Braves 4, Astros 2, 11 innings
Cardinals 8, Dodgers 3
Astros-Braves series tied 1-1
Why are they still doing the Tomahawk Chop in Atlanta? It’s done. It’s tired. The fans aren’t even into it. When I went down for the Mets-Braves NLCS Game 1 in 1999, they handed out those foam red tomahawks to everyone who entered. They’re probably still giving them out because they made so many in the 90s, expecting the Braves to advance in the postseason, that they’ve got boxes of them in storage in Decatur. But in the third inning, or some other early point in the game when Atlanta got a runner on with two outs, someone in the production room on the press level pressed a button, and the canned chant came from the P.A. system, and about a quarter of the 40,000 fans in the ballpark started chopping with their foam tomahawks. Not even into it. Nevermind all the offensive and politically incorrect connotations (it’s way more offensive, in my mind, than a team called the Indians), but it’s so yesterday and passe. And they need to be prompted! They don’t start chanting or cheering until the P.A. prompts them! Ridiculous. The only team that might have less of a homefield advantage in the playoffs right now is the Angels, and that’s only because of all the Red Sox fans who have migrated to Southern California. If it were the A’s or Twins or another team playing Anaheim, there wouldn’t be that problem. So the Braves managed to eek out a win when they tied it in the eighth and John Smoltz worked three shutout innings until Rafael Furcal — who will go to jail when the season’s over and cannot participate in any postseason celebrations because of his second DWI arrest and recent sentence — lined a two-run homer in the 11th. So no sweep for the Astros, but I’m still sticking with my belief that this was the Braves’ final home game of the season.
Cardinals lead series 2-0
It has just become official: Anyone mocking the mandated “I’m John Kerry, and I approve this message” tag that’s required on campaign commercials is lame. That joke has jumped the shark. Jared — from Subway — began a commercial for the chain during the game. Through last night, the Dodgers are now 0-8 in postseason games since Orel Hershiser jumped into the arms of catcher Rick Dempsey in 1988, and I’m not sure a game at home with Jose Lima up against Matt Morris is going to temporarily put off that ninth loss. Getting nine losses before two wins seems to me to be a lock. Maybe Lima can bring back some of that old magic from his Astrodome days, but it would only be putting off the inevitable for one day. In the final few weeks of the season, the atmosphere had changed around Dodger Stadium — fans were coming early and staying through the end of the game. And why wouldn’t they? The Dodgers were battling, playing exciting baseball in a tight pennant race with their arch-rivals. They had something like 56 come-from-behind victories this season, second only to the Yankees. Down 0-2 in a best-of-five series, I don’t expect the seats to be filled all the way to the ninth if L.A. falls behind by three or four runs. They’re going to have to have a lead or be within a run or two to keep the fans around.