by Ray Bergman
Game 4 - Padres vs Braves at Jack Murphy Stadium
July 31, 1996Its now the last day of July and I'm on my way to Jack Murphy stadium (originally called San Deigo Stadium until 1982), to watch the Padres host the World Champion Atlanta Braves.
I just completed the 2-1/2 hour drive from Los Angels to San Diego and there is a good reason they call California the Golden State. As I drove the scenic route to San Deigo all the hills and fields were covered with dead, dried up grass and weeds, golden in color. California gets little if any rain during the summer months but plenty of sunshine.
The Padres came into the National League along with the Montreal Expos in 1969. This was the second time that the National League expanded their franchises. This brought the total strength of the Majors to 24 teams, 12 in each league. Concurrently with this expansion in 1969, MLB reorganized into two divisions (eastern and western) for each league. This lengthened the baseball season since the two divisions created a need for a league Championship Seris (LCS) to determine the ultimate league champion.
The Padres have produced one winning team in their 26 year history,and that came in 1984 when they defeated the Chicago Cubs to claim the National League crown. They were, however defeated in the world series by the Detroit Tigers.
Today I had another part of my dream come alive, through the generosity of the Padre's public relations dept, I received not only free tickets and a parking pass but also I was allowed to go on the field and mingle with the press, the players and related baseball people. I spent most of my time with the "Crime Dog" Fred McGriff. He was a complete gentlemen and was truly interested in my dream trip. He autographed my schedule and wished me a safe journey. What a thrill to stand right next to the batting cage and hear that famous sound of the ball meeting the bat.
And now, once again, its time to PLAY BALL!
Atlanta jumped out with three runs in their half of the first, aided by some sloppy fielding by the Padres and some wildness by Bob Tewksberry, the Padres starting pitcher. Atlanta kept adding to their lead with one run innings, and it was 6-0 going into the eighth. Tom Glavine, the Braves starting pitcher, was cruising along, but in the eighth the Padres were able to put four runs on the board and close the score to 6-4, Braves leading. The Braves added one more run in the top of the ninth and held on to make the final score Braves 7, Padres 4.
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.
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