Back when the Atlanta Braves started the 1982 season with a 13-game winning streak on their way to winning the old National League West, I could easily name every single person on the roster and probably be able to tell you exactly what each player was hitting and which pitcher had the best earned run average on the team.
Pressed today, I think I could still get most of the starting lineup with Chambliss and Horner on the corners, Ramirez and Hubbard up the middle, Murphy in center and Claudell Washington out there too. My memory fades on who the other outfielder was, and I think that was a little too early for Bruce Benedict to be behind the plate, but you get my drift. And if you can name the first names of all of those guys, then you are probably about my age and didn’t buy baseball cards just for the gum.
One of the things that always seems to stick with people as they age are the memories provided by sports, and they try to pass those memories and make a few new ones with the next generation that comes along. My father told me of the time he met Mickey Mantle, and I am sure one day I will tell my boys about interviewing Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and Greg Maddux when they make their way into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Like a lot of kids who grew up in the South, my roots with the Braves go back to when cable television finally made it down my road in rural Bryan County in the early 1980s. Every game was there to see on the SuperStation with its scheduling quirk of starting shows on the 05s. I remember coming home in August of 1984 to find Pasqual Perez and the San Diego Padres engaged in a war of the worlds with fights galore and Horner stepping out of the dugout wearing a cast and acting like the bouncer when things go wrong at the local hot spot.
Those are just some of the memories.
For this generation and for anyone who is still a screaming kid hanging over the rail at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium begging for an autograph, the Braves are coming to you today.
Starting at 3:30 p.m., Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Schafer, Gus Schlosser, Frank Wren and Brian Snitker are scheduled to appear at the Dalton location of Academy Sports and Outdoors for the 2013 Braves County Caravan. Dalton is just one of several stops on the Caravan, but it is definitely an advantage of having a new Academy store here in town.
An autograph session will last until 5, so grab your little one, grab your favorite piece of Braves memorabilia and have it made even more special with an autograph. The event is free and open to the public.
Here is a look at what else is going on this week:
• On Tuesday, it’s the rematch. After losing the first encounter in Tunnel Hill, Dalton’s boys basketball team will try and ruin Northwest Whitfield’s attempt at a perfect Sub-region 7B-4A record. In the first meeting, the Bruins held on for a 63-57 win.
The girls game was not nearly as close, and the winning side was different. Dalton’s girls routed Northwest three weeks ago, and the Lady Bruins can climb back into the thick of the sub-region race with two wins this week. They face the Lady Catamounts and then are at home Friday against Southeast Whitfield, who also has a win against Northwest and is tied atop the sub-region standings. The girls game on Tuesday begins at 6 p.m. with the boys starting right after. On Friday, girls start at 7 p.m. with the boys following.
• Friday also is the start of area traditionals for wrestling teams.
All three classes with local teams will begin Friday and conclude Saturday. Murray County hosts the Area 3-2A tournament, Coahulla Creek and North Murray travel to Central Carroll High for the Area 2-3A tournament and Dalton, Northwest and Southeast head to Gilmer for the Area 7-4A tournament.
• Today, Dalton’s swimming team will host Northwest Whitfield and Chattanooga’s Notre Dame in a three-team meet. It will begin at 6 p.m.
Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. He got Craig McMurtry’s autograph when he made a rehab assignment with the old Savannah Braves. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.