I’m going to a minor league baseball game today. It’s only a short drive from Turner Field, where the major leagues play. I have no idea what to expect from the Gwinnett Braves, the last stop for any player hoping to make it to the Big Braves. It must be a strange feeling, to be playing baseball in Lawrenceville, Georgia, when the Big Brave are so close at hand, yet so far away.
It’s a wretched twist to be that close, to read the headlines, to watch some games on television, and yet to be playing in the “bushes.” I remember talking with a minor league player whose team had to travel through Atlanta to get from one minor league town to another. The bus would drone through the night, but this player always made certain he never missed being awake in time to look out the bus window and see Turner Field. Always the stadium lights would be on, like some dastardly tease, and he’d go back to sleep and dream of someday playing under those lights.
Eventually, he did. He made it, from the bush league to the majors. But he never forgot those lonely nights when the bus roared through Atlanta. Right by the park where major league teams had played. And he, curled up like a lonely kitten in a bus seat, with only his dreams to build on.
This is just a throwback through the mist of time. Going out to Lawrenceville to see another team of dreamers playing to make the 15- mile switch, from the bushes to the Big Show. I know what it’s like, for I rode buses through the bush leagues, hoping that some day I’d get my chance to ride the train, or the plane, in the big leagues. I was never so sure it was going to happen, but when it did, the big leagues came to me. The Braves came to Atlanta, and thus a long journey and an ambition came to fruition.
Just another day of a sport writer’s life, reaching back through a 15-mile trip to the days I used to know. Lawrenceville, G-A.