Why I still can’t watch the Braves play in Los Angeles

Perhaps one of the worst signings in Atlanta Braves history, center fielder B.J. Upton slumped through another season, and the Braves missed the playoffs. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

I was dead-set on making it through.

Tuesday night, I was going to watch as much of the 10:10 p.m. Braves-Dodgers game as I could before falling asleep. It’s the one time this year I’d be able to watch the Braves play at Dodger Stadium in the regular season, and both teams are among the best in the National League yet again.

But after one inning, I had to stop. I’m just not ready to watch the Braves play the Dodgers in that stadium.

Everything in that first inning was a trigger. The palm trees. Yasiel Puig ripping a single up the middle. Heck, even Adrian Gonzalez’s walk-up song made me break into a cold sweat.

Every bit of that game reminded me of that night a year ago when it all went wrong.

(Also read: 5 times college football coaches hilariously tried to gain a little street cred)

If you recall, the Braves were set to return to Atlanta for the deciding Game 5 of last year’s National League Division Series, if they could just get a few more outs in Game 4 and hold off the Dodgers in their own ballpark. They never did get those outs, and it capped one of the worst nights in Atlanta sports history.

Fast-forward to Tuesday night, when all those sights and sounds seemed way too familiar. Nightmares might not always recur, but there’s always something that can trigger a reminder of the way you felt when you had said nightmare. That’s what I was dealing with as I sat alone and watched the opening inning of the game.

About the Gonzalez walk-up song reference. That seemed like the Fight Song for Carnage during Games 3 and 4. Puig was always getting on base before Gonzalez, igniting the fans. The crowd would swell as El Mariachi Loco blared (specifically, the part that starts five seconds into this video), and it almost always preceded something horrible – or at least that’s how I remembered it. Gonzalez would inevitably do something to inch the Braves closer to elimination during every one of his at-bats.

It’s no surprise that I woke up this morning to news that the Braves blew another lead at Chavez Ravine. This loss might not have stung as much, but it wasn’t pleasant reliving Oct. 7, 2013.

If the Braves make the playoffs, I hope to God they don’t have to go back to Dodger Stadium.

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