Welcome to Turner Field (via Anellenet)
Whenever a work project sends me out of town, the first thing I usually do is check the baseball schedule at the destination. I’ve been lucky enough to catch the Twins while traveling for work in Kansas City, Cleveland, and Chicago (the no-no!). I’m still a baseball fan even if I can’t see the Twins, so Friday night, while the Twins were busy playing poorly in Cleveland, I was in Atlanta watching the Braves hit homeruns and honor one of the most storied managers in baseball.My plan for the evening was to arrive early for the alumni autographs. Ron Gant was listed online as a participant, so I’d brought my Hrbek-Gant bobble heads from Minnesota to try to get signed. Unfortunately, as the Braves website noted, the participants was subject to change and he was not there on Friday night. So what to do with my time? How about wander around Turner Field…
Turner Field feels older than it is. I’m not sure if that’s by design or it’s just not aging well. I know Kauffman has been refurbished but it feels younger, and I think it’s actually about 20 years older. Regardless, Turner has something that even my beloved Target Field, doesn’t have – Chick-Fil-A. For those of you who have never experienced the joy that is a hand breaded, peanut oil fried, real chicken breast filet Chick-Fil-A sandwich, I’m sorry. For everyone else, rejoice that it’s an option should you ever make it to a Braves game. My seat for this game was on the right field lower level terrace. The view was good, especially considering I’d picked up the ticket for $15 online. I’ve been to Turner before and the seat views have all been good even in the upper level general admission (over right field in foul territory).
Chick-Fil-A, YAY!!! (via Anellenet)
The pre-game ceremonies to honor Bobby Cox and retire his number finally got started at 7:00. The Braves that most baseball fans can name were the ones who spoke – Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, and Chipper. Then a Braves front office guy spoke and they revealed Bobby’s retired number "6". Even as an outsider it was east to feel the love the current and former players have for Bobby. The crowd had several chants of "Bobby" and videos from current and former players were shown throughout the evening between innings. The scoreboard showed some of his accomplishments and they’re mind boggling. I wonder if any manager will ever exceed his years of service with a single team. Maybe Gardy has a chance, but teams just don’t seem to stick with one guy that long anymore. I’m sure winning the division 14 years in a row helped Bobby but it’s still an amazingly long run. The best part of the ceremony came after a ceremonial first pitch from Bobby to Chipper, Bobby went to greet the umps and they "threw" him out. MLB was nice enough to capture the video of it.
Bobby Cox (via Anellenet)
The game finally got started at 7:40 with Dan Uggla’s hit streak on the line. He got it out of the way early by hitting a homerun off Zambrano in his first plate appearance. Uggla now owns the Atlanta Braves record of 32 games. If he makes it to 38, he’ll own the Braves franchise record (back to the Boston Braves days). Zambrano ended up giving up 5 homeruns on the night and getting tossed from the game after throwing at Chipper. The Braves went on to win 10-4. Zambrano supposedly cleared out his locker and told friends he was retiring. If it’s true it’s a crappy way to treat his teammates. Regardless, it was a storybook night for the Braves as they honored Bobby.
Dan Uggla - Player of the Game (via Anellenet)
To close out the night, there were fireworks, since the Braves have fireworks at every Friday home game. I didn’t get to see the fireworks at Target Field this year, so it was a nice treat. They didn’t quite measure up to the 4th of July display in Apple Valley, but they ended with a bang.Full picture and video set.