Chipper Jones: Final Game Press Conference “Three errors cost us the ballgame.” Pragmatic and a class act to the end.
But today’s Atlanta Braves win (which was more of a Miami Marlins loss), can best be summed up with this tweet.
— Allan Turner (@ThisRedRocks) July 26, 2012
It amazes me, that as documented here, “Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson … allowed a career-high seven walks and seven stolen bases in five innings, but gave up just one run in a 7-1 win Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park.”
So tonight I was enjoying the tribute to legendary Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox as they retired his number (covered here by AJC beat reporter David O’Brien). I was holding out hope that the Braves would hit a season high six home runs (though five was fine with me) in honor of old #6, when my mood changed. TV announcers Chip Carey and Joe Simpson announced the passing of Atlanta Braves broadcast icon, Ernie Johnson Sr. And with that, my mood changed from happiness to near tears.
By the time I rolled into the O’Shea family (with my birth) back in the late 1960s, the family had seen some hard times–including (a mere 10 days before my arrival) the death of one of the teenage sons (after a long illness). My parents’ job was to raise a family through tough times–and it’s a job they did well. But the demands of family life and a professional career as a electrical engineer/salesman left my father with minimal desire for seemingly needless chit-chat at the end of a long day. Where my father was a man of few words, he was blessed (ahem) with a son who loved to talk.
One way a chatty kid and a stoic father could connect at the end of the day was Braves baseball. My father educated me in the ways of multitasking sports at an early age. In the days before Internet, satellite radio and cable TV, my father built a media situation room with one TV and one radio. If there was a basketball game on the TV, you can bet there might be a baseball game on the radio–or vice versa.
As I noted when Skip Carey died back in August 2008, the Braves announcing crew of the 1970s and 1980s unwittingly provided a lasting connection to my father. Whenever I heard Ernie, Skip or Pete Van Wieren, I was instantly with my dad again in the car or in the living room taking in one of those underperforming 1970s Braves teams. When I learned Ernie died tonight, part of me was emotionally 17 again standing in the rain outside a hospital where my father had just died.
I really hope the Braves broadcast team do more of a tribute to Johnson in the coming days. Chip did not mince words tonight in explaining how he learned far more from Ernie than he ever did from his own father, Skip.
The Braves management quickly announced tonight that for the remainder of the season they would wear a patch in honor of Ernie. I hope that patch gets to go to the World Series.