"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, February 25, 2005

A Baseball Memory -- The Atlanta Braves

Jay, I understand your emotions. When the Braves first began to break out of utter haplessness, I had been watching for years as a child who cheered every time the team broke out of last place. I'll never forget Game Seven of the 1992 NLCS when the Braves were down 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The unknown pinch hitter Francisco Cabrera drove in David Justice and the slow-footed Sid Bream with a laser to left field. Bream slid into home and was safe by inches.

I was living in an apartment complex full of University of Georgia students in Athens. Some kind of collective mania took over. Within two seconds of the umpire calling Bream safe, the entire complex emptied into the parking lot as hundreds of us jumped and shouted with crazy joy. We were possessed by totally unself-conscious pure happiness. And that is what sports can do.

There was only one small bittersweet touch to the whole thing. Great names of the Atlanta franchise like Dale Murphy and Bob Horner weren't there for the big victory. Their careers had ended with a whimper a few years before.

4 comments:

David Kaziska said...

Murphy wasn't with the Braves, but his career hadn't ended. He was with the Phillies.

Hunter Baker said...

You're certainly right, David. He only seemed to be finished by then. I knew he moved on to the Phillies, but thought he'd retired by 1992. He was done as a starter by then, but I was wrong.

S. T. Karnick said...

I guess it won't do any good for me to mention my favorite MLB team, the Chicago White Sox.—STK

David Kaziska said...

Since I read this yesterday, I've been thinking about the opposite effect of that game in Pittsburgh. I was a law student at Pitt then. We all knew that that was the Pirates last chance to go to the Series for a while. Some of the stars on the team, like Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek, were going to be free agents and they had little chance of being resigned. It turned out that much of the supporting cast left, too, and the following year was the beginning of the Pirates' dismantling.

We thought we were in pretty good shape. The Braves were down to their last out, and only had Francisco Cabrera to send to the plate. He managed just enough of a hit to get former Pirate Sid Bream (one of the slowest guys I ever saw, but a local favorite in Pittsburgh) home from second.

We were in absolute shock after that play. It was like waking up suddenly after a dream and wondering what happened. We were devastated.