Sunday, April 15, 2012

the ted

If you have never been; the trip to Turner Field is well worth your drive, ticket price, and seven dollar beer. Within the walls of the Ted there is some kind of unexplained magic that is felt by young and old  alike. I can tell you that there are about 110,000 square feet of Tifton 419 Hybrib Bermuda covering the playing field. I can tell you that from home to straight away center is 401 feet. I can even tell you that that fans are encouraged to do the "tomahawk chop" by 40 foot tall, 15,000 pound Chick-Fil-A chopping cow. But what I can't describe is feeling of awe that overcomes a person as they pass from the concourse to inside of the stadium and majesty of the diamond is unveiled before before your eyes.

If you will, allow me to take you on the trip to The Ted, and I will do my best to channel my inner Hemingway.

For me the experience begins on 75 south. With the passing miles more and more vehicles pass that you know are going to the game.They all converge south of the down town canyon at exit 246, Fulton Street (which becomes Hank Aaron Drive). Once you park you find your self moving around a mass of beer drinkers and corn hole players immersed fine spring after noon. Moving through the gates in Monument Grove, fathers pose with their children in front bronze statues of Aaron, Niekro, and Spahn. All this leads way to the concourses filled with thousands of people wearing jerseys and t shirts bearing the numbers 10, 16, 22, and 26. Along with the red, white, cream, and blue jerseys the smell of beer, hot dogs, and pizza combine to fill your sense of smell with smell that can only come from a ball park. As you walk concourse posters of past teams and heros line the walls. One in particular stands out to me; a team picture of the 1988 squad that went 54-106. All this is before the  first pitch.

There is no other sound like the pop of leather from the catchers mit and the umpire's call of a first pitch strike. As the game settles in the crowd begins to get a feel for how the game will go and can begin to sense or maybe even feel the big plays that haven't happened yet. But it's the case with baseball that we don't get the chance to read tonight's script before the game. So the RBI double to center or the 5 - 3 double play inspire a level of excitement that can't be experienced at home on the couch.

At Turner Field the home team's fans have a tradition that dates back to Deon Sanders called the Tomahawk Chop.  Once the chop gets going through the crowd it seems all bets are off. We believe that there is no opposing pitcher in MLB that can stand the pressure of 50,000 strong chanting together and waving foam tomahawks.

On Saturday Mike Minor pitched a beauty and Kimbrel picked up a save in a 2 -1 win over the Brewers. But in the end; baseball is really not about winning and loosing. Baseball is about hope. It's about the hope that tomorrow your team will be better than they were today. It's about the dream of being the best against all odds. It's about the idea of our home town hero being just a little better than their hero. Baseball is hope and faith, and belief. That's why it will always be America's past time.


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