I was raised on baseball. Each year, my Dad would take me to a handful of Braves games at Fulton County Stadium. Sometimes we’d make a day of it, visiting The Varsity or the World of Coke on the way.
We’d park in one of the $10 gravel lots a few blocks from the ballpark. And while we strolled by walls of graffiti toward the stadium, Dad would look at me wide-eyed with a smile and jokingly say, “Did you remember to bring the tickets?”
We sat in the upper deck, along the third base line. He would sing with enthusiasm to “Centerfield” while the team warmed up. Put me in coach! I’m ready to play today…
During those nine innings, he showed me how to score a game. We talked balls and strikes and outs. Curve balls and sinkers and sliders. Bunts and steals and double plays. I loved learning all the intricacies of baseball. Like it was a secret only meant for he and I to share.
We’d wave foam tomahawks in the air as the sun beat down on us. We’d eat boiled peanuts and soft serve ice cream out of plastic Braves helmets.
I was always restless and full of energy. By the bottom of the third, I’d be squirming in my seat. And we’d be walking the length of the stadium after the sixth.
We’d stay the whole game even if there was no hope for Atlanta to come back. We’d stay until all that was left was empty plastic cups and peanut shells.
To this day, every time I watch Atlanta play on TV, it’s like I can almost smell the hot dogs, the fresh-cut grass. Feel the roar of the crowd, the thickness of the southern air.
I’ll call my dad whenever something exciting happens. And for a moment, it’s like we’re back there together. Just enjoying The Show.