This goes all the way back to 1999, and that by itself ought to tell you something about how memorable a day at the ballpark can be. I lived in Atlanta at the time, but had spent several of the last months of the prior year basically living in Chicago on an extended business trip. That had its ups and downs. I had this co-worker, Ray, who became a good buddy of mine. We kept each other sane while we were putting in some grueling, long hours of tech work that could add up to a lot of mental fatigue. We always made each laugh. He was a great guy, cool and easy-going. So here we are in '99 after that was all in the past. It's May. It also just happens to be my birthday. I get a call out of the blue from Ray, and he's in town in Atlanta on business. He's scored a couple tickets to an afternoon Braves game, and since they're playing the Cubs, he couldn't resist picking them up. For my part, I thought it was terrific to hear from my buddy on my birthday of all days, so on short notice we set off on the MARTA for Turner field. Now, I'm not even a big baseball fan. I know that his Cubs won in the end that day, but I couldn't recite any stats or a blow-by-blow recap for you. All I can say is that it was a beautiful, sunny late spring day with a nice fresh breeze, and a perfect blue sky. Not a scorcher, like it can get in Hot-lanta, but just a really gorgeous day that makes you glad not to be in the office. I'll always remember how cool it was being there, so exhilarating with the atmosphere of the game and the crowd, enjoying some tasty Brats and washing it down with some nice, cold beers and catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile. A great, coincidental, surprise for my birthday and one that makes me "get it" about baseball being the national pastime. It's more than the game. It's how it all comes together. You don't get too many memories like that one, the ones that really stay with you.