Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Two Thousand.

No, not an Extra-Humongous Economy-Size version of King Leonidas of Sparta versus the Persians at Thermopylae... it’s the number of wins Bobby Cox has racked up as manager of the Atlanta Braves.

Bobby’s a local boy. Lives right here in East Cobb County. The only time we actually saw him in the ’hood, though, was at the Mistress of Sarcasm’s high school graduation. Bobby sat right in front of us - his daughter was the Mistress’s classmate - and was well behaved, avoiding any arguments with umpires or Board of Education mucky-mucks. A minor stumble on the part of SWMBO’s stepdad David nearly knocked him arse-over-teakettle; fortunately, no harm done.

The Missus and I were there last night at the Ted for Bobby’s historic Win Number 2000. Mostly. The game went into extra innings, and we decided to book after the top of the eleventh. It ended up taking fifteen for the Braves to put the quietus to the Pittyburg Pirates, owing to their having blown an early lead. That’s a looooong-ass game, friends.

The weather was superb and our seats excellent (thanks, Lee and Kent!) - right along the first baseline, fifteen rows up. You could practically see the follicles on the ol’ horsehide.

A Night at the Ted
Atlanta Braves vs Pittsburgh Pirates, June 8, 2009.
History in the making: Manager Bobby Cox’s 2000th win with the Braves.

I’ve written here before about the Bread and Circuses aspect of modern sports, and not much has changed. You still need to take out a second mortgage to enjoy a hot dog and a beer, never mind the astronomical cost of admission. And then there’s the rat’s maze of sideshow attractions to keep the kiddies amused... and the multitudinous opportunities to purchase Licensed Merch. It’s gotten so that the average family has been priced out of the ballpark, in favor of the Corporate Season Ticket Buyer. I suppose we have those ginormous player salaries to thank for this state of affairs.

But I was in no position to complain, with us being the recipients of that Corporate Largesse. Mmmmm... largesse.

By a strange coincidence, we ended up sitting right behind someone we knew from shul. Eagle-eyed SWMBO spotted him first. “Doesn’t that guy go to our synagogue?” she asked.

Indeed he does. A semi-regular attendee at Morning Minyan, to boot. Not only that, he and I have similar names - so similar that only the last four letters of our last names are different, the cause of occasional confusion amongst our fellow congregants. What were the odds?

As I looked at the various fans cutting capers on the giant DiamondVision screen - one young lady in a red dress was so excited to see herself that she started jumping up and down, revealing to the Entire Civilized World her white Granny-Panties - I thought back to another baseball game many years ago... sometime back in the spring of 1970, right after that halcyon year of 1969 when the New York Mets surprised the entire civilized planet by winning the World Series.

It was a night of off-again, on-again rain at Shea, enough to slow the game down horribly but not enough to wash it out. As if that were not enough, the game ran into extra innings (fifteen, I believe - same as last night’s marathon), making it a Late Night indeed. It was after 3 a.m. before we made it back to our respective homes.

We: I was there with my then-girlfriend, and we used the numerous rain delays as opportunities to indulge in a few lengthy smooches under our umbrella.

What both of us had conveniently forgotten was that my girlfriend’s uncle worked for WOR-TV... and knew exactly where we were sitting. And thus it was that during those selfsame lengthy rain delays, unbeknownst to us, the television cameras were trained directly on us, sending images of those long, lingering kisses to the entire New York metropolitan area. (Alas, no giant DiamondVision screens in those days.)

Not as embarrassing as flashing your Tighty-Whities to the entire crowd at the Ted... but much more far-reaching. Because we heard about it from numerous friends who had seen us in tonsil-hockey delicto.

I’d love to reenact that scene today. Minus the rain. And, of course, with She Who Must Be Obeyed.

That, Esteemed Readers, would really be Baseball History.

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