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Game 182 // Ninth Inning // Baseball Fans Are Back

The first game of the entire 2020 season…

With real fans in attendance.




It’s been a long, long year.

And in baseball years, even longer.

Four and a half months of drought. And then, this 60-game season, with its quirks and oddities, into this 16-team postseason, and through it all: no fans.

“Today,” declares Bill Pullman, in an Independence Day reboot, “we will not vanquish without a fight. We’re going to live on. We’re going to survive. Today… we celebrate our limited attendance entry to the 2020 National League Championship Series!”




It’s the first NLCS in the new playoff system, and the two best teams have made it.

Dodgers vs. Braves.

Before a “sold-out” crowd of 11,500.

With a tie game through eight innings, and then the ninth came around. With the Braves up to bat, and Austin Riley yanking control of the lead.

Solo home run, 2-1 Braves.



And then, Acuna hits a double. Ozuna drives him in.

3-1 Braves.




Then, finally, Ozzie Albies comes up. Gives the ump a side-eye, steps back in, and gives those 11,500 the icing on the cake of the first win a baseball crowd saw all year.

Two-run homer. Braves lead 5-1.




From a low-scoring, tie ballgame to this—and Game 1 of the NLCS is all Braves. With video from real fans, watching in the upper decks:



And despite all those real fans, in robotically scattered, borderline off-putting clusters in the seats, the Albies home run ball landed in no one’s palms, no one’s souvenir collection for the way back home.

It flew over the left-field turf, well over the bullpen wall, and…




Square into the glove of Mark Melancon.

Braves win, 5-1.


Game 2 tomorrow night.