by Ray Bergman
Game 8 - Braves vs Rockies at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
August 11, 1996I arrived in Atlanta hoping to be entered with my dream in a special event for the 1996 Summer Olympic's. But no, everyone has left, gone home with their medals and here I am waiting to see another ball game. This is my Olympics... traveling 13,000 miles by car in a two month period and seeing 28 Major League Baseball games. If this isn't heaven then its just around the next corner at the next ballpark.
The Braves franchise was one of the original 16, begun in 1876, in Boston where they played until 1952. They then relocated to Milwaukee, where they spent 13 years from 1953 through 1965. They won two National League pennants there in 1957 and 58, and one world series in 1957. I vividly recall the series against the New York Yankees. It was the the third game and the first time a World series game was played in Milwaukee. Tony Kubec of the Yankees hit a home run in County Stadium and you could literally hear a pin drop. I have never to this day witnessed a ballpark being that silent after a home run. Some moments never leave you and that was one of them.
The highways in Georgia are in the best shape of any we have traveled on so far and the Atlanta area is quite beautiful with lots of greenery and big, good looking homes. We did some sightseeing and ate at the famous Varsity restraurant. After doing these things we were ready for game 8 at the old BALLPARK called Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Next year the Braves will move into the new Olympic Stadium.
The game was delayed one hour and ten minutes because of rain, a common occourance in this part of the country. Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium is a circular stadium with two levels and one skybox level. The game finally got started at 9:15pm. John Smoltz started for the Braves and Roger Bailey for the Rockies. Both pitchers were strong. Smoltz gave up a homer to Ellis Burks in the top of the fourth, while Bailey pitched seven scoreless inning and gave up just three hits.
Bailey was lifted in the top of the eighth for a pinch hitter. Marvin Freeman came in and proved to be ineffective, giving up four runs on three hits, a walk, and a hit batsman. The Braves had several scoring opportunities in the prior innings but Bailey was able to close the door and allowed no earned runs. Smoltz pitched eight innings before giving way to Mark Wohlers in the ninth, and the Braves held on to win 4-1.
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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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