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

Had an awesome day at the Atlanta Braves game on September 11, 2010. They had a nice tribute to the Fire and Police departments of Atlanta before the game. The game itself was a tense one. Tie score for a few innings and from the 8th inning on, it was tied 3-3 until Alex Gonzales absolutely smashed a 3-run home-run to give the Braves their 26th walk-off win this season (most in the MLB). I managed to get some great photos from our third-base line, left field seats. I especially like the ones with the team celebrating at the end.

You can watch the slideshow above or view the entire gallery on Picasa or using the images on the right.

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.