ATLANTA -- I'm here, but not until slogging through a very long day of travel, thus missing almost all of last night's most impressive 2-1 Cubs win over the Braves.
When I got to O'Hare my flight was delayed an hour and 45 minutes on the departure board -- not because of the weather in Chicago, which was clear, though quite windy, in the late afternoon, but because the plane had not been allowed to leave Newark to arrive at O'Hare due to the dreaded "flow control".
And that got later. And later. And later. By the time I boarded the plane it was already two hours after the scheduled departure time. And then the pilot announced that a bird had "glanced" off the right wing (no, that's not a political statement, just the location of the bird hit) and that it had to be "inspected".
"Inspection" consisted of a maintenance worker with a jar of cleaning fluid, presumably cleaning some bird blood off the wing. I know this because I was seated right next to the wing and got to watch this being done.
Oh, but that's not all. Then some "FAA-required paperwork" had to be done. And then as a result of this, some more inspections had to be done. And then some more FAA-required paperwork.
So by the time the plane hit the air, we were three and a half hours after the scheduled departure time. Fortunately, as the pilots told us, they pedaled as fast as they could and picked up thirty minutes en route, so the flight arrived only three hours late.
After picking up the rental car I had about a 45-minute drive to the home of my friends where I'm staying -- somewhere east of downtown Atlanta -- and so didn't arrive till midnight.
I did get to follow the first half of the game on my phone -- if you have cellphone internet access, MLB.com's mobile pitch-by-pitch accounts are not only timely, but they even have a little batter and batter's box diagram -- and so "saw" Alfonso Soriano's leadoff triple and Felix Pie drive him in, and also the three-single rally in the second inning, and Andruw Jones' HR for the Braves, which was absolutely the only mistake Rich Hill made in an outstanding, 3-hit, 11-strikeout performance; Ryan Dempster's efficient 9 pitch (8 strikes) save, his twelfth, finished it up.
And so, the Cubs have now won four of their last five, have matched the Pirates (of all people) as the only teams in the NL Central without losing records on the road (both the Cubs and Bucs are now 15-15 on the road), and not only that, but have looked pretty good in winning those four games.
I'm looking forward to seeing the Ted for the first time tonight. I've heard from a couple of BCB readers who will be there -- looking forward to meeting you, too, and if anyone else who hasn't contacted me yet will be at any of the rest of the series, let me know, and we'll get together this weekend.