We got to Truist Park before the gates opened. There were multitudes swarming the gates, sort of like the Children of Israel waiting to enter the Promised Land. Except this Promised Land had nachos.
I weaved through the Biblical throngs, making my way to the main office where I was given an unofficial press pass because I am a writer.
Over the years, I have learned that writers get lots of unique privileges. I have been fortunate enough to experience many exciting situations, simply because I was a writer with a press pass. A 24-hour layover in Philadelphia International Airport is only one example.
“The press does not get free beer,” I am told by an Atlanta Braves employee. And by the way the employee says this, I get the impression that writers with press passes are the reason this rule is in place.
Before I entered the park, I passed through a metal detector, emptied my pockets, recited my ABCs backward, etc. Then, they gave me several official bracelets, lanyards, badges, and
a gentleman performed a cavity inspection. And I was good to go.
Next, I was immediately greeted by Larry, my personal tour guide for the evening. I don’t know Larry’s last name, but I know he’s from Chesterfield, South Carolina, because it was on his nametag.
Larry escorted me to batting practice on the field.
Larry is 66 and cheerful. He is an easygoing guy with a raspy voice reminiscent of Louis Armstrong. On our journey through the stadium, everyone, apparently, knew Larry inasmuch as we were greeted by dozens of employees and volunteers who gave him high-fives, handshakes, and fist bumps. Everyone likes Larry.
“You’re a popular guy,” I say to Larry.
He shrugs. “Been here a long time.”
Larry started with the Atlanta Braves organization when he was much younger. “At the time, I’s working three jobs at the time, putting my kids through school.…