Jumping The Fence

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Virginia Tech
It was just too easy for Duke on Friday night. (Ivan Morozov)

Friday was one of the best days I’ve had in awhile.  I know that doesn’t make much sense, but humor me for a few minutes.  From a sports standpoint, my first love in life was baseball and the Atlanta Braves.  When you’re a kid and a baseball fan, baseball players take on a sort of mythical status in your eyes.  They aren’t people.  They are baseball players.  If you’re a baseball fan and a kid, there’s a difference.

Of course, the kids are wrong.  They are simply people when it comes down to it, and I got a chance to meet one of my favorites on Friday.  Former Braves centerfielder Andruw Jones was in town with former Tech and Braves pitcher Brad Clontz, and I got invited to go over and meet Jones, and I wasn’t about to pass that up.  I figured I’d get a picture with him and a friendly hello, but instead I got a 15-20 minute conversation about baseball, which was even better.

434 career homers, 1289 RBIs, 10 Gold Gloves, five All-Star game appearances, a Silver Slugger, and a Braves Hall of Famer.  For his time, he was the best defensive centerfielder in baseball.  He was elite.  And I got to sit around and talk baseball with him.  And guess what?  He’s a regular guy. 

Jones now works in the front office for Atlanta, so he’s around the team a lot.  We agreed that Braves manager Brian Snitker is terrific for clubhouse chemistry.  I’ve been watching the Braves since the late 80s, and I think this is the best clubhouse chemistry I’ve ever seen in Atlanta.  They aren’t 10 or 15 games better than