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.

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

Granny, my Mom’s mother, passed away yesterday. She was 94.

She was the grandparent I was closest too. For almost 5 years, I ate lunch with her 4-5 times a week. Almost every day I showed up, she would have a little project for me to do. Whether it was change a light bulb (her bathroom lights would go out 2, 3, 4 at a time) or take out her garbage, I was her lunch time handyman.

Our lunch time is something that I will always cherish. It gave me a chance to really get to know my grandmother. We would spend lunch talking about anything that popped into her head.

I loved the stories of her childhood and youth. She told me how her and my grandfather met. She told me of their early years in Murfreesboro (where we live now). She told me about the time my oldest Uncle found my grandfather’s pistol, when he was only a toddler.

I remember staying summer’s with her and my grandfather.

She would make the largest pancakes and waffles for breakfast. They would cover the entire plate. I remember falling asleep to her scratching my back. I remember her smacking my bare legs with the fly-swatter if we misbehaved.

I remember Christmas at her house. The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren always got together once a year over there. The larger our families grew, the more insane each holiday would become. The last Christmas we were all together, there were eight great-grandchildren—all under the age of seven.

As of yet, I’m not overly sad. I will miss her—as much as I missed her when I changed jobs almost 3 years ago and I was no longer able to eat lunch with her.

At least I have the memories, the photos (see above) and the rest of my family.