deep left field the entire inning. But he came charging, scooping and, finally, unleashing as strong a heave as you'll see to the plate.

If it had been on line, Sid Bream would have been back out at first base with a glove in the 10th inning and they'd be measuring third base coach Jimy Williams for a coffin in a shallow grave in the morning. If the throw had only been a little off line -- a pretty good throw -- you can bet umpire Randy Marsh would have called him out on general principles. If you're Sid Bream, you've got to score clean to get any calls.

But Bonds's throw was at least two paces up the first base line. Spanky LaValliere did all a catcher can do. Which means Bream was safe by six inches.

Nobody ever gets to make any wisecracks about Carter and softball again. The man he sought out in the postgame melee -- and it was a world-class mess -- was third base coach Williams. Carter gave him a long The-Buck-Stops-Here hug.

In baseball, you wait and wait, crushing peanuts, ordering another beer, filling out your scorecard, all in anticipation of the split-second that will decide everything. You wait for the moment of lightning.

Perhaps redemption really is at hand, alive in every moment as the Plains preachers say. His name is Francisco Cabrera of the Dominican Republic. Bats right-handed. Career average, .257. Position, catcher. Last man activated for the playoffs, on Aug. 31.

He is baseball's perverse idea of fate. And he may be remembered down here in Georgia longer than quite a few presidents.

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