Reyes takes the hill tomorrow night to try
and improve his stock for a roster spot. And we’ll get to that. We’ll
talk about Reyes, his performance, and his campaign for Atlanta 2008
after we see how he fares against the Astros (who have had the Braves’
number this Spring).
In the meantime, I’d like to talk about
something we here at BravesBlog.net are proud to showcase as one of our
great baseball passions.
Ask most baseball fans and they’ll tell
you they haven’t even touched a scorecard. (Nor have they ever known
you can grab your last minute cards at the program stand for $1 w/ a
So many fans have passed attendances at
exciting home openers in April, do-or-die playoff victories in October,
games… all without documenting a single play. What a travesty.
For me, JB, scorekeeping is a joy.
It’s a way to enjoy the game on a more
intimate yet transcendent level. Whether I’m seated just behind the
Braves dugout or up in the 405 bleachers with the skyscrapers, jotting
in each play and noting each detail of the game is an experience that
is on a level only other scorekeepers could understand. But allow me
to try and convey.
My scorecards are my journals that
document games, lineups, players past and current, attendance numbers,
statistics, amazing plays, and all the myriad of captured experiences
that are somehow better for me than the bombardment of digital pictures
by which we now relive days at the ballpark. Somehow, I’m taken back in
time; perhaps because the art has come so close to extinction that many
see it as archaic. I’m taken to an era where I can enjoy the finer
aspects of the game and try to tune out all the loud and obnoxious
“jumbotron” prize winning games between innings.
My scorecards have been filled out in
Philadephia, Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, Rome (GA), and of course
time and again at Turner Field.
My scorecards have mustard stains, beer
stains, rain drop stains, creases, eraser marks, pencil scratches to
cover errors (on my part), doodles, commentary, folds, smudges, and my
various attempts to duplicate each visiting teams’ logos.
My scorecards have recorded blowouts (both
by the Braves and upon the Braves), come from behind wins, home
openers, wins during tight pennant races, three game sweeps, extra
inning marathons, double headers (another lost art), pitching duels,
almost no-no’s, heartbreaking losses, and games that I used my card
more as a fan to cool myself in the hot Atlanta sun rather than a
document I will cherish.
My scorecards each have their own
characteristics and my fingerprints all over them. They are a tangible
objects with my handwriting (and sometimes my wife’s) and my drawings
and notes by which I can relive each game play by play.
There’s something entirely different for
me about looking at one of my old score cards as opposed to a photo I
snapped. Not that photos don’t mean something. But a scorecard is my
own imprint on the game. It’s something I create as I watch. While a
photo is something that everyone who visits that same game can
effortlessly snap in a second, my scorecards are my memories that I
actively played a part in designing. They are labors of love as I try
to get each detail correct and tenderly take them home with me, as mint
conditioned as possible, to place in my Braves’ shoebox.
As you can tell, scorekeeping is so much
more than filling in boxes so I’ll know whether Chipper’s 0-4 or 3-5 as
of the eighth inning. It’s about one of the many things that makes
baseball so beautiful to me.
So if you catch me at a game and my head
is down after a brilliant double play, it’s only because I’m scripting
“4-6-3 !!” on my scorecard.
JB in ATL
So here’s some highlights worth mentioning.
- Beautiful stadium. The landscape is surrounded by palm trees and mountains that are a constant west coast reminder. I love looking out into the city scape of Atlanta while at Turner Field but the view from Dodger Stadium is to be envied.
- Dodger Fans. They were not too bad to us. I walked in with apprehension that the heated rivalry of ’91 would be revived as we came to support our Braves. Yet, a few "boos" notwithstanding, we were met with a level of hospitality and even respect when other fans found out how far we had traversed to see our Bravos. We had some good conversations with fellow fans and even saw a strong Braves presence in LA. The greatest thing I appreciate about Dodger fans is their enthusiasm for their team. They got excited, chanted throughout the game and showed a lot of support for the boys in Blue. I’d like to see more of that in ATL as well.
- Hot Dogs. Not all that bad but not all that great. You gotta have a dog at the ballpark and it didn’t dissappoint.
- Atmosphere Pretty nice. We got to wander around the stadium without any problems and were impressed with the casual, quiet ambiance around the field before the game. We made our way right up to the bullpen to see Hudson warm up and were right next to the Braves pitchers. The atmosphere got pretty electric as the fans cheered on their team during rally moments. I love their passion for their team.
- The Game Hudson didn’t do too hot and had a shaky defense behind him. Penny also didn’t dominate as both starters gave up 6 runs. However, Chipper tied and passed Dale Murphy for the all time Atlanta homeruns leader so we had the chance to witness history. Those two dingers turned out to be the game winners and we saw a strong outing from the Atlanta bullpen. Moyland, Ledezma, Soriano and Wickman shut out the Dodgers to split the series. Great game!
Across town, tucked behind the CNN Center, another Atlanta franchise skates for the first time in the postseason. Good luck to our Thrashers, but an April baseball game always manages to capture my attention just a little bit more than April hockey. Nonetheless, Go Blue! How fitting that they play New York in their first ever postseason.
Smoltz will take the hill tonight as the Braves seek a second series sweep in the young season. He’ll be squaring off against the 25 year old hurler Jason Bergmann who got knocked around and lasted only 3 innings in his last start. John, coming off an impressive win against former teammate Glavine, will be looking to keep the Braves going on their best start in 12
You’ve got to feel optimistic going into tonight’s game against an anemic Nationals lineup that has squeaked out only 3 runs in two nights to the Bravo’s 16. Let’s hope to see Smoltz’s slider working well and some solid bullpen help if needed.
Game’s starting. First pitch to Lopez is a strike. Stay tuned after the game.
JB from ATL