ATLANTA - I can see myself now, 20 years ago today, standing on the couch in my dad's living room as we watched Marquis Grissom camp under that ball and Bob Costas made the call that "the team of the 90's has its world championship."
I was only 10 at the time, a fifth grader at Kittredge Elementary. Our Braves were already known as the team of the 90's and had already gotten stuck with the "Buffalo Bills of MLB" moniker, but that night they finally did it. My dad, stepmother and I all went crazy that Saturday. Then the next morning (my dad's birthday) we woke up and headed to the Original Pancake House on Memorial Drive. When we got there we saw the newspaper stand and the "WORLD CHAMPS!" headline. Of course we bought about 5 or 6 papers and inside was a special poster that read "Bravo Braves." It hung on my wall for the rest of my childhood and is now safely stored in a box in attic. Those posters were just the start of the merchandise. I had T-shirts and a hat that I proudly wore on my first trip to Disney World the next month. Twenty years later, I continue to collect mementos, my sister surprised me with a '95 World Series banner for Christmas a couple of years ago.
With the Braves starting rotation that year of Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine and Avery, with a solid closer in Mark Wohlers, and with what should have been the Rookie of the Year in 1995, Chipper Jones, I think we all thought there would be more of those nights. Unfortunately, there were close calls, but in the 20 years since, Atlanta has yet to see another major professional sports championship. Heck, a championship of any kind is rare.
As a 10 year old, I dreamed, but never knew that I would be covering the Braves 20 years later. I have gotten the opportunity to be in Cooperstown as Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux all went into the Hall of Fame (working with Ron Gant was icing on the cake!). I was also there this summer as the 1995 team got together for Braves Alumni weekend. At that event, because I had gotten so used to covering the big names, (Glavine, Smoltz) I was actually the most star-struck around guys like Rafael Belliard and Charlie O'Brien.
During my time at FOX 5, I have also had a great time digging into the archives from those 90's Braves teams. Watching Ken Rodriguez get doused with champagne and wondering when I will finally get to cover one of those. Perhaps my favorite piece of video that I have uncovered from the night of Game 6 was when the FOX 5 mic was put into the hands of the voice of the Braves Skip Caray and he interviewed Manager Bobby Cox live on the air as everyone celebrated on the field. It is an iconic Atlanta sports moment that still gives me chills.