Monday, April 4, 2011



“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."
                                      Bart Giamatti

ATLANTA. Baseball commands loyalty like no other sport. It embodies the American soul. During Civil War off days, both Union and Confederate soldiers played intramural baseball. It has always been a game associated with children, connecting generations with the days of innocence, green grass, fresh air and things cooking on the grill. From its earliest days, heroes emerged. Atlanta natives will tell you that Bob Montag, Dick Donavan, Chuck Tanner, Country Brown and the immortal Whitlow Wyatt, remain heroes from their championship seasons with the Atlanta Crackers, minor league baseball’s most famous and successful team and part of the Braves’ organization.

Brian McCann

At the north end of Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Home Depot/Whole Foods parking lot stands an ancient and sacred magnolia, Atlanta’s Joshua Tree. This remaining connection to the baseball park once there lives thanks to activist Atlanta school children and sports fans who prevented its execution by crazed developers. Touch it, they say, and you can feel the presence of legends like Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Eddie Mathews. Dekalb’s Tobie Grant had magic powers which she used to do good. When I was young, she told me to pray under its branches, something I still do when life gets complicated.

We’ll miss Bobby Cox, but Fredi Gonzalez, a native of Havana, Cuba, is big time, classy and can really coach. The combination of new kids and the veterans make this season interesting.

The Braves are very improved and the race to become champions makes the six-month season fun. This is a game that defies rules of logic and reason. Like Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”

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