In mid-March, Major League Baseball halted their Spring Training workouts to the outbreak of COVID-19, and fans were not allowed into the stadiums for the entire regular season.
In fact, a week into the season in late-July and early August, Major League Baseball was sitting on its proverbial heels due to multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 in Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati.
With the bulk of the positive tests coming out of Miami and St. Louis, league officials were contemplating the thought of shutting the season down even though it had literally just gotten started.
When the league reached an agreement with its clubs to play a 60-game regular-season schedule as opposed to the normal 162-game schedule in a non-pandemic year, we knew every game would matter that much more.
Winning streaks would seem longer than they were and would mean five times more than they would in a regular 162-game season. Losing streaks would seem to drag on longer than usual and every pitch mattered.
Even though the Atlanta Braves may have lost in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, there’s still a lot to be proud of when you look at the bigger picture.
This team won its first postseason series since 2001, advanced to the National League Championship Series, spent the final month and a half without ace Mike Soroka, missed outfield phenom Ronald Acuña Jr for two weeks twice due to a left wrist injury, lost four of five-man starting rotation, with Max Fried being the only projected starting pitcher left standing, and still won their division and won not just one but two postseason series.
This team isn’t done, they’re just getting started. For every minor setback there’s a major comeback. And with the young, raw talent of guys like Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Ian Anderson, Max Fried, Cristian Pache, and a healthy Mike Soroka, you can’t help but imagine just how good this team will be in the next few seasons with some of the best young talent in the game.
Hold your heads up Braves fans, the best is yet to come.
For fans like myself, who grew up around and love the game of baseball. After waiting all offseason plus four more months.
You add that up and you’ll get 267 days of boredom, waiting, impatience, and so much more.
But for me, all is right considering that the Braves are off to a (2-1) season after the first series of the season.
Following a well-pitched 1-0 loss on Opening Day Friday, Atlanta found the New York Mets weakness and pulled out two consecutive wins.
Saturday, the Braves were literally down to their last strike, but then game newcomer Marcell Ozuna, who blasted a game-tying home run and then Dansby Swanson scored the game-winning run in the top of the tenth.
On Sunday, the Braves brought out what we’ve been waiting all offseason to see, a 17-hit, 14-run outburst to cruise past the Mets 14-1.
Tonight the Braves will take on the Tampa Bay Rays for two games in Tampa, Florida, and the Rays will follow the Braves back to Atlanta for two more Wednesday and Thursday.
Baseball is backand everything is right in my world.
ttended my last game at Turner Field on July 13, 2012, when the Braves took on their National League East division-rival, New York Mets, out of Flushing, New York, a suburb of New York City.
The starting pitchers that night were Dillon Gee from the New York Mets and the Braves handed the ball to Auburn, Alabama’s Tim Hudson. Hudson is a 1997 graduate of Auburn University, where he was teammates with that night’s starting catcher, David Ross. Together in college, those two won the College World Series during Hudson and Ross’ Senior year of 1997.
When I was heading to Turner Field that afternoon, I could feel my chest getting tighter the closer we got to the field.
I knew that this would most-likely be the very last time I ever stepped foot into the place where I fell in love with the game of baseball.
That night it rained for three hours before the game ever got started and it was 12:30 before the game got started.
We started until the end of the sixth inning. Fittingly, Chipper Jones had the last at-bat I ever witnessed at Turner Field.
But this was much different than the first time I ever saw him at the plate in person, he didn’t get out.
In fact, he sent a ball deep into the Atlanta night, over the right-center field wall. He must’ve known I was in the stands, because otherwise, he would’ve probably gotten out as was often the case.
The Braves ended up winning the game 8-5.
Meeting Tim Hudson Five Years Later:
On April 7, 2017, my uncle, who coached my cousin’s travel ball team, called me to tell me that they would be playing a team out of Auburn, Alabama, called the Colt 45’s, and it was coached by Tim Hudson.
When he told me this, I knew immediately that I would be in attendance just to see the game.
But, I didn’t know it would result in me meeting the last pitcher I ever saw start at Turner Field face-to-face and having a conversation with him.
On April 8, 2017, I woke up early, my uncle picked me up and we headed to Lagoon Park in Montgomery, Alabama.
As I approached the field, I could see Tim was carrying his San Francisco Giants warmup bag, for those of you that aren’t familiar with him, he won a World Series title in San Francisco in 2014.
He was busy when I approached, so I waited until he wasn’t busy to get his attention. After his team had taken the field for pregame warmups, he approached the dugout that I was standing beside, I took this opportunity to yell “Tim!” And then motioned for him to come over to me. He did so politely.
I mentioned to him that my goal was to become a Major League Baseball broadcaster one day and then he and I talked a few more minutes, I asked him “Would you mind if I got a picture with you?” He responded “Absolutely brother, come on.” Afterwards I told him that he was the last pitcher a game at Turner Field that I attended, he said “Is that the game when it rained forever?” I said “It was, y’all didn’t start playing until 12:30 a.m., he responded “That’s it.” He and I both shared a laugh because we both knew how that turned out for the New York Mets, whom both of us hated. The last thing I asked him was “Who gave you the nickname ‘The Bulldog’ he smiled and said, “Two people are responsible for that nickname, Chipper and Bobby Cox, Chipper started it first because he said I went after hitters like a bulldog and after a few weeks, the skipper only called me “Bulldog”. I thanked him and before I sat down I said “Go Braves!” He said “Chop on, my brother.”
As many of you know, I’ve always been a huge Braves fan and I’m devastated that the Braves didn’t start on time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t start at all.
For 22 years, I’ve very rarely missed a game, and I don’t plan on missing any this year once they take the field.
Friday afternoon, the MLB announced that it had come to an agreement to shorten the 2020 season to what I assume would be anywhere from 125 to 82 games, but they won’t start until the mass gathering and travel bans are lifted.
While I’m anxious for the start of the season, I know that the Braves and the MLB have the safety and well-being of their fans, players, staff etc. as a first priority.
I’ve always heard good things come to those who wait. While I never thought I would see the day that anything like this took place, I’ve seen it.
As fans, all that we can do now is wait and ride this chaotic proverbial storm out. Baseball will be back at some point in 2020.
While we don’t know exactly when that will be, we will wait as long as we have to because when it does return, that will make it just that much sweeter.
They aren’t doing this for spite, they are doing this for the safety and well-being of millions of people.
As much as I miss Braves baseball, I understand completely why they are doing this.
They are doing this because they genuinely care about their fans, players, staff etc. and I appreciate the fact that they are taking these necessary precautions.
Dear Baseball, when will you start? I’ve been lost without you for 22 days now, yes I have counted the days since my last home high school baseball broadcast and since the day spring training was canceled and Opening Day was delayed.
Originally, Opening Day was delayed by two weeks. But last week, the MLB announce that would be another eight weeks until you were back.
That made me have to wait an extra 12 weeks for your return and honestly, I’m lost without you. There is absolutely nothing on the TV these days that I care to watch.
I did the math last week, and Opening Day is now projected to start on May 14. I can’t go much longer than I already have to without you.
I never thought I’d see the day where you divorced me so unexpectedly. But to be honest with you, it really hurt my heart.
If you come back in 11 more weeks, we can forget that this ever happened. Please come back on May 14.
I’m baseball deprived and that is vital for me to be able to live day-by-day. There is nothing that I love more than I love you.
Last night, it was announced that the Coronavirus had a confirmed case in Elmore County, Alabama, which is the county I live in.
But that’s not all that was announced. In between middle school baseball games last night, one of our coaches told me that all Alabama public schools had been forced to cancel school and athletics until April 6 after Wednesday.
When he told me, I immediately responded with, “What about the area games that we have to play, because playoffs start during the second week of April?” “Does this mean that nobody will go to the playoffs?”
The coach responded “We’ll see what happens man, we appreciate what you have done in the past and continue to do for this program.” I then gave him a fist bump and assured him that I would be back as soon as possible and in 2021.
This comes on the heels of the following cancellations/postponements: NHL canceled their season Thursday, NBA canceled their season on Thursday after two Utah Jazz players tested positive for COVID-19, MLB canceled remaining spring training games and delayed opening day by at least two weeks as a precaution to the virus, NASCAR announced Thursday that no fans will be allowed in attendance for tomorrow’s race, NCAA canceled all basketball conference tournaments and March Madness, as well as delayed baseball and softball for two weeks, which is scheduled to resume on March 30.
That’s not all but that’s all that I felt like listing.
Because of this virus, I have been robbed of the remaining home games until April 6th.
With that being said, no I do not have the coronavirus, so I’m not to blame.
Y’all be safe out there, wash your hands, stop buying all the toilet paper in stock and hope that sports will be back to normal sooner rather than later.
Sometimes a logo is more than just a representation of a school, team or organization. Sometimes, a logo is representation of a state’s unity in times of trouble, times of need and times when disaster strikes.
Late Monday night, a tornado ravaged through the City of Nashville, Tennessee, leaving many citizens without a single thing.
Homes were lost, people were left in the rubble, and at last check, 24 innocent people lost their lives.
Families lost loved ones, brothers lost brothers, sisters lost brothers, wives lost husbands, husbands lost wives, parents lost kids, kids lost parents.
Before the University of Tennessee’s Tuesday night baseball game against Longwood University in Knoxville, the Volunteers field crew painted “#Pray4Nash” on the back of the mound.
They didn’t do it because they felt obliged to do it, they did it because they too, are hurting with the City of Nashville, as is the rest of the state of Tennessee and the nation.
You see, when you sit back and think about it, we’re all just standing in a long line waiting on God to call our name.
We never know when or where that will be, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones that you love them, because it could be the last chance you ever get to do so.
My heart goes out to each and every one of the families effected by Monday night’s storm.
To the families that were effected by the storm, the ones left with nothing, the ones that survived but haven’t wrapped their heads around the events that took place just 24 hours ago, know that you are not alone, you will make it, God wouldn’t put you in this position if He didn’t think you were strong enough to withstand it.
As a huge life-long Braves fan, when I first read the news of former Atlanta standout Chipper Jones stepping in to fill David Ross’ role on Wednesday Night Baseball for ESPN, which was made public Saturday night by “Talking Chop”, I can’t help but think about how much color he will bring to the booth.
Most all of us know Chipper for his serious approach to the game of baseball, but I know Chipper for being a jokester as well as for his serious approach toward the game that he loves dearly.
Many people know that his walk-up song was Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” for the most-part if not all of his 19-year career in Atlanta.
Sure, you’ve seen him blow bubbles with bubblegum in left field and at third base for years, but do you know his hand-signal?
If not, he sticks his middle two fingers down, leaving his pointer, thumb, and pinkie up. I watched him make this motion for many years.
Growing up, I idolized Chipper as a baseball player. But now, I idolize him as both a Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster. I never thought I would see the day where my role model and I would be in the same industry.
Chipper, thank you for the memories as a baseball player and I look forward to working with you one day in the booths of baseball parks across this nation.
You will never know how much of an impact you have made on my life for many years, and one day I will work alongside you, my role model, my childhood hero.
Don’t let those wires and headsets injure you buddy.
I won’t stop working toward my dream until I’m sitting next to you in a broadcast booth at a Major League Baseball stadium one day.
Take care buddy, welcome to the family. I’ll see you at the top of the mountain.