Monday, May 4, 2015


“Baseball is the greatest game there is!”

                                        Ted Williams

By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA- A baby blue cloudless Sunday sky merits a trip across town to Turner Field for a Braves game. Surrounded it seems by turmoil, divisions, hard feelings and seemingly irreconcilable differences, I’ve always found the national pastime a personal balm in Gilead. Maybe it’s just a local tradition-good cheer, friendliness and courtesy. But with very few exceptions this is where I observe vastly different people cheerfully gathering to have fun.

Top billing on this glorious Sunday Down South was a shared success between Braves pitching ace Julio Tehran who was masterful in a shutout of the Cincinnati Reds and tenor Timothy Miller singing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch with all the power and emotion you expect from an accomplished opera singer.

Timothy Miller During the 7th Inning Stretch
 Watching the game from the right field stands triggered nostalgia, something baseball is well suited for. Memories of Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine,” the dominant National League team decades back when Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose could attract sellout crowds here when the Braves weren’t always competitive.

On this glorious day, the women seemed a little prettier, effective clarions for the majesty of springtime in Atlanta. Men of all ages were well behaved. There was a noticeable absence of drunks. No explanation other than maybe more people are coming around to the notion that over-indulgence has a huge downside.

Julio was Masterful
Turner Field has a promenade exhibiting large roster photos of each team for the past 50 years, this being the half-century celebration of their opening night in Atlanta. Fresh out of Emory University, almost penniless without a care in the world, I was there. The old squad images brought back special days and nights. Watching the incomparable Sandy Koufax pitch his last game for the Dodgers here before a sold-out audience who came to say goodbye to a hero. The games Phil Neikro pitched knuckleball victories, literally carrying some mediocre teams to heights they otherwise could not reach. The night “The Hammer” broke Babe’s record.

The years we were blessed with the talent and good character of Dale Murphy, twice the National League’s most valuable player and to this day wondering why in heaven’s name this great player is not in baseball’s’ hall of fame.

Sunday down South is personal, a prelude to paradise.

 NOTE: For cooks, enjoy Georgia Magazine’s six pages of recipes from top chefs and great home cooks using Coca-Cola as an ingredient: 

Braves Girls of Summer

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