July 4th Memories

On July 4, 1985, my family was in Florida to celebrate Independence Day. We went out to eat that night, and afterwards went to see the fireworks the small Florida town was putting on. I don’t want to say that we were “Big City snobs”, but compared to the fireworks at Lenox Square Mall or Stone Mountain, this little show just didn’t cut it. I remember making everyone laugh as we got into the car afterwards by joking that the fireworks display “must have cost upwards of $25!”.

So we went back to the place we were staying and decided to watch the Braves game. The team always did a massive fireworks display on Independence Day, and TBS always showed it after the game was over. Sure, it would be kind of lame seeing fireworks on TV… but why not? It was 10:30 at night, the beach was dark, the pool was closed and we were all sick and tired of the board games we’d brought.

The only problem was that the game ended up going to 19 innings. Mom, who would end up being the biggest baseball fan in the family, gave up around midnight and went to bed. Dad, sis and I were determined to see the fireworks. Yeah, it was stupid. But it was one of those little things where you’re like “dammit, we’ve waited for five hours to see these stupid fireworks, and we’re gonna see ‘em!”.

The really funny thing is all the bizarre stuff that happened in the game. At first, we were pulling for the Braves, our hometown team. But then we started cheering for whoever could end the game first. So when the Braves fell behind in the 18th, we started cheering for the Mets. But then the damnedest thing happened: relief pitcher Rick Camp hit a solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the 18th. A relief pitcher. Whose lifetime batting average was .074. In fact, it was the only home run of Camp’s career, and it happened at around 3:18 am on July 5.

We were afraid that the sun might come up before the game ended, but the game ended after 19 innings. The Braves lost. Hell, they were running out of skill players by the point, and it looked as though they might start grabbing people out of the stands to pitch! But we got to see the fireworks.

And no, it wasn’t really worth the wait.

Lest you think I’m joking, here’s the box score for the game.

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