A friend asked me if I was going to have a Super Bowl party on Sunday. I told her no. I have no desire to host a Super Bowl soiree unless the Falcons are playing in it and even then, I’d probably pass on throwing a party because I’d want to be able to actually watch, and hopefully enjoy, the game. The Super Bowl is a breed unto itself when it comes to sports championships as it is not held in the home stadium of either of the teams that are playing. I get why that is, but think the lack of access for the fans–those who bleed their team’s colors–takes a lot away from the atmosphere of the game.
I have never attended a Super Bowl. I have, however, been to a World Series and can easily proclaim that experience among the most exciting I have ever had. When I think back to the Atlanta Braves of 1991 and their worst-to-first season, I have to pinch myself to believe I was actually there! And when I say there, I mean for not just the World Series but also for the NCLS games that were played between the Braves and the Pirates. Well, all the games that were played in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Well, all the games with the exception of one.
The one game my husband and I did not attend was played in the afternoon. At the time we were working on the CBS television series In the Heat of the Night and we couldn’t get off of work that particular day. We sold our tickets to an actor on the show (he apparently was free) who took his son with him to the game. The cast and crew members who were from Georgia had a great time celebrating the fact that the Braves made it to the NLCS by defeating the Dodgers, whom most of the actors and L.A. based crew were actively (and obnoxiously) rooting for. During that homestand, I remember seeing a Braves fan holding what would become one of my favorite signs of all time, it read: “Tommy, your chances are getting Slim Fast.” Some of you will remember that Tommy Lasorda, the Dodger’s longtime former skipper, was at one time a spokesman for Slim Fast.
Back to the World Series–the Braves vs. the Minnesota Twins. Corny as it might sound, the atmosphere was nothing short of electric. The now annoying Tomahawk Chop was in its infancy and the crowd was doing it spontaneously and non-stop. Flashbulbs were popping. The Braves of 1991 played with hunger, passion and belief! They donned their rally caps and stood on the steps of the dugout to get a better look at the action. They were young and for the most part unknown. It was during that worst-to-first season that the chemistry finally clicked, magic finally struck. Atlanta, after many years of drought, was no longer thirsting for a winner. Well, not quite. In the end, the Braves lost that series, which is still known as one of, if not the, greatest of all time, in seven games. They won all that were played in Atlanta, however, and two of those wins I witnessed first hand.
So, while the Saints are about to play in their first Super Bowl ever, I am thinking back to the first appearance by the Atlanta Braves in a World Series. As I sit here remembering, I cannot believe that this happened almost 19 years ago! Don’t know about other Braves fans, but I feel bad about taking the World Series title in 1995 and the 14 consecutive divisional titles for granted. I am thirsty again!