Monday, August 15, 2011

Postcard tour: Atlanta, home of Mets triumph and shame

Turner Field in Atlanta has, of course, been a graveyard for the Mets. But the fared fairly well in Fulton County Stadium, Braves’ first home.

According too the Ultimate Mets Database, the Mets won 90 games at “The Launching Pad” and lost 100. That’s not bad considering we’re talking about the 30 years between 1966 and 1996, the vast majority of which the Mets were not especially good.
But the two contests we care about the most were on Oct. 4 and 5, the first ever National League Championship Series games.

The Mets won the first 9-5, with Tom Seaver not particularly sharp but the Mets scoring five runs in the eighth. The next day the Mets won again, 11-6, before completing the sweep at Shea.

There was a home run of note hit in the ballpark in 1974.

The Braves moved to Turner Field after the Olympics, and it’s brought nothing but hurt and shame for the Mets, especially the night in 1999 when Kenny Rogers earned his “Bleeping” through is utter inability to throw a strike to a young Andruw Jones, who had no intentions of even swinging.

But I digress.

I’ve been to Atlanta many time, but always on the way to somewhere else, driving through on I-75 or changing flights.

That means postcard shopping has been limited to Hartsfield Airport. I’ve been able to snag one from the Fulton County days.

My favorite of the Turner bunch shows how the Braves chose to commemorate their old stomping grounds, with the outline of the field in the parking lot, with the spot of fence that No. 175 cleared preserved.

Another has goofy writing on it – missing comma and all -- but we get to see the plaza beyond the outfield that marks the original shape of the stadium from the Olympics.

The others are better. One has a nice view of the inside of the stadium from an Opening Day – note the logo behind home plate.

The other is an exterior shot. It must be a playoff game – note the empty seats. Heh. I do like the new trend of teams putting an historic ball on the backs of the scoreboard. I’m assuming that’s the ball from Aaron’s record-setting blast.

But knowing the Braves, it’s the ball that Kenny Rogers threw high and outside. Or any number of Chipper Jones’ pain inflicting homers.

Next we head to Baltimore, and more pleasant Mets memories.

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