I’m headed to the ballpark for Game 3 of Braves-Phils. Actually, I headed for the ballpark at 8:55 p.m. last night but never made it. Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of my fateful trip …
Last night I endeavored to do absolutely nothing, and I was successfully negotiating my mission — hadn’t looked at the computer in three hours — when I happened to pick up MY NEW IPHONE. And I noticed, via the ESPN scoreboard app, the Braves were leading the Phillies 9-1. Then I noticed the Phillies didn’t have a hit through 5 2/3 innings. I waited until the third out in the top of the sixth was made, and I called the office and said, “If Jurrjens throws a no-hitter, can we take a column for print?”
Yes, came the answer. And I swung, as it were, into action. Put on blue jeans, sandals and the same Led Zeppelin T-shirt from Wolfgang’s Vault — it has an iPhone app, too — I was wearing when I drove to the ballyard at 9:15 on a Friday night in September 2007 because the office called and said My Favorite Pitcher had a no-hitter through six.
That time I nearly made it to the McDaniel Street exit on I-20 before the no-no went bye-bye. Last night I didn’t get out of the neighborhood. Jurrjens got two quick outs — via XM, I was listening to the vocal stylings of Don Sutton — and the erstwhile Brave Paul Bako came to the plate. And I thought, “No way Bako breaks this thing up. He made Corky Miller seem like Ernie Lombardi.”
On cue, Bako singled. I turned around and went home.
Tonight I’m going no matter what, and even the mighty Bako won’t stop me. Stay tuned and I’ll offer pertinent updates and impertinent commentary. I thank you in advance.
Update (already!): Yunel Escobar is in tonight’s starting lineup. Batting fifth.
Mood of the team, et cetera: After the 1-0 loss to Boston on Saturday, the Braves’ clubhouse was as quiet as it ever gets after a regular-season game. But they haven’t lost since, and when I went in after batting practice I heard actual laughter.
I said to Jeff Francoeur, “And it’s a happy ballclub.” And he said, “We’ve got reason to be.”
And they do. They’re playing well. They’ve won three in a row. They’ve got a chance to sweep the World Series champs tonight. Which only goes to show: In baseball, everything can change in a week. Less than a week, actually.
Hair update: Since I made mention of Escobar’s blond highlights earlier today, it’s only fair that I report this: Francoeur got a haircut.
I did not inquire about his choice of foundation garments for tonight’s tilt. Some things are a little too personal, if you know what I’m saying.