The game was over. There was no chance the Braves come back in this one. Matt Cain was cruising along. When Cain was replaced by Javier Lopez, who promptly made Jason Heyward look like a statue, again, I had seen enough.

You see, I’ve been down this road before with the Atlanta Braves. I’ve watched thousands of Braves games over the past 23 years. 

As a six-year-old child in 1988, I watched the Braves finish with 106 losses. I saw them lose 90-plus in ’87, ’89, and ’90.

I have seen every playoff choke, as well as, every thrilling postseason win since the Braves went to their first playoffs, during my lifetime, in 1991.

I have stayed up late on school nights, work nights, the night before my wedding, the night before I was to become a father for the first time, and many more nights to watch the Atlanta Braves play on the west coast.

Never before have I gone to bed in the playoffs because I was so frustrated with the Atlanta Braves.

Yet, on Oct. 8, 2010, while the Braves looked seemingly done in San Francisco, and likely done for the playoffs staring a 2-0 series deficit in the face, I decided it was time for bed in the bottom of the seventh inning.

In my defense, I had a long day. Up before 7am, nine hours of mentally-tiring insurance work at the real job, and chasing my two young boys (ages six and three) around the house for four hours, I was spent before the Braves game began.

As I lay in the bed, I thought of my decision to visit the sandman. “What if the Braves come back while I’m asleep? Would I ever forgive myself? Does this make me a bad fan? Am I like one of those fools that left a postseason no-hitter in the eighth inning to beat traffic in Philadelphia the other night?”

Then I thought, “I’ve seen this episode before. The Braves ARE NOT coming back. The Giants will bring in closer-extraordinaire Brian Wilson for six outs if the Braves even get a base-runner. Forget about it.”

With that thought, I was out.

I woke up for the first time all night at 6am on Saturday morning. I rolled over, picked up my blackberry, and clicked on the application. Imagine the mixed emotions I felt as I read the headline on the recap page, “Ankiel shows Giant-slayer power at 11th hour.”

Part of me wanted to jump out of bed and go screaming through the house, “BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN!”

The other part of me wanted to cry…and write.

To the gods of baseball and the gods of sports fandom, I sincerely apologize. Nay, I throw myself on your mercy. I repent in sackcloth and ashes. I deserve a flogging reserved for only the worst sports fan.

You can bet that this will be the first and last time I ever do something this stupid. Never will I go to sleep on the Braves again.

I pray my punishment doesn’t include the Braves’ bats going back to sleep on me for the remainder of this series.

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