Conrad Celebrates

Conrad Celebrates

The Atlanta Braves announced yesterday they non-tendered Brooks Conrad. While the moved surprised me, I’ll admit that it makes sense. Doesn’t mean I have to like it and it doesn’t mean I won’t miss seeing Brooks in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth, getting ready to bat by rubbing the dirt from the field on his hands. There’s a story to my family’s affection for Brooks and it all goes back to May 20, 2010.

If you’re a Braves fan, you likely know the story of what happened on that day, so bear with me. The last game in that series against the Cincinnati Reds was an afternoon game. Outside of Sunday, 1 p.m. games are few and far between. However, living almost 4 hours away from Turner Field, they’re perfect for a quick trip down and back to see our favorite team play ball.

So, on that Thursday morning, my wife and I surprised our oldest son (then 6-years old) by telling him he wouldn’t be going to school that day. Instead we were going to watch the Braves play ball. Who wouldn’t want to skip school and go to a ball game?

This was our second game at Turner Field and it was a rough one. Tommy Hanson was having a bad day and late in the game the Reds were leading 9-3. We discussed leaving early, but decided since we drove 4 hours we wouldn’t leave early (a decision that would haunt us in 2011 – but, that’s another story).

In the bottom of the ninth, things started to fall apart for the Reds. Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske, Yunel Escobar, Nate McLouth all got hits. After David Ross was walked, Martin Prado loaded the bases when the Reds third baseman couldn’t get the ball cleanly out of his glove.

You could feel the electricity in the air when Jason Heyward stepped to the plate. After his opening day homer, Braves fans were expecting a lot from this rookie left-fielder. While he did deliver a few walk-off wins in 2010, he struck out and left the bases loaded for Brooks Conrad.

I can’t say we were familiar with Brooks Conrad that day before he hit the game winning, walk-off grand slam. I can say that after that he became someone we enjoyed watching every time he stepped to the plate or took the field. From the time the ball got lost in his shirt to his 3 errors in the NLDS, we rooted for Brooks.

Every time we saw the a few seconds of his walk-off grand slam in commercials in 2011, we would always look at each other and smile. My wife, son and I have all told that story to countless people and I’ll always tell it to anyone willing to listen.

Brooks Conrad and Kris Medlen

My favorite time telling that story had to be September 3, 2011 when we participated in the Atlanta Braves Family Field Day. It just so happened that Brooks was one the six players participating that day. At the autograph session afterwards I made it a point to thank him personally for creating a memory my family and I will share and remember forever.

So long Brooks Conrad and thanks for the memories. You may not be an Atlanta Brave anymore, but you’ll always be one of our favorite Braves.

Brooks Conrad

Since we started going and watching the Atlanta Braves play, Carter has managed to get a nice collection of autographed baseballs. It’s not too hard to get an autograph at a game if you know where to go and when to get there. We’ve managed to pick up a few at meet-and-greets and got six at the 2011 Family Field Day. He’s met all the players below – with the exception of Chipper. We got that ball in a brown paper bag in a fund raiser for the Braves Foundation. We’re hoping to go to Spring Training in 2012 a get a few of the harder players then.

Anthony Varvaro

Anthony Varvaro

Bobby Dews

Bobby Dews

Brandon Beachy

Brandon Beachy

Brooks Conrad

Brooks Conrad

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones

Cristhian Martinez #50 and Cory Gearrin #53

Cristhian Martinez #50 and Cory Gearrin #53

Cristhian Marti­nez

Cristhian Marti­nez

Dan Uggla

Dan Uggla

David Ross

David Ross

Eric Hinske

Eric Hinske

Eric O'Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty

Johnny Venters

Johnny Venters

Jose Constanza

Jose Constanza

Kris Medlen

Kris Medlen

Martin Prado

Martin Prado

Mike Minor

Mike Minor

Peter Moylan

Peter Moylan

Stephen Marek

Stephen Marek

Wilkin Ramirez #30

Wilkin Ramirez #30

Anthony Varvarro
Bobby Dewes
Brandon Beachy
Brian Snitker
Brooks Conrad
Chipper Jones
Cory Gearrin
Cristhian Martinez
Dan Uggla
David Ross
Eric Hinske
Eric O’flaherty
Frank Wren
Jason Heyward
Jonny Venters
Jose Constanza
Kris Medlen
Martin Prado
Mike Minor
Peter Moylan
Scott Proctor
Stephen Marek
Wilken Rameriz

Here’s a recent MLB Fancave video featuring Atlanta Braves rookies Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel. Fan Caver Mike O’Hara tells them about the postseason and they quickly scramble to clear their calendar in case the Braves make it to the postseason (they will).

It’s a great video if you’re a Braves fan – if you can get past the fact that both Kimbrel and Freeman were with the Braves in the 2010 postseason – a fact pointed out by my wife @ATLBravesBelle.