Batting Practice Experience (188th new thing).

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I don’t think it’s any secret that Patrick and I are Atlanta Braves fans. On Day One Hundred Eighty-Eight we had the opportunity to see some of our favorite players up close and personal, and not in the say-hello-as-you-run by-them way of Day 178.

We participated in the Braves “Batting Practice Experience.”

In preparation for our on field up-close look at MLB players hitting practice balls, I grabbed a spare ball Glenn Hubbard had tossed to us at a Pittsburgh game last year and a sharpie. I was going to get signatures, and lots of them, and then maybe even sell the signed ball on ebay or something.

Patrick squashed that dream when he firmly informed me that autographs were not allowed. It said so right there on the ticket. I kind of wondered what the point was if not to get something signed by your favorite player. I mean, people actually pay seventy bucks for this opportunity. If they don’t get any player interaction, why bother? Sitting in the stands and watching batting practice before the game is free (if you have a ticket).

Fortunately, Patrick was wrong. Unfortunately, I had listened to him and left my ball and pen at home. So for us, it was mostly watching the players swing their bats from twenty feet away, behind a temporary barrier and batting cage.

We didn’t even talk to any of the players. I was afraid of saying something dumb and I think Patrick was kind of nervous. We realized it was Freddie Freeman’s birthday after he had come and gone (perfect opener to asking him if he remembered me jogging by and saying hello a couple weeks earlier).  And then we were going to have whoever was on the cover of the game day guide sign it with a borrowed pen, but Hinske had already batted and left, heartily exclaiming how good his practice felt.

We may not have fully taken advantage of this opportunity, but it was still pretty cool. I mean, how else would I have come to the realization that MLB players generally have really big butts?


A Poochy Sunday Afternoon (180th new thing).

October 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bark in the Park is quite possibly the coolest dog-related activity in the Atlanta area. Especially considering the fact that my own pet is named after a Braves player. Patrick and I got to experience the fun day with Murphy for the first time on Day One Hundred Eighty.

I was more excited about the prospect of taking Murph to a Braves game than Patrick. You would think that combining two of his favorite things (a ballgame, Murphy, and maybe me as well to make three) would send him into super elation. I think perhaps he was more worried about the dog going hyperactive-crazy around the other pups and us missing the game. But Murphy behaved exceptionally well.

The Braves have two dog-friendly games a year, in the spring and fall. There’s a limit of one dog per person and you have to buy a ticket for your pooch as well. The pass is general admission and attendees with pets are ushered through a specific entrance and the animals are only allowed in certain sections. There are also several sponsors with tents set up either giving out information or free dog-related products.

To balance out the possibility of our dog going nutso around all the other canines (he loves other dogs), Murphy spent the day and evening before Bark in the Park at doggie daycare. It seemed to work extremely well and he passed the majority of the game calmly sitting or laying on one of our laps. There was even a bit of a nap in the fourth inning. He was well-rewarded for good behavior with some doggie ice cream. Talk about a pampered pooch.

Besides sharing one of our favorite activities with our dog (and we really aren’t usually those kind of people), the Braves won, so we figured it would be safe to bring Murphy back next year. I know he’ll be looking forward to the ice cream.

Stepping where the big-leaguers do (175th new thing).

October 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

Day One-Hundred Seventy-Five found me working on another freelance job, this one for a Comcast commercial, shooting at the Georgia Dome and Turner Field. The shoot days weren’t until later in the week, but being the person that gets to drive a minivan of people around the city paid off. I was able to go on the location scout and get a real behind-the-scenes feel for the sports facilities. I walked on Turner Field and on the turf of the Georgia Dome, the same footsteps that the professional athletes take.

I saw the Braves dugout, their batting cages, and even walked on the field (staying off the grass of course) in the morning.

And after a lunch with the scouting crew I headed over to the Dome and got a first-hand look at the bright green astro turf.

I didn’t see any of the professional athletes whose footsteps I imagined I was following, but the whole behind-the-scenes experience was cool enough.

Ninety-Eight. Summer Dog.

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day Ninety-Eight, Patrick and I attended a Braves game. Earlier in the season (when I had my face airbrushed actually) I saw someone eating a hot dog that looked pretty tasty. It had diced tomatoes and a thousand island type dressing covering the all beef meat on a bun. Since I had already had latex paint sprayed all over my face, and eaten dinner, I filed the image of the Summer Dog away as something new to try, later in the season. And that later came up on Day Ninety-Eight.

Patrick and I wandered up to the hot dog stand in the courtyard area of the Ted. Patrick ordered a Georgia Dog with vidalia onions and coleslaw. I got the Summer Dog. The monstrosity that came out was absolutely covered in some strange liquid that looked like thousand island dressing or even McDonald’s secret Big Mac sauce. I didn’t know which I would have preferred. It was actually a kind of combination of the two, with some spiciness that my sensitive palate didn’t care for. The sauce was overflowing off of the bun. I ate the meal, the entire thing, but like the Big Mac earlier this year, I don’t think I will revisit the Summer Dog anytime soon.

Day Thirty-One. Full Face Paint.

April 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

On Day Thirty-One, I went to the 2011 Braves home opening game. I’ve done this plenty before, like every year since I’ve been with Patrick, so I had to think of something new to do at the game. Besides wearing a home made tee of course. I decided I would get a cute little “Braves” or “A” logo airbrushed on my cheek. Marc Crifasi had other ideas and proposed that he would pay to have my face airbrushed, but it would have to be the entire face, and he would get to choose the symbols on each cheek. I thought it could be fun.

Marc originally chose a cheerleader and a USA logo, neither of which I have a problem with, but neither of which really represents going to see an Atlanta Braves baseball to me (sorry, America). So he compromised and turned one into an A for the Atlanta Braves logo.

Patrick was not too thrilled with the whole idea. Actually, he was even slightly opposed to me even getting a small airbrushed token of my fan-ness. I figured he would find the whole episode amusing in a “laugh at Laura” way, but I kind of think he was genuinely embarrassed.

Walking around Turner Field as an adult with your entire face covered in airbrushed red and blue paint is strange. You don’t want to make eye contact with anyone, children or adults, but especially adults. You get comments like, “You must be a real fan” to “A little old for that, eh?” and looks that range from amusement to pity, and even fright. One mother brought her three year old daughter over to me as I sat in my seat and exclaimed, “Oh, look at her face!” I felt like a Circus Freak, here for your entertainment. As the girl turned her head toward me I stuck out my tongue and crossed my eyes, trying to make her laugh. I guess with the face paint she had quite a different reaction and turned back into her mother’s legs in fright. Patrick and Marc rolled out of their chairs with laughter. I had quite possibly made a small child cry.

In the end, the mocking and pity looks didn’t matter. The Braves won. Marc joked that I would have to get my face painted at every game I attended to continue the streak. I hope not. Besides, it was actually the home made fan shirt that gave them the luck.

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