I was at the infamous Braves-Cardinals playoff game last Friday night, and it was incredible. I’d never been to a baseball playoff game before, and the atmosphere was electric. When the Braves took the lead on a second inning home run, the stadium floor was jumping up and down with the fans. The Tomahawk Chop, which at every other Braves game I have been to lasted only a minute or two, went on and on. Sometimes it lasted five minutes, sometimes ten, and everyone was doing it. Fifty two thousand people all doing the Tomahawk Chop is something I will never forget.
The game will be remembered for fans throwing trash on the field to dispute a call. The call was atrocious, but the reaction was surprising. I’ve never seen that much passion from Atlanta sports fans. It was actually nice to see them indignant for once. Normally when bad things happen to the Braves, the fans just say “Oh, well,” and move on. The team got hosed, and it was refreshing to see that they weren’t just going to roll over.
Then again, I wish they had found a different way to show it. Throwing beer is a violent act, even if no one gets hurt. I was scared, and my kids were scared, and that shouldn’t happen at a baseball game. I love the passion, Atlanta, but we need a better way to express it.
All in all, though, it was a very memorable night. In addition to the trash, it was Chipper Jones’s last game. It was an amazing experience, comparable to when I went to game five of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003 and the Olympic volleyball final I saw in 1996. I had never imagined Braves games could be that much fun, and now I’m going to cheer for them in the regular season just because I want to go back to Turner Field for another playoff game.
I guess that means that, after eleven years of living here, I’m now a Braves fan.