Say what you will about the Atlanta Braves—good, bad, like or dislike—they are easily the number one sports team in my book. True, I’m not a huge sports fan and baseball is the only sport I try to watch (with my son) on a regular basis.

However, there is one act that has pushed the Braves into a class all by themselves.

My grandmother (Granny) recently passed away. She passed on the day I purchased tickets for myself, my mother, my wife and our oldest son to attend our first ever Braves game at Turner Field. She was a Braves fan and she, in turn, got the rest of the family watching baseball.

Shortly before the game, I fired off a quick email to the Atlanta Braves organization with a note telling them about my grandmother and our upcoming trip. I asked if they could possibly dedicate the game we would be attending in her memory.

I figured nothing would come of it. The game came and went and we had a great time—described here and here. The Monday after we returned, I received a phone call from the Atlanta Braves office. They had read my email and were apologetic they didn’t get to it in time to catch us on our visit. We talked for a few minutes and I gave them my address.

A few days later, this arrived in the mail (Click to enlarge):

Braves-Card-Front Braves-Card-Inside

And that is why the Atlanta Braves are the best team in the MLB—at least to our family.

Be sure to read Part 1 a few posts back to get the full story.

Chipper At Bat

Check out that photo from the game. That’s how great our seats were. Section #113 tickets thanks to StubHub.com. I had a small zoom lens on the camera, but we were directly over the Braves dugout. Every inning  when they came in from the field, Carter would run down to the railing overlooking the dugout, in hopes of catching a ball.

Aside from our great seats, Turner Field is incredibly nice. There’s a great Cartoon Network kids area, a few great restaurants (Bar-B-Q is the best), a kids only merchandise shop, and a Braves museum. The biggest surprise came from the entire staff at Turner Field. They were amazingly friendly.

While walking to our seats, if we passed a concession vendor not waiting on a customer, they would wave as you walked by. Everyone at the ballpark actually made the effort to converse with you. Several times I was asked if I (we) were having a good time or if this was our first game.

The usher to our section offered to answer any question we had. We I asked a question she didn’t know the answer to, she radioed a supervisor and informed me of the answer.

Even the the Braves didn’t win the game, it was a great game nonetheless. The game was full of great plays, close calls and was all-around entertaining.

After the game, we went to the Kids Run the Bases area and Carter got to run the bases on the field (see the photo in the previous Braves post). They even had a photographer on the field and we found Carter’s image online when we returned home and ordered a few photos.

All in all, we had a great time and we definitely plan on returning as soon as our busy schedule allows. We hope to make it in June for Brian McCann bat day, especially now the McCann is back in great form.

Check out the rest of the photos from our first Atlanta Braves game.

Narwhals

The Smithsonian website has a great article and slideshow about the Narwhal. This whale has a single horn sprouting from the middle of its forehead, much like the mythical unicorn.

I remember reading about this animal as a child. I’m not sure what book it was in, but I seem to remember a large book filled with animal drawings and information. Up until today, if you had asked me if such a creature existed, I would have more than likely said no and thought is was nothing more than a childhood make-believe memory.

It’s nice to see something amazing every once in a while that makes you fell like a child again-when everything was amazing and new.

Carter Running the Bases at Turner Field

I live in a family of Atlanta Braves fans. That’s not a bad thing. It’s turned me into one as well. Growing up, it’s something I never would have guessed I would enjoy so much, but it’s become something that we, as a family, share.

This past weekend, Jill and I took Carter and my mother to Turner Field to watch game 3 of the Braves vs. the Astros. It was the first trip to Turner field for any of us. Before the game, we asked my mom how she got hooked on the Braves.

My mother is the biggest fan of the bunch. She subscribes to ChopTalk (the official Braves magazine) and can tell you stats, trivia and other facts. Since she spends so much time with Carter, it rubbed off on him at an early age. She was determined to get him into baseball. Since he’s now in his third season of playing T-Ball, I would say it worked. Being surrounded by it and helping coach Carter’s T-Ball team, I find myself wanting to watch as many games as I can. She’s passed her fandom on to us.

She started watching the Braves with my Granny (her mother). We’re not sure when Granny became a fan, but we think it was shortly after my grandfather passed away in 1993. At 78, she didn’t drive and we guess she started watching the Braves on TV to pass the time.

While she also watched Basketball, it was the Braves that she was always most interested in. From 2002 – 2006, I was lucky enough to work close by. I was able to eat lunch with her almost every day. She always looked forward to seeing me and I almost always found her waiting in the kitchen when I arrived.

Unless the Braves were playing.

In that case, she would be eating her lunch in her chair and I didn’t exist on game day. When I came in the door, I would give her a quick kiss and she would half-heartedly tell me what there was to eat in the kitchen. She never took her eyes off the game. She rarely spoke during the game. It was clear that during Baseball season, I ranked just below Chipper Jones (her favorite player).

Before the game, my mother joked that everyone always talked how Granny never said anything bad about anyone. That is, unless it came to the Braves. Mom remembers watching a game with Granny, only to hear her mumble something about Chipper Jones not batting as good as he should.

I’m sad to say that the day I purchased our tickets (great seats – row 17 – behind first base), Granny passed away. We never had our chance to tell her how excited we were to be going, but we sure had fun thinking and talking about her at the game.

I’ll continue this story in a few days with photos from the game and my impressions of the Braves, Turner Field and game day. Stay tuned