Here is the second chapter of my Mug Series where I will eventually be threatened with deportation from the great state of Missouri! Today’s mug is a little about my baseball joy and personal discovery in 1995!
Atlanta Braves 1995 World Champions
When I wrote about this mug in February 2011, I never mentioned the Braves. I’m chalking that mismatch up to an undiagnosed condition that causes brain fog! So, let’s talk about those Braves!
I mentioned last week that I was Atlanta-bound as soon as I had a job to bring me there. I made that decision in 1989 when I visited Atlanta for the first time. I was also becoming a supporter of the Braves much in the same way one becomes a supporter of the Cubs. The Braves shared a station with World Championship Wrestling in and when the Braves game ran over, Mom and I watched the end of it before wrestling came on. At that time I was not an internet freak and there was no place on our Detroit area cable where I could watch my National League team from my childhood, the Cincinnati Reds, so I’d become a mild follower of the Reds, stats in the paper, All Star Game, and when they played the Braves, Cubs or Mets, who we did see on their respective Superstations which were on our cable system. To be honest, I was young, totally into our wresting hobby with a half dozen of my friends and while I did prefer National League ball, I watched mostly the Tigers on TV with Pop and I’d never seen live baseball anywhere but Tiger Stadium. But things in my baseball world were reestablishing themselves, getting stronger again and changing…maybe.
Like I said, I was becoming a Braves fan the same way one becomes a Cubs fan. The Braves were awful! Seeing the end of a Braves game started at laughing at the dismal Braves, waiting for them to lose so our show could start and became wanting to see the sad little guy win once in a while. Soon I knew all the players and was tuning in earlier, often at the beginning of the game. After visiting Atlanta and deciding that was where I wanted to be, I decided to adopt the Braves as my team. If the Braves and Tigers should end up facing each other in the World Series, I’d make that decision when it happened. But, seriously, it would be a LONG time before the Braves ever made it to the World Series!
It‘s a plain fact that you can’t choose who you love, love chooses you, period. Mad as I was as a fan about the strike that cut the 1994 season short, I was more anxious than ever for them to finally settle it and get started in 1995. The Braves were still #1, I was going to end up in Atlanta, I bought all my Braves gear and besides, I look better in navy blue than red. I had my Reds hat and a couple shirts because that team I loved as a kid was now my firm #2 National League team. When the season ended in 94, as it stood the Reds and Braves would have both been in the post season and I really expected things to stay that way in 95. Mom and I were in Cincinnati for Tall Stacks, riverboat festival, during the National League Championship Series in 1995. It was the Braves and Reds facing each other for the right to go to the World Series. The Braves swept the Reds and went on to defeat the Cleveland Indians and win the first World Title in Atlanta sports history. And I celebrated. It was intense watching and I hosted parties at home.
But what was most memorable in the 1995 post season was sitting in our hotel watching game 4 of the NLCS with Mom. I was yelling at the TV, most notably at an Eddie Taubensee passed ball that scored a Braves run when I screeched, “You don’t want us to go to the World Series this year, do you?” Yeah, I really did say “us.” I wasn’t even being impartial when they faced each other for the big stuff, I was cheering against my Braves and didn’t even realize it until Mom laughed at me and pointed it out.
Well, I accepted that. My heart knew what I hadn’t been letting myself see! I still celebrated like crazy when the Braves won it all and when I visited Atlanta in December I bought myself all kinds of Braves Championship gear. After all, I still loved the Braves and was still bound for Atlanta and that would be my home team, someday. But I was wondering if I should ever go to a game when the Reds are in town.
Me and the Pig Red Machine
from The Big Pig Gig, Cincinnati, OH, 2000