I get paid — way too much, but don’t tell anybody — to write about sports. I’d like to think I know a few words. Regarding the Braves, I’m fresh out. And we’re still two weeks from September.
I realized this last week when I used “otherwordly” to describe this team, “otherworldly” being one of those words you trot out when you can think of nothing else. (It sounds OK, but really: What does it mean? That the Braves are alien beings?) This after four months of tossing around “unlikely” and “improbable” and “outrageous” and suchlike.
And then we arrived at last night’s ending, which came as both a shock and no shock at all. They’d thrown away another game, only they hadn’t thrown it far enough to lose. And sometimes you just have to concede the point: Something is happening here that defies mere words.
Unfortunately, words are all we have on these posts and in the daily paper. And when my word-slinging capacity has gotten overheated, I try to let someone else do the talking. In this case: Chipper Jones.
“We’ve got ballplayers on this club,” he said Friday, “with some heart and some guts.” Also: “This team has a chance to do something really special, and deep down in my heart I feel they’re going to do it.”
Chipper Jones got hurt last Tuesday. The Braves won that game in their final at-bat. They won the next day in their final at-bat. They won Friday’s game 1-0. They won Sunday’s game 13-1. They won last night in their final at-bat. In sum, they’ve lost once without Chipper, and surely some among us feared they’d never win again without No. 10.
No, it doesn’t make sense. But it is somehow the truth. We could call it “improbable” for the 715th time and leave it at that, or we could try real hard to come up with a fresher description. Or we could just sit back and ride the whirlwind.