Was that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Stacy Abrams smacking a smile clean off Freddie Freeman’s face?
Did I watch those two bozos take a sledgehammer to World Series MVP Jose Soler’s new Corvette?
Friday morning, I could swear I saw Ozzie Albies quit grinning, Joc Peterson stub out his victory cigar, The Battery be transformed into Tombstone after the gunfight.
Nah! Just a bad dream. No post-Halloween heebie-jeebies here. Our Braves exorcized all those “choke” perceptions and provided us with a World Series title. They won it. We own part of it.
Parades, fireworks, record-setting merchandise sales. We had our spirits lifted, taking a much-needed break from the nonsense coming at us from Washington.
And why not? The Truist Park scene made us all proud. Like a long-time ago kindergarten lesson, we shared this one.
When Manfred and Abrams sent the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Colorado, I demanded a refund from the Braves. True to my word, I didn’t attend a regular-season game.
Then, the team got hot. They wooed me by making baseball fun. I bought a season-ticket package for 2022, figuring this team had potential.
My baseball “student of the game” son, Greg, along with New Jersey friend, Oscar Molina, kept insisting the mediocre “win one/lose one” Braves were going to make the playoffs. I shook my head at their stupidity.
Greg: “They’re the hottest team in baseball.”
Playoff tickets? Sure, run that Amex for the entire package. And book me a ticket for an Elon Musk space junket while you’re at it.
Tickets and parking for this magical October came with a $3,000-plus price tag. As the playoff run got serious, I listed one World Series game on StubHub. I’ll get $2,500 back in one fell swoop.
The Saturday Series game was up for bid. Then-President Trump announced he was coming, and the tickets belonged to Greg, who finally got to see as much Atlanta post-season baseball as humanly possible.
He estimates President Trump’s seats were 25 yards away. Trump’s presence lifted the crowd’s mood even more. He and Melania chopped and waved, having a good time, despite never being acknowledged by the Braves PA announcer.
The blame for that falls somewhere between the Braves and MLB. But Big Boi and Ludacris got plenty of Truist Park behemoth-screen time.
When Atlanta lost on Sunday to send the Series to Houston, I had a sense of “Good Dad” emotions.
In deciding to not sell the tickets, brother-in-law Kenny Gussion passed along words of wisdom: “Money spends. Memories last a lifetime.”
Greg and Oscar, a long-suffering Mets fan, called this one. They were right, even when wise ol’ Dad played late-season “Taps” for the Braves’ hopes.
Leaving the ballpark last Sunday after a loss, it was a deflated mob. No hooting and hollering. Seems we’d all been here before. True, all we needed was one more win.
The thinking was that win was like preparing to climb Mount Everest wearing shorts and flip-flops.
On Tuesday, Max Fried became a maestro, despite getting stepped on in the first inning. We knew were snakebit, having watched Game 1 starter and ace Charlie Morton suffer a broken leg.
Stupid us! If a 38-year-old could throw 16 pitches on a busted wheel, we should have seen this was a special group that loved being around each other. Max was a monster.
I stayed up way past my bedtime throughout the playoffs. Going to bed after 2 a.m., on consecutive nights hammered home “used-ta-coulds” from those late 1970s college days.
I recovered then. Ditto for 2021. I played hurt and suffered through work, albeit from home.
All the great plays and celebrations will eventually fade. However, there are two things that will remain forever etched in my mind.
I’ll always remember Manfred looking sheepish as he presented the Series trophy to the Braves brass. It appeared to have been forced to gulp a glass of sour milk. He made a hasty exit while being soundly booed by Atlanta fans who had traveled to Houston.
That was poetic justice.
The other memory was leaving the TV and heading down to the office to dig out all the mementos of the 1995 Series win. Vicki and I were there to see that history.
I was a little emotional, handing the publications to Greg, instructing him: “Put these in a safe place and someday you can hand them to your son when the Braves win another one.”
Let’s hope it’s not another 26 years.
Mike Tasos’ column appears every other weekend. He is basking in the glow of finally making good on his longtime promise of getting NLCS and World Series tickets to Greg. He is on Facebook and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.