Southern Cookin' and Baseball
Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
46Trip End Sep 29, 2011
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I was up early for my 6:30 am flight to ATL. Left right on time and slept a bit on the plane before landing on time. After retrieving my luggage, I headed to Hertz. Nice vehicle...Chevy Traverse. I remember Dick Malcom had one as a loaner a few years ago and I tried it out. Nice vehicle. Love the satellite radio.
I took a chance and headed for my hotel, what else, the Holiday Inn Express Airport to see if maybe I could check in this early...10:00 am
Then I headed for Turner Field to get a ticket for tonight's game. I was a bit afraid since the Braves were in the NL Wildcard hunt, it might be tough getting a ticket. Not so. $45 for an 8th row seat down the right field line about even with the second baseman. Great seat. I even bought a parking permit ($12) for the Blue Lot, about a block away.
Then I headed for a restaurant I had send on TV. It wasn't Emeril Lagasse, although he has been there...you know him...BAM! In fact, I don't even like him. Arrogant. Must have seen it on Triple D because this looked like a real dive from the outside. It was in a small strip mall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. wedged between Bobby's Barber Shop and a beauty salon. It was in the neighborhood of The Georgia Dome where the Falcons play football. The restaurant is called, "The Busy Bee Cafe." Sign outside says, "Southern Cookin" and "You're Gonna Love It!" Truer words were never spoken (or written I guess). I stayed in my car until it opened at 11:00 am, and walked in about 11:15 am
Some of the nicest people in the world. All African-American staff. I knew I was in good hands when I asked my waitress (at the counter), "What do you think? The fried chicken?" She said, "Oh, honey, if you ain't never been here before, you definitely need the fried chicken." And so it was. I should tell you that I love fried chicken like my Grandma Lowrey and my Mom used to make. Grandma was originally from Tennessee and could she cook a chicken? In fact, and I don't mean to gross anyone out, but many is the time I saw grandma, chase that chicken down, take care of business and cook it up. She used lard...at least the The Busy Bee moved on to peanut oil. This is as close as I have ever had to Grandma Lowrey's fried chicken. I should also tell you that I enjoy collard greens (Sandy hates them!). And I rather like the earthy taste of black-eyed peas. I have them every January 1...they mean good luck for the coming year in Southern society. Those were wonderful people serving some wonderful food at that restaurant. Great pics on the walls of people who had eaten there from politicians to celebrities to sports stars
Next stop, back to the hotel to rest and start this blog.
Then I headed to the Atlanta Braves vs. the Philadelphia Phillies game. This game meant something. The Braves held a slim one game lead over their nearest competitor, the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Wild Card. Turner Field was only 10-15 minutes from my hotel. I parked in the "Blue lot." Glad I did. It's a lot about a block from the field and it's sort of up on a hill. As I looked over the ledge at the parking lot below I noticed there was a sign saying, "Former Home of Fulton County Stadium." And on the asphalt parking lot they kept the actual outline of the baseball diamond. Then I noticed something else, they seem to have kept a small wall, some grass and lights on one spot on the field. I knew immediately it was the spot where Hank Aaron hit is famous 715th home run on April 8, 1974 to take over the overall home run record from Babe Ruth. Very cool to keep that monument. Of course, I went down and took a picture. In some people's minds, Hank Aaron still holds the major league record for home runs (755) despite the hitting of a juiced up (steroids) Barry Bonds who ended up with 762
They built Turner Field for the 1996 Summer Olympics as Centennial Olympic Stadium and then refurbished it for baseball. And they did a very nice job. It seats around 50K.
I made may way to Turner Field. Beautiful ballpark. As I did I couldn't help but notice several vendors selling "Hot Boiled Peanuts." Ever have 'em? Some people love them, but let me give some of you non-southerners an idea of their taste. Think about going out to a soy bean field and taking some raw soy beans off a stalk, and after heating them and maybe even adding a little salt, eating them raw. Some bad stuff, I'll tell you. But I always brought some back from the south for an old friend and former boss, Chandler Davis. He loved them.
The Braves tried to keep some of the deep history of the team within the stadium. You see before Atlanta, they were the Milwaukee Braves and before that, the Boston Braves. Some outstanding players have worn the Braves uniform. Besides Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn and knuckelballer Joe Niekro are just a couple
I ventured into the Braves Hall of Fame where they had among other things, the 1992 World Series Trophy and Babe Ruth's final contract in the major leagues...yea, Babe Ruth played for the Boston Braves the last three years of his career.
I was sitting real close to former Brave Ron Gant, Braves color commentator, seeing him give analysis before the game. And I even caught a tee shirt from one of the "cheerleaders" who throw things into the crowd. I gave it to the nice lady sitting next to me. She and her husband were die hard Braves fans. I had no need for a Braves tee shirt. Her husband later enticed right fielder, Mike Diaz to throw him a ball as he ran off the field in the 2nd inning. Very cool.
I enjoyed the great Braves fans. And I loved the "Tomahawk Chop." You know when they start playing some Indian chant music and the crowd raises their arm and moves it forward like they are chopping. Some say it's offensive to Native Americans. I disagree.
The Braves jumped on top with runs in the first and second, but couldn't hold the lead and the Phillies scored four unanswered runs to win 4-2
As I left the park, I saw a family with a young kid with all his Braves attire, including face paint. He got a Braves baseball. He was surprised. Mom and Dad were grateful.
It started raining as I got into my car to leave. All I could think of was "the Albuquerque Curse." What's that you say? Well, it's phrase coined by my good friend Kevin Callis as he, Nan Lochenower (sorry, I may be misspelling Nan's name), Sandy and I were riding back to the hotel after the Boyd conference in Albuquerque. Kevin remarked how he was surprised how well things had worked out for me on my baseball adventure, and Sandy said, "I can't believe you haven't been rained out." I quickly said, "Don't say that!" You'll jinx me!" Kevin said, "If you get rained out at any of these last three games, we'll all know, it was the 'Albuquerque Curse.' Not tonight!!!
Headed back to the hotel, but was a little hungry after having only peanuts and a beer after that gigantic lunch. Answer: Ruby Tuesday. Two tacos and a beer.
On the way into the restaurant, I heard over the radio that the White Sox had just traded Ozzie Guillen (their manager!) to Florida (Marlins) for two minor league players. I called WS fan, Mike Petrinec and my son to confirm. Yep, and I will see the Marlins in two days.
I've never been an Ozzie fan. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Cubs fan first, and a Chicago fan second. I don't hate the White Sox like some Cubs fans do. I just didn't like Ozzie. Always seemed like a jerk to me. Miami can keep him as far as I'm concerned, and I hope the White Sox win another World Series...right after the Cubs do!!!
Tomorrow...My Mom, sister and the Tampa Bay Rays!