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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

August 11, 2005

Home of the Braves

by G-Rob

Near the press entrance, there are two elevators at Turner Field. The first is for fans who are too old or fat for stairs. The second is called the "press express," a two stop shuttle from the press box to the field. On Tuesday night I spent nearly 4 hours bouncing back and forth, meeting both shifts of elevator attendants, while my temper rose like the counterweight on every passing floor.

The lower level, down in the industrial core of the stadium, looks like the boiler room of every large building you've ever seen, except there are security guards every 15 feet. It's odd to walk past doors marked "Visitors bullpen" and "Braves Clubhouse" after decades of staring down at them from nosebleed seats. The corridor to the field itself is along the first base line, and we were allowed to cruise on out, as long as we stuck to the warning track.

The best part of the press box, is the lounge outside. There are hot dogs, chips, pizza and cokes served gratis for the writers. My photographer had 3 dogs, I had four, with chili. John Miller, the ESPN announcer was there, wearing too tight navy shorts and a hawaiian print shirt, shoving some sort of yellow pasta into his mouth. Skip Caray was there too, seated with 4 friends in the media lounge and clearly not enjoying his sandwich.


We'd gone, Mark and I, for a story about the man throwing the ceremonial first pitch, but the subject balked. We waited for him to meet us at the pre-determined spot from 3:15 until just one hour before the 7:35 start. We spent that last bit on the field. Our guy never showed up. The opening lob came from some woman, on behalf of the Georgia lottery. The story was a failure and I was not amused.

Luckily Mark is a hardcore Braves fan so HIS mood never changed. He was just happy to say he'd been THIS close to Wilson Betemint. In fact, between bites of mustard soaked meat, he was even more excited about seeing Skip Carey.

While we stood at the press entrance, Mark saw Skip sneak through the police door, "There's Skip!" He actually giggled.

It was the same in the canteen. Mark was excited and Skip was nonplussed. It's odd to see two people in roughly the same line of work, in exactly the same situation, have such different reactions.

About 5 hours away...

My family was still in Charleston, I'd left there at 7:00AM. We headed TO the beachhouse on Saturday morning and met up with mom, dad, sister, brother, and assorted signifigant others. My brother, after reading this MEGA-BLOG, had been hounding me for a poker game, and I'm always game. His e-mails went like this :

August 1, 2005
TO: G-Rob

Hey! Bring your chips to the beach so I can school you at some poker.


August 2, 2005
TO : G-Rob

I was serious about that last e-mail, in case you were wondering.


Needless to say, I brought my chips.

In the Box

It was obvious Carey and Miller knew of each other. Most likely, they know each other's work quite well. Here they are, two of a very limited number of men who follow the sport they love from city to city, describing what they see. There are as many as 1,585,243 people who would consider that the coolest job in the world.

When Miller sat down to devour his food, I noticed Skip gave hime that "Hey there" handshake we give to old coworkers we haven't seen in awhile, but were never close with. Within seconds of the greeting, Skip sat back at his table of youngsters while Miller's fork picked up the pace.

Neither of them was outwardly excited by the press box decor. In fact neiter of them was eating a free dog. ASTOUNDING! Who passes a free ballpark dog? Not me, that's for damn sure.


That's 3 stacks of 8.

8 $5 Reds
8 $1 White
8 $.25 Black

In the first game my brother smoked me like a 6'5" bong.

We played again.

This time he didn't even choke on the toke. Smoked again.

We played again.

I had a 98-2 chip advantage, and he still beat me. I was getting bored.

By now my mother was curious. She'd never played before, and I'm fairly certain my cursory explaination sounded like the Far Side, "What dogs hear." My pops played too. 4-HANDED... WOOO HOO!

This time its 8 chips a piece, with only one blind of a single chip.

The winner?


She called every bet, and won every hand. Total Domination.


The only thing more obvious than Skip's lack of interest in ESPN'S John Miller, was his lack of interest in me and Mark. Our press badges have the words "NO AUTOGRAPHS" in big white letters on the front, and a million letters in tiny print on the back make it clear any unsolicited interaction with people off the field or out of the interview room could get us killed. Mark was frothing, and I'm sure it wasn't the chili.

Instead, Skip wasn't talking about baseball or how cool the view is up here. He was bitching up a firestorm about whatever it was that happened at WORK that day. It was the same droll watercooler crap that Jane from accounting prattles on about while waiting to send a fax. Nothing to see here folks, just a man at work.


The next night, my mom was really eager to play poker again but, believe it or not, I had no interest at all. I take poker seriously, and for some reason this family game felt nothing like the game I loved. I would have happily played checkers or Scatergories, or what-the-hell-ever, but POKER is not a family fun night game anymore. Sometimes it feels like work. But, so far, I still love this job.

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