Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ready to Roll!

The Braves' Big Three: Glavine, Smoltz & Maddux.

For the second consecutive year, I will be making my travels to Jackson, Michigan for the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament (GMABT) -- Hosted by my friend, Rich Zawadzki. During the event, I will be reunited with other friends, while meeting new friends.

Really excited! Also, it's just another sign that Baseball and Spring is around the corner as well. Last year, I went to the event with my brother Chris Baier (meeting up with him in Grand Rapids) -- in which, I witnessed my brother go to battle in the championship game of the tournament with his 2006 Detroit Tigers against John Roel's 1937 New York Yankees (John eventually won the tournament). I did not have as much luck, going 2-4 in the opening round with the 1917 Chicago White Sox.

This year I will be making my travels with my wife, Becky -- and I will be meeting up with some friends the evening (Friday night) before as well, for the big event she has decided she would stay at the hotel (playing her favorite online game Wizard 101). I momentarily ran into a snag as my folks buried some APBA sets in their attic somewhere... Luckily, Rich had the 1993 Atlanta Braves I could borrow for the tournament.

I would have loved to dress the part, but tight on money, I was not able to update my Atlanta Braves attire (which now stands as nil); Back in the day, I had a Braves hat or two, plus a Fred McGriff uniform shirt as well -- that shirt would be great today, since McGriff did play on that 1993 team.

That Atlanta Braves team went 49-16 during its last 65 games to edge the San Francisco Giants at the end of the season with 104 wins to the Giants' 103 wins; That winning percentage during that stretch clocks at .754, just under the .756 winning pct that the 1906 Chicago Cubs (for an entire season).

For those that know me, I am a Detroit Tigers fan, while I am also a big fan of the Atlanta Braves, more for the Atlanta teams that I grew up with -- I always had a soft spot for them, even during the 1980's when there was not much winning going on for Bob Horner, Dale Murphy, Glenn Hubbard & the boys..

Then came the summer of 1991, my folks just sold the house downstate in Waterford, Michigan & we were bouncing around from campground to campground, while my folks went house-hunting -- Listening and reading about that 1991 Braves team all summer long was excited, plus the emergence of Tom Glavine, John Smoltz & Steve Avery with a MVP season by Terry Pendleton made it a unbelievable season, then catching the Dodgers, and then going straight to the series... Last to First, a new love was born.

Bobby Cox & the boys.
During the 1990's while my Tigers started going through dark (may I mention un-watchable) times, the Atlanta Braves were my team, and it was only fitting that I would be stationed at Ft.Gordon, Georgia (just outside of Augusta) and being close to my team -- I would go to two games, wished that I saw more while down there.

The 1993 team for me, was the best of the entire bunch... yes, 1995 holds a spot of course (because they sealed the deal) -- but on paper, and also in play, I think the 1993 Atlanta Braves are the most rounded of the bunch. It was also painful to see the Braves surrender a 2-0 series lead in 1996 to the New York Yankees -- I feel those Yankees were a little ahead of their time, and that they snatched Atlanta's well-deserved title.

I'm really looking forward to reliving my youth, and although it will be definite joy with all my friends there -- I hope that there is more on-field joy than pain this time around...

Time to bring out the tomahawks!

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