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Astros 5, Braves 4

I got some free Braves tickets from work and Sean and I went together, along with two guys from work, Chris and Steven.

Ticket prices aren’t what they used to be, I discovered, as the Braves have had a pretty unsatisfying season. Unfortunately for us, it continued during this Saturday game with the Astros.

(Note: The Braves are wearing white and the Astros are wearing red in these pictures.)

The game started out pretty well. Both teams were fielding excellently, and the score was neck and neck for most of the game. But then an Astros player was walked when it looked to the crowd like it was a strike, which ended up helping the Astros pull ahead. After that the Braves started making errors. We got a homerun in the 8th inning, tying the score. But the Astros racked up three more runs in the 9th inning.

During the bottom of the 9th, the Braves rallied and picked up two more runs. But it was too late; they were living on borrowed time with two strikes and two outs, and soon enough the game was over. We lost 4-5.

Andruw Jones seemed desperate for a home run towards the end of the game, but he ended up hitting a bunch of fouls.

Despite the loss, it was a pretty neat experience. I’d never been to a professional baseball game before, and had no idea how theatrical it all was. When the Braves were at bat, pop or rap music would accompany each one’s walk to the plate, the LCD ribbons running around the stadium would flash his picture and name around, and the big screen would show his picture and stats. Sometimes, for the more popular ones, there’d actually be a video of the player swinging a bat inside a blue CGI field, with a yellow line snaking around.

When Jeff Francoeur first went to bat, near the beginning of the game, they did the Chop for what seemed like five minutes. This involves music and a row of bright red tomahawks all along the LED strips, chopping away. Unfortunately, he was struck out, as I recall.

The theatrics also involved a bunch of fan stuff. It was fan appreciation, so I don’t know what they do normally, but between at-bats and during other lulls in the game, an announcer would go out in the crowd and pick people to participate in contests. Also, towards the beginning of the game there was something called Kiss Cam, where the big screen would show various couples and those couples had to immediately kiss. I was kind of hoping it’d get me and Sean, but no, alas. It was pretty cute, though; there were a few couples who looked extremely embarrassed and didn’t kiss, and it ended with two guys, who were good sports and gave each other a hug.

The fans were pretty awesome in general, making noise when the screens said “GET LOUD” and doing the Wave about a billion times during the 8th inning. It just kept sweeping around and around the stadium.

Around the 7th inning, Sean and I went to get food: $16 for two hotdogs and two bottled sodas. Yow.

When we were on our way back to our seats, Sean’s Coke fell right off the tray I was carrying and bounced down the stairs. The coolest usher in the world caught it for me, and as he handed it back suggested, “Don’t open it!”

Later in the game he could be seen telling some kids to stop jumping around in the first row.

I wish I had gotten more pictures of the stadium. The place is huge, and it was kind of overwhelming. Our seats were in the Lexus Pavillion, which was on the third level and involved a nice air-conditioned lounge. We saw a press box and a couple other suites attached to the lounge.

But the place was amazing otherwise, too. Restaurants, shops, and apparently enough room for 40,000+ people, because that’s how many were there.

I wish the Braves hadn’t made so many errors and ended up losing the game, but I’m glad I went, and I hope I get to go again someday. Sean says if we lived in Atlanta he’d be interested in season tickets, and he also said he’d like to see the game from near the Braves’ dugout, or near home plate. We’ll have to see :)