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Humbled to Play

Eddie Perez was watching a television in a room off the Atlanta bullpen when he heard a knock on the door. The Braves coach knew it was the home run ball he had just seen burst off the bat of a hometown prodigy taking his first swing in the big leagues. “When we were watching in there, we got excited and we hear pop!” says Perez, who sensed more than the usual fan celebration at Turner Field. “Everybody was going crazy. It was like the birth of a new star… Continue reading

Belief Beyond Doubt

Tim Hudson was too preoccupied with his prep baseball career to take in many Braves games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. But there he was in the stands two decades ago when it hit him—he just might have a future working off a major league mound. “I was a junior at the time,” he told Sports Spectrum during spring training. “I found myself actually thinking that I could play at that level one day. It seemed so much harder on TV. It’s so much faster on TV. When you watch it in person, it’s just like the game I played in my back yard. It was fun to imagine that. I just never realized it would happen.” When it did, Hudson understood his ability to pitch in the big leagues, and later his opportunity to do so for the team he loved growing up, were heaven sent. “It was God’s plan Read More

Knuckling Down

R.A. Dickey was having a miserable time with his control. Then the man of faith began to question God’s.

It was the first and only major-league start of the 2006 season for Dickey, and the Texas Rangers were hoping he was about to resurrect his career with a new pitch. His transformation to full-time knuckleball pitcher still was a work in progress, however, and the Detroit Tigers pounced on him… Continue reading

From the Archives — Not Done Yet

Joe Torre finishes huddling with reporters in the dugout shortly before the first pitch of a spring training game. One writer lingers to ask a quick question.

The Los Angeles Dodgers manager prefers not to offer quick answers regarding Mariano Rivera, the celebrated Yankees reliever who helped Torre collect four World Series rings in the first five years of his tenure on the New York bench… Continue reading

Uncommon Challenge