We are long overdue for a visit with the Uptons. How about a dinner date? (They’ll probably make Chick-fil-A if you ask nicely and are willing to wait until the third inning.)
Appetizer: Team status small talk
Right now, Atlanta is in first place in the NL East, holding a seven-game lead over the Washington Nationals. They also are the only team in their division with a positive run differential. (Only the Cardinals (+106), Tigers (+76), Red Sox (+75), and Reds (+63) can best the Braves +57 mark.) That’s all the more impressive considering purported slugger B.J. Upton has been rolling with the worst batting average in all of baseball.
Truly baffling stuff.
Less confusing, perhaps, but far more amazing is the story of another recent Atlanta acquisition, one who has a great claim to be a rookie of the year candidate. Evan Gattis’ story may be rapidly transitioning into The Legend of Evan Gattis– the Braves’ radio crew probably is right when they say Gattis could tell the media almost anything and have them believe it at this point– as the season goes on and he continues to perform at a high level, but it’s worth returning to this USA Today article from April for one of the first major tellings of Gattis’ improbable tale. One undeniable thing about el Oso Blanco: he has bear strength.
First Course: Dodgers vs. Braves, May 18, 2013
The rain held off for this night game, lending us– a group including ALDLAND contributors commodawg, physguy, and AD– a comfortably cool environment at our seats, high above the first-base line in right field. As in seemingly every home Braves game I attend, Atlanta was down early. They were in a seemingly insurmountable 1-0 hole until the eighth inning, when Justin Upton held the briefest of hitting seminars with Gattis and Andrelton Simmons, both of whom immediately hit home runs. Atlanta won 3-1.
Second Course: Dodgers vs. Braves, May 19, 2013
Physguy and I returned to Ted’s Montana Grill & Baseball Field for the third game of this series with the Dodgers. This was the first time I’d ever gone to back-to-back games, and it was the first time I recall sitting in the outfield seats, which provided a nice view of the action and shelter from the rain, which delayed the start of the action.
There was action, though, and, after falling behind early, as seems typical, the Braves won on another eighth-inning rally sparked by a Gerald Laird RBI single. The difference in this game was that Atlanta manufactured all of its runs; this was the first time I’d seen them play that they didn’t hit a home run. Still, come-from-behind wins always are exciting, and this team has the bats to make them a possibility every time out.
A Brief Interlude Was Had
Third Course: Mets vs. Braves, June 19, 2013
A one-month interlude, as a matter of fact. I returned to the almost-conveniently-located-when-traveling-by-car Turner Field last night to experience MetsFest, an event in which the Great Scheduler has to arrange five games across four days and decides to play three of them on one day. The visiting Mets took two of those first three, but the Braves returned to their winning ways on Wednesday, albeit in unorthodox (for them) fashion. Atlanta grabbed a 3-0 lead in the fourth, thanks to a Chris Johnson hit that buoyed over the wall in left field. Kris Medlen gave it all away right away, throwing an outside slider that got past Johnson, the erroneous centerpiece to an unfortunate inning for the Braves pitcher. Medlen’s teammates picked him up in the next inning, though, plating two runs and securing the 5-3 win. (Also of note: Medlen stealing second later in the game.)
Thanks to the generosity of others, we also had really nice seats:
The Braves are now 4-0 in home games I’ve attended. (That road loss doesn’t bother me a bit, though.)