As I did with the games in my previous railtrip to the midwest, I brought a cow-spackled comp book to the stadium in Atlanta, intent on writing down notes during the game—just as any responsible journalist would do. And then, after getting back to the laptop, I proceed to type up my game summary… without even opening the notebook. Granted, some of the things I made note of (such as the little boy on the Jumbotron who really, really, really didn’t want to be on the Jumbotron and who consequently got the biggest laugh of the night) are things that are worth keeping in mind for my purposes as a writer, but not really that important in the outcome of the game.
However, there are some things I made note of that probably should have at least been mentioned in my post. Like that half an hour before the first pitch it was raining so hard I could hardly see the outfield wall. I was huddled in a tunnel connecting the concourse with the seating bowl and had a chat with the usher, who assured me that the drainage system was among the best in the majors, and that if the rain would stop in the next five minutes, there shouldn’t be any problem starting the game on time. I scoffed at this. Well… five minutes later, the rain stopped, and the game started exactly as scheduled, even with all the pregame festivities.
But if I could be let off the hook for omitting either of those notes, there’s no way I can get away without talking about the most important at-bat of the game. The Braves had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth. At that point, the score was 6-1, Dodgers. Juan Francisco was called on to pinch-hit. I classified this game as a “yawner,” but with a good at-bat, Francisco could have made the game very interesting indeed. If he’d been able to draw a walk, for instance, he’d have forced in a run and brought the potential tying run to the plate. If he’d focused on situational batting and tried to dunk one the other way, maybe two runs would have scored, and the outcome would’ve seemed much less certain going into the ninth. However, Francisco simply took three great big futile hacks—hoping to “run into one,” as they say—before heading back to the dugout, driving most of the fans to the exits in disgust.