The Braves Caravan is touring the Southeast, getting the fans pumped for the 2011 season! I'm pretty sure they put together the Peachtree City group of players just for me (haha), because look at all my fave guys who were in attendance! The order of the autograph table was bullpen coach Eddie Perez, assistant GM Bruce Manno, Nate McLouth, Jonny Venters, David Ross, and Brian McCann. No, Nate wasn't one of my faves before Thursday. Do I like him much better now? Yes!
Alison and I decided to tell our story conversation-style -- it's fun to read this way occasionally, right? :) Here we go!
Lauren: We arrived at the Publix in Peachtree City around 2:15 – we were #124 and #125 in line at that point. I knew the line would be crazy because of BMac, but wow, getting there 2 hours early and being #125 in line?
Alison: Yeah, that was pretty nuts. But at the same time, I still wasn't surprised. But I was mostly cranky, I think. There were an AWFUL lot of children around...
Lauren: There were people at the front of the line in camp chairs. I wanted to ask how long they'd been there, but we didn't. We just wanted to go stand in the line. I brought magazines, but we spent most of the time in line talking to people we knew and watching the kids climb the trees and poke each other with sticks. How were all those kids out of school? ;)
: Exactly! That's what I want to know. Anyway... the long line was long... and the bus
FINALLY arrived (on time, I think?)
Alison: I really did quit paying attention after a while
Alison: Along with the TT girls, there was also Homer, who, honestly, I try to avoid. It's nothing personal, I just have a weird thing about mascots. And he was going down the line, entertaining the crowd a bit. You know, high-fiving the kids, posing for pictures, hugging fans (like me), proposing marriage to fifteen year old girls (yes, you, Crista), ballroom dancing, etc. You know, the usual mascot things.
Lauren: They're weird. I was all "don't-touch-me" body language, clutching my bag very strangely in front of me and not making eye-to-ball-head contact with him so he wouldn't rub all up on me like he was doing with every other lady down the line.
Alison: Yeah... the rubbing... yeesh
Alison: But Lauren... we were like... few of the only chicks there who weren't MOMS or clearly teenagers.
Lauren: It's true. We were of-age and we didn't have kids with us.
Alison: I mean, the prospects told us we were 22. Totally of-age. And totally no kids.
Lauren: And we weren't dressed sexy ;) There were a few who walked past us in mile-high boots - they made me laugh. The Braves aren't going to see your boots, and you're going to be standing in line for 3 hours. (Not you, Crista. Your boots looked comfy. I mean stiletto boots.)
Ok, back to Homer for a second? it's a new guy in the costume. He was much more... erm... flamboyant than the Homer last year
Alison: yes... jeez. The rubbing. Like... he was RUBBING my back when he hugged me.
I was like... "Do I know you? Is that Braiken (a very awesome friend of mine) in there? Because if it's not, then I don't want any of this, thanks."
Lauren: I was both amused at and grossed out for you. Sorry. :)
Alison: well, luckily, it didn't last that long because he moved RIGHT ON TO CRISTA.
Lauren: So we finally got into Publix around 5pm. The line moved very fast once it started moving, which made me wonder if we'd have time to say more than "hi, how are ya" to the boys. They made us go in numerical order, which means Alison was in front of me.
Alison: Well. That's all I DID end up saying, really, because I basically lost all powers of conversation by the time we got up there. In my defense, I was tired! I got two and a half hours of sleep, and then went to class, and then went to Peachtree City to stand in line. I can't help it if it's automatic Waitress Mode!
Eddie saw me, and gave the biggest grin. "Heeeeeeyy!! Haven't seen you in a loooong time! How've you been? Doing ok?" I think Eddie was the only one with whom I talked normally. Seriously. It was a toothy grin. OBVS I had to grin back really big too. So I handed him the hat that Lauren gave me because I didn't get anything for the boys to sign because I have no brain, and he said, "Why didn't you bring any of the balls I gave you?" And I looked at him really sheepishly and babbled some excuse. I think it involved class, and coming on a whim, and forgot... but he just mock shook his head at me like he was disappointed, and signed the hat. AND THEN HE GAVE ME SOMETHING ELSE!
EVEN THOUGH THE RULES SAID, "nope, one item, only"
It was a picture from Opening Day.
Alison: I was like, "THANKS SO MUCH AWESOME!"
I handed Eddie my tin baseball sign and also slipped him one of his baseball cards
from 2000. He asked how I'd been and I said something like, "Fine birthday buddy, how 'bout you?" The line was moving really fast and so I was going to keep moving, not talk too much, but he was all, "Here, I want you to have one of these too," and signed one of the 8x10 pics for me too. As I slid to Bruce Manno (assistant GM, had no idea who he was, honestly), Eddie said, "Your grandma..."
Alison: He was SO sweet. <3 Eddie forever.
Lauren: I looked back at him surprised, and looked at Alison, then looked back at Eddie again and smiled, "you remembered that?" I wasn't at a few big games at the end of the season because my grammy hadn't been doing so well and I was taking care of some family things, and when Eddie had asked Alison where I was, she told him. I was really touched that he remembered. :) What a sweetheart. I told him she's doing okay, and thanked him for remembering.
Alison: So after our Braves assistant GM (who looked so uncomfortable, poor thing) it was Nate. We were going tag-team tease Nate about his hair, and tell him that I call him Mighty Mouse. Mighty Mouse because he's normal-man-sized... but that's ok, because he can fly and packs a mean punch. I think it's a GREAT nickname.
Lauren: His hair was so California Ken.
But you went into waitress mode... ;)
He was surprisingly nice. We were a little thrown off by that.
Alison: Oh, I don't know.
Alison: I wasn't really thrown off, by that... I think you were expecting him to be mean/defensive... hahah
I didn't expect him to be nice or not nice... I expected "machine signing item" (honestly, for all of them)
and then I looked at his hair
and actually looked up and smiled
and our rhythm had been thrown off by sweet Eddie
Lauren: I expected "machine" at the best. I didn't expect him to be so friendly (in a nice way, not in a pervy way).
Alison: and I went directly into WAITRESS MODE because he actually asked me how I was before I said anything at all!
Lauren: Doesn't that throw us off?
Alison: yes and I said, "I'm great, how about you? How was your day?"
(it was SO bad, you guys. Seriously. Waitress Mode. I'm surprised I didn't ask them if they'd like anything to drink.)
Alison: er... what I could get them to drink while they looked at the menu. hahaha
Lauren: Oh, that makes it better! hahaha
My greeting was, "Hi Nate, nice hair!" with a big grin.
Alison: I was with Jonny at this point, and we both heard
and I looked at him glance over at Nate with this smirk.
(his eyes also darted up at you, btw)
Lauren: and my tiny bit of snark whooshed right over Nate's head, but Jonny got it. I'm pretty sure he's overheard me be a little snarky before, though.
Alison: ha! Poor Nate. He was SO earnest and SO friendly. I really like him now. I like that he speaks Spanish to the Latin players (and is good enough to give INTERVIEWS IN SPANISH) and I like that he was SO nice to us.
Lauren: I told him we saw pics of his hair on the internet, and he’s all, WHERE?!
Alison: Finally, I told him it was on Twitter. And that Lauren needed to stop teasing him and making him self-conscious
I wasn't! Well, maybe a little. He didn't seem to mind; he was having fun! They have to get tired of "hi how are you. hi how are you." over and over. I told him the Braves put a pic up
Alison: So Jonny looked at me, and said hi with a funny little half-grin. I literally looked for dip. And I said, "hi there!" very brightly. Like i said, I was done, by that point. Waitress mode, all the way down the line, after Eddie. It's Nate's fault, you know. Threw me off, and me being so tired... To be honest, I wasn't really paying that much attention to Jonny and me talking because I was listening in on the Nate conversation. But I didn't have anything fun to say to Jonny. Should have told him that his socks are awesome. And given him a doodle.
That's what I should have done!
Alison: My Jonny doodle for Jonny. A BMac doodle for BMac... and everybody else gets pictures of awesome. Alison... you have no brains. it's too late now!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lauren: OK, here's what I was going to say to Jonny: tell him he's my favorite Brave, ask what his green bracelet was, wish him the best for the upcoming season, tell him keep wearing socks up!...
When I handed him the baseball, I didn't remember to tell him why I wanted him to sign that particular ball. He had tossed it to me at a game, and he signed his name on it so tiny.
Apparently I went from really jokey with Nate to really quiet with Jonny. He asked how I was doing and I asked how his off-season was. I don't remember much else...
Oh, I asked if he had a nice off-season, and you said he said it was "real relaxing", but I don't remember hearing that
"It was good, real relaxing."
I feel like I heard more with Jonny, but I can't remember
So... Rossy now? I moved on from Jonny and said, "Hi!" and he looked up with his swimmy-ness and kinda mirrored my very perky "Hi!" I'm telling you. WAITRESS.
Alison: and I said, "how've you been? Long day?" and he said something non committal to the long day bit, but said that he has been doing great. Seriously should have just gone ahead and taken his drink order, sheesh. I think I stammered.
Oh! I did stammer with Nate! I forgot about that because I was staring at his hair
and I asked him to sign my non-existent ball when he had my hat in his hands.
and smirked a little (not mean), like, "yeah, they're the same thing." and I said, "I know. You throw hats just as well as balls, right?" and he laughed at me. I cannot believe I forgot that. :)
Lauren: "you throw hats as well as balls"
[snipped convo] wait, you know what?
you talk about BMac first
because they tag-teamed me
Rossy finished signing my hat, and handed it back to me with a smile, and looked over at Lauren and I was looking at Lauren too like whoo. Soon, I can sit down! (yeah, right)
Lauren: you could have sat down!
Alison: I know, but I'm ridiculous
BMac looked over at me, expectantly and blinkily
Lauren: Mac really had the cutes dialed up
Alison: head cocked to the side, baby blues flashing, expectant smile
Alison: I handed my hat to Mac, who then went from expectant smile to BIG smile
and ... dang it, I'm boring.
I said, "hi!" as brightly as I could. “How's it going?” "It's going really well, thanks! How about you?" "Awesome. I'm doing awesome. Thanks for signing my hat!" Waitress Mode Alison is so boring.
That's really it. I was done at that point.
Lauren: You breezed through Rossy & Mac while I was still with Jonny because when I got to Rossy, you were finished! So BMac was talking to me at the same time as Rossy - fine by me! <3
Alison: Honestly, after I got to Jonny, it was full on Waitress Mode and I just didn't have the energy to think of anything funny to say.
Lauren: Aww. Well, I greeted him with, "Hey Rossy, you look tired..." (he did!) He simultaneously smiled and gave me this weird look and goes, "You're calling me by my nickname and I don't know yours. What's your nickname?" And Mac grinned and chimed in, "Yeah, what should we call you?"
Lauren: And I laughed, "I don't really have one..." You said I said that really quietly - I did, because my immediate family has a nickname for me that no one else calls me, and I was hoping they weren't trying to get me to say "Braves Love". Eesh.
Mac goes, "We should give you one!" and Rossy's like, "Yes, let's give her one..." and they went back and forth for a second before Rossy's like, "We're just going to call you 'Awesome".
Lauren: I thought "Awesome" was lazy, or they already have another nickname for me and it wasn't appropriate for the crowd. I know I have a name. ;p I go to too many games.
So I had them sign my metal sign, I said it's for "all my catchers", and Mac lit up at that. Rossy goes, why is Javy's name so big? And Mac said it's because he's the best looking of them all. I was all, naahhhh... trying to be diplomatic, and Mac goes, "No, he is! He's my next-door neighbor and I see him all the time..." and Rossy goes, "He's so hot, I have a crush on him!"
Lauren: Mac: "Me too! He's so handsome!" Alison and I and the Braves reps next to Mac were dying. They kept going back and forth about how hot Javy is. It was great. Mac was smiling so big - really had the charm dialed up. It was so fun.
Alison: you forgot that I said "he got to it first" ;)
Lauren: You did say that - that Javy "got to it first".
Alison: see, I have moments of snarkiness
Lauren: of course you do!
Alison: I was trying to get out at this point, I think
Lauren: I thanked Mac and Rossy, told them to have a great rest of the day, and we ducked around the corner and were immediately stopped by a guy in a black Braves Vision shirt.
Alison: I was horrified when he was like, "can we do an interview with you on camera?"
and LAUREN goes, "No, do it!! It'll be fun, do it!"
and I'm like, "but... but..."
Lauren: I'm a bit of an instigator. ;) but only for fun things!
So somehow, we ended up filming a little interview - together - and you may or may not see us on the jumbotron at the Ted this summer. We'll see what happens.
Then I ducked over and resumed chatting with a couple of the Tomahawk Team members, Jennifer and Katie. We'd seen them earlier in the line outside and I'd met Jennifer last year at the stadium. They are both so nice and fun to talk with!
Alison: And in the meantime, I think we both realized that no one took any pictures, so I nominated myself to go take photos.
I ran into a pretty sweet fan who was standing near the door hoping that she'd be able to talk her way into getting an autograph. She had JUST found out about the caravan that day.
Lauren: Because you're awesome.
Alison: So I snuck pictures while I talked to her about cameras, photography, music, concert venues, and baseball players being totally rad.
Lauren: We had to bust up the party pretty quickly as the boys left. The TTGirls ran off with the bus and everyone flooded out pretty quickly.
You kinda tried to take some pictures... ;)
they were blurry and terrible
Well, the boys were leaving! People were clapping and cheering!
: Jonny and Rossy saw me talking to that cute little chicky, the hopeful one!
they were both like, "oh, curious"
Lauren: Right, but you said in the car you weren't sure if they knew we were there together? But you were really tired in the car. ;)
Alison: because as you can see, I didn't get to snap any good shots, and you know how I am about photos.
well, I still don't know that ROSSY knows we were together.
Lauren: So they were hustled out pretty quickly.
Alison: I attempted to take photos of the boys as they left. It was impossible to get any good shots.
Lauren: They're so fast!
Alison: and Jonny made me uncomfortable.
me: he's not pervy!
Alison: but like "camera, stop"
I didn't say he was pervy...
Lauren: Some of the boys are more comfortable with cameras than others. Some pose. ;) Some avoid.
Lauren: Anyway, I think we had a super-fun time. SUPER FUN.
Alison: we did
Lauren: And we might go back soon. We'll see. :)
Here are some links from the day...
covers the visit to the Shepherd Center
covers both events of the day - make sure you click the pic in the top left to see the photo gallery!
Braves FB album
Some of Alison's especially great pics of the boys...
|Been borrowing some of Huddy's dome wax, hon? ;)
|Blurry, but everyone's so smiley!
|Wallpaper-sized! Click to enlarge. :)