We are less than two weeks away from the beginning of the fall semester – in that aspect, the summer has really flown by. I haven’t finished several of the projects I wanted to get done over the summer, while things are slower and there’s more time to think. On another front, though, this summer has been long and dry so far, and there are another two months to go.
I’m talking about baseball. I like baseball. When I was a kid, I was a Cincinnati Reds fan. Those were the days of Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, and yes even Pete Rose. Sparky Anderson was the manager and they were the Big Red Machine. We went to a few games, and once I saw Johnny Bench hit three home runs in one game. I’d listen to the games on the radio in the evenings rather than watch TV.
But all those guys retired, and I grew up and moved away – to Georgia. That was 23 years ago. (Doesn’t seem possible!) So – when in Georgia, do as the Georgians do, right? I gradually became an Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to Superstation TBS.
The Braves were pretty bad in the mid and late 1980s. Then in the early 90s, things started to turn around. Tom Glavine and John Smoltz arrived, and they started winning divisional titles – then in 1995, the World Series. I remember that night – I was at a Halloween party. One of my friends and I were in the living room glued to the TV, while everyone else was in the kitchen and outside. When the game ended and we started yelling and jumping up and down, everyone came in to see what was going on.
The Braves continued to do well for a long time – until just very recently. Glavine went to the Mets (although he’s back now), he and Smoltz are over 40, and the rotation of good players into the lineup hasn’t been as frequent. This year they’re having a terrible time. But the only way I know this is by seeing the score on my BellSouth (sorry, AT&T) home page every day. Because – horror of horrors – TBS no longer carries Braves games. They still have baseball once a week, but it’s not usually the Braves.
It’s bad. Unless the team was on a road trip out West, I could almost always count on a 7:00 pm Saturday game and a 1:00 pm Sunday game. It was a great way to spend the hot afternoon hours on Sunday. Now it’s gone, and there’s nothing to replace it. Since the Braves aren’t doing well, they aren’t usually carried on the stations that do have some baseball.
I am getting a lot more reading done this summer. But I miss the Braves.
Rest in peace, Skip Caray.