I just got home from Turner Field. The Braves were trying to win their final game of the season so that, at worst, play in a one-game play-off against the St. Louis Cardinals, to be the National League Wild Card team. The Braves were 9-18 in September games; not exactly the way to get yourself into the playoffs. The Cardinals played better, but not well enough to overtake the Braves in the Wild Card standings.
Using the last of the tickets that I had from an April rain out game, my friend Shane and I went to the game tonight. I have to mention that Shane is a Cardinal's fan, and since he couldn't go to Houston to watch his Redbirds play the hapless Astros, he did the next best thing, go see the Braves, and scoreboard watch. (He likes the Braves, too, so it really was a win-win situation for him.)
Since I had to switch out the tickets, we went to Guest Relations, which is located at the entrance to the 755 Club at Turner Field. As we approached the counter, one of the Braves employees, seeing my Mets hat, and Shane's Cardinal's hat said, "The answer is 'No' and 'No'," with his tongue planted firmly in cheek. He took good care of us, and even scanned us in, so that we wouldn't have to go through the normal gate procedures (which also deprived us of the foam tomahawks they were giving out, but it wasn't much of a loss to me).
Instead of going to our seats, which would have been in the upper deck along the third base line, we went to "The Chophouse", which is a bar/restaraunt/patio, located in the right centerfield section of the stadium. You have to admit, the view isn't too bad from out there. The only bad thing was that we basically stood for the 13 innings of the game.
We did avail ourselves of some of the food choices available to us. We both had the pork barbeque sandwhich, which was pretty good, expectedly overpriced, and would have been even better than it actually was if it had just a bit more barbeque sauce.
What really amused me was that even though I was not only wearing a Mets hat, I had on a Mets t-shirt, but I was pretty much left alone, because Shane was attracting all the attention because of his St. Louis hat.
I have to say that the Braves started off really well, but I think the fact that this was game 162 really took it's toll on them. The Phillies, on the other hand, with truly nothing to play for other than some fine tuning of their starters for the playoffs, managed to cut a 3-1 deficit, and tie the game in the ninth inning.
I will say that even though Turner Field was not sold out, the fans that were there were cheering their hearts out. But I think they sensed that the game wasn't going to end in their favor when their closer, rookie Greg Kimbrel walked the bases loaded, and ultimately gave up the tying run.
Because of the expanded September team rosters, the game reverted to a warped version of a Spring Training game, where both teams basically put in every position player and a good number of pitchers into the game to try to end the game as soon as they could.
Meanwhile, thanks to scoreboard watching, Shane and I saw that the Cards jumped to an early lead that they never relinquished. While the Braves were trying to win their game, thanks to the game going into extra innings, the Cardinals game (which started an hour after the Braves starting time) played out and finished. I'm sure someone told the team that the Cardinals had won, but it seemed to have no affect on their performance.
What was a shame to me was that the season for the Braves ended with a double play. Somehow, that seemed anti-climactic. I guess when you choke like Braves did, you don't get to chose a cool game ending play. Well, there's always next year.