Wednesday, September 26, 2012



By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA—Clinching a place in the playoffs last night was special, but the way it happened-a two-run come from behind home run in the bottom of the ninth-was heroic. Somewhere above Atlanta two hours before midnight the Angels were celebrating. For the uninitiated, Braves’ fans for over a century have known since the days in Boston that flocks of Angels cheer them on. According to my grandson, they were doing the tomahawk chop and chant as two heroes crossed home plate to victory.

Getting into the playoffs after a dry run of several years in a city that became accustomed to being near or on top every baseball season brought memories of my dear mother who absolutely loved the Braves. I always said she would never die during baseball season. She left this planet during the Christmas holidays and is buried near the grave of the Braves’ immortal announcer Skip Carey.

Way to go, Mom.

The other evening, I sat in an audience and enjoyed a young author talk about his book about baseball in Atlanta. He opened with a story about a game played here in 1866. The Civil War had just ended. Sherman had destroyed all but a few homes in the city. The baseball field was near the graves of Confederate soldiers in Oakland Cemetery. And those who had lost everything but hope cheered on the players.

Those words confirmed that baseball became the national sport because of the Civil War. I have a photo in a book showing Union guards playing baseball with Confederate prisoners at a New York prison.

Baseball unifies, crosses all boundaries and nourishes the better aspects of our humanity. Baseball encourages seniors to act like children. And it’s played just about like it was long, long ago.

In 1991, the Braves brought Dixie our first World Series. For a good many days that October, there was magic in the air. Where the Braves finish this year is a work in progress. But just getting the chance to reach the pinnacle is enough for now.

I’ve found that old red foam rubber tomahawk from 1991 and am getting in the proper frame of mind for the playoffs. The grass is as green as the Irish countryside, the autumn air is comfortably crisp and the sunshine is warm and gentle. Everything feels like baseball.

May those Angels above Atlanta smile upon our “Boys of Summer.”

NOTE: Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden is the feature story in WINES DOWN SOUTH.

No comments:

Post a Comment