This is a personal piece about my day in Atlanta at game 4 of the NLDS. Last year I went to game 5 of the NLCS in Chicago before I contributed to Dodgers Nation and I chronicled that magical day, too. This day was quite eventful for my family and myself, and I am sharing it with you here.
A little background into what was happening for the Gonzalez family. We had just finished our first ‘real’ vacation in a very long time. My wife and I live in Tennessee, and both our families live in different states. Most of our traveling involves going either to Pennsylvania (I married a Phillies fan but she’s the best) or to California. Every Dodger game I’ve gone to this year (one in Philly and two in LA) only happened because I was visiting family. We never travel just to vacation. This time was an exception. We spent a week in Florida with my wife’s family doing nothing but swimming (and I watched the Dodgers of course) and spending time with each other. My daughter is 3, she had a great time.
Back Home To Tennessee From Florida
Sunday, October 7th was the end of our week long vacation. We had to drive back to Tennessee. Before our child was born, these 12-13 hour drives were a fairly easy, one day affair. Anybody that has children knows a 12-13 hour drive in one day ain’t happening. We split the drive into 2 days now. We drove about 7 hours from south Florida to Macon, Georgia and got a hotel for the night. The hotel doesn’t have FS1, thankfully I used my cable provider to stream the game on my laptop with the hotel’s free wifi. We lose the game and it was ugly. I go to bed a little annoyed, but confident we’d win game 4.
The next morning started off as they all do in a hotel for our little family. Kid wakes up early, we get coffee and free breakfast, and come back to the room to pack up and hit the road. I realize that the Dodgers losing game 3 means we will be driving through Atlanta, right by SunTrust Park, as the Dodgers are in there. The freeway we use to get through Atlanta literally drives RIGHT BY SunTrust. The frustration of missing this is not lost on me. I decide to check on the price of tickets to game 4. This is 10 am, eastern time. The tickets are not nearly as expensive as I imagined. I paid a small fortune to go to the NLCS in Chicago last year. I remark that the ticket prices aren’t too bad out loud, to my wife. Expecting an eye-roll, she asks, “How much?”
After some conversation, I’m extremely surprised. My wife asks how badly I want to go, and how sad I’ld be if we lost. I remarked that we had just spent a week in Florida, and spending the money for 3 NLDS tickets seemed irresponsible–but that when it came to seeing the Dodgers in the playoffs, I was biased in terms of making a good decision. My wife (who is a saint, by the way) suggests we go. She says that the fact that we’re driving by the stadium when the Dodgers are there is far to kismet to ignore. I can’t help but agree.
We buy the tickets.
Off To Atlanta
We make sure our dog can be watched one more night by our friend, and we bite the bullet and buy the tickets. I am ecstatic. My wife asks my daughter if she’s up for one more adventure. My daughter is ALWAYS up for an adventure. We drive 90 minutes or so to Atlanta. While there, we spend an hour or two in downtown. We take our daughter on an overpriced Ferris wheel ride, walk around downtown, and decide to drive over to SunTrust Park. For most of you who haven’t been there–it’s in a cool area. They call it “The Battery.” There are shops, restaurants, places to go; it’s really a miniature town around the stadium. Parking is a catastrophe there–no lie. As we’re driving around looking for a place to park, our day gets even more surprising.
Parking isn’t easy in that area. We drove around for a while until we got advice from someone on where to park (thanks to Leah, a wonderful member of Dodger Twitter @zestitude who I also had the pleasure of meeting at the game.) We’re driving looking for parking, and a young girl turned left when there was no green arrow. I saw her at the last second and slammed on the breaks, but it was too late. Right as it happened, I knew I was fine. I looked at my wife who was upset, and I looked back at my daughter in the backseat who seemed more confused. She was fine. then I wondered what we were going to do about the game. This was rather selfish, so I focused on the moment. Sparing these boring details–everyone was fine. Once we got the wreck information settled, spoke with the officer on scene, we talked about our next move. Our car was a wreck, but still drive-able. The passenger door doesn’t open, but my wife and I both agreed we could drive it home, and we paid good money for these NLDS tickets–we WERE watching this game. My daughter was fine, just annoyed that she had to wait longer for a snack. We grabbed a quick bite, and got into the line to get into SunTrust. My wife seriously called our insurance to report what happened while waiting in line. She’s an absolute giant of a person. We got to our seats, and I told the world (Ok, Twitter) that nothing was getting in our way of a Dodger Win.
— AJ Gonzalez? (@AJontheguitar) October 8, 2018
You all saw the game, I won’t tell the story through my own eyes. I’ll just share a few things I thought were interesting. Yasiel Puig gets booed more than anyone, though this is not surprising. The Tomahawk chop is still a racist, culturally appropriated, bad look for all Braves fans. My daughter who is 3 loved it–but how could she not? That, and playoff atmosphere is fun at any ballpark. Seriously fun. Braves fans (to credit them all) were all mostly very kind and personable. They did NOT however, appreciate one thing I did. After Manny hit that 3-run home run to all but seal the game, I picked up the plush tomahawk in my drink holder, and chanted that absurd chant, but replaced the words with “GOOOOO HOOOOOOME! GOOOOOO HOOOOOMMMEE..” They didn’t find this funny. Another shout out to my wife warning here: My wife and I have an agreement over our teams fandoms. If the Phillies are playing and they’re not playing the Dodgers and we are attending, I will root for them. The same goes for her and the Dodgers. From PITCH ONE she was cheering at every ball the Dodgers took, every base hit, every out. She had no fear whatsoever.
Mid game I did finally go take a photo with fellow Dodger family, Leah.
— ? babeheart ? (@zestitude) October 8, 2018
I plan on writing a full piece on the magic and love that is the Dodger Twitter family. Here is the photo we took. Never met before, just friends through the Dodger Twitter ether. It’s a pretty magical place. I am also pretty sure I was on some guys live stream…He kept filming the back of my (Justin Turner) jersey and saying “my boy here got the dime piece on his jersey, Dodgers FOR LYFE!” It was a blast. The tension of the game was incredible, but I remembered to record the last out. Kenley Jansen blew away Freddie Freeman.
We walked an eternity back to our damaged car, and it took me 3 and a half hours to drive home. The car drove fine, other than having to take some pieces off of the bottom so as to not scrape on the tires. Both my girls, absolute troopers, took naps on the dark drive home. I promised my wife I wasn’t too tired to drive. I re-lived the day in my head over and over. Even the parts I didn’t like. It was all worth it. Perhaps it wasn’t quite having Vin Scully narrate Dr. Seuss with your daughter on screen, but it was a magical day either way.
[button color=”pink” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-comparing-2017-and-2018-post-season-rosters-tr0864/2018/10/10/”]Comparing the Dodgers 2017 & 2018 NLCS Rosters[/button]