banner
Mandy Mitchell

The Mitchell Report: My last chance to cheer

Posted July 27

The day I met Tom Glavine at a Spring Training game in the mid-90s.

Thoughts on the sports world I can't share in a 5 minute sportscast. Some Triangle news. Some not.

When I was growing up I had a giant white board in my room where I would write out the schedule for the Braves. Next to each game I would write "TG", "GM" or "JS" to remind me who was pitching each night. Since the games were on TBS, I rarely missed a pitch (let alone a game) and could tell you from the first inning whether or not Tom Glavine had his "stuff". We all have an origin as sports fans and  for me, it was the Atlanta Braves of the 90s.

Glavine, Greg Maddux and Bobby Cox went into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday, sparking a feeling I didn't see coming. I sat on my couch watching the induction ceremony when it occurred to me: This was the very last time I would have the chance to cheer for this group.

I grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla., which was the spring training home for the Braves for many years. They played at the West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium, which was home to the West Palm Beach Expos during the season.

It was as great a place as a kid could ask for. My parents would allow my brother and me a few days off school a year to hang out at the ballpark -- and by "hangout" I mean spend the entire day there. We went equipped with baseball cards to get signed and gloves and stood there to watch batting practice, bullpen sessions, and eventually a game. We knew exactly how long Glavine and Maddux would pitch and were usually waiting to get something signed before they walked off the mound. I probably have 15 different items signed by each guy. They rarely turned the kids down, even the ones they saw all of the time like me and my little brother. As a fan, I was hooked.

During one of the last seasons at WPB Municipal, which is now a Home Depot, my mom pulled some strings through a friend of a friend and got us in the dugout to meet Glavine. This was a surprise and I can't remember a single thing I said, but I was so mad at myself because I was wearing a Greg Maddux t-shirt that day. I hoped Tom wouldn't be too offended by my unfortunate choice of clothing. He graciously took a picture with me and signed yet another autograph. It was the greatest day of my young life.

Today brought me back to those memories I treasure so much and allowed me to remember a time when being a fan was always great and never a disappointment.

As we get older, we lose the starry eyes in which we look at our sports teams. We run out of time to watch a pitch (let alone a game) and we stop seeing sports for what they are supposed to be: Fun. If you want to feel old in an instant, watch your childhood heroes go into the Hall of Fame. If you are lucky enough to have that happen, as I was today, take the chance to cheer one last time and remember why you started out as a fan in the first place.

5 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Doc Holliday Jul 30, 7:15 p.m.

    Looking back, I'm just glad the umps gave Glavine & Mad Dog 2, 3, 4, sometimes 6 to 8 inches off the plate.

    Kiddin'......2 great pitchers. They represented the Braves well & nice story.

  • coonie78 Jul 29, 3:10 p.m.

    Great story Mandy. I made the trek to Cooperstown Sunday, it was an experience I'll never forget.

  • gregoryrjones Jul 28, 2:19 p.m.

    From one Braves fan to another, "That was on the money." I started watching the Braves when you knew the color code of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium better than the players!!! I was in 4th, 5th and 6th grade then. It was amazing to see them rise to where they are now and I have enjoyed every moment of the journey.

    With Glavine, you had to get him within the first three innings. If you didn't, you wouldn't.

  • 2thebeach Jul 28, 8:21 a.m.

    "Bravo"

  • StunGunn Jul 27, 10:08 p.m.

    Great piece, Mandy - thanks for sharing. Today may be the last time you get to see this remarkable group together, but you have memories that will last a lifetime. And you turned your love of sports into a career - good for you!

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Dallas

    Today at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • WCBB: Duke vs. Kentucky

    Today at 3:00 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tuesday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
3rd
CAR 10
CLE 3
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
3:30pm Today
TOR
NYK
4:30pm Today
CLE
MEM
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
PHI
6:00pm Tonight
WAS
PHO
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
2nd
BGU 55
FERST 68
 
2nd
ARMY 43
MAINE 48
 
2nd
QUIN 55
ORST 50
 
2nd
CLST 54
USF 55
 
2nd
CARK 32
CCAR 30
 
1st
UWGB 31
ARKLR 27
 
1st
RAD 26
CORN 32
 
1st
UNT 28
CREI 12
 
1st
CAN 19
HC 16
 
1st
USB 17
GHND 20
 
1st
OKST 20
MD 23
 
1st
WINT 28
REIN 19
 
1st
UGST 36
SMISS 21
 
1st
NEOM 35
TXPA 30
 
1st
STLU 18
VERM 17
 
1st
UNCA 26
WCU 18
 
1st
EVAN 36
ALAST 26
 
1st
HART 20
FIU 8
 
1st
VALPO 9
GOSHEN 0
 
3:00pm Today
LIP
PEAY
 
3:00pm Today
DEN
BRY
 
3:00pm Today
MONT
SD
 
3:00pm Today
MTST
TENST
3:00pm Today
SAMF
LAMON
 
3:30pm Today
SCAR
COKR
 
4:00pm Today
HAMP
NARZ
 
4:00pm Today
SDU
SDCHR
 
4:00pm Today
BC
USC
4:30pm Today
NICST
TROY
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
UCI
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
3rd
NOS 7
ATL 13
 
Half
HOU 16
BAL 0
 
3rd
CAR 10
CLE 3
 
Half
CHI 7
DET 7
 
3rd
TAM 3
GBP 10
 
3rd
PIT 10
KAN 6
 
Half
MIA 7
MIN 17
 
3rd
NYJ 10
NEP 7
 
4:05pm Today
STL
NYG
4:25pm Today
OAK
BUF
4:25pm Today
DAL
IND
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA