Braves fans were tailgating four hours before Atlanta's first home playoff game since 2005. Then 53,284 fans packed Turner Field for a Game 3 sellout against the San Francisco Giants.
Apparently, four years without postseason play has cured Atlanta’s apathy for division series baseball.
Braves fans were criticized for failing to sell out NL division series games in the final years of Atlanta’s streak of 14 straight division championships. The run of consecutive postseasons included World Series appearances in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999, and some fans began saving funds for the NL championship series or World Series.
As the record run of division championships grew, the division series looked less attractive.
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The apathy ended Sunday, when no seats were for sale. The Braves continued to sell standing-room-only tickets, the team’s normal practice after a game is officially a sellout.
The sellout was a contrast to the 40,590 the Braves drew for their first home division series game against the Astros in 2005, and 41,464 against the Astros in 2004. In 2002, the last year the Braves opened the postseason against the Giants, attendance for the first home game was 41,903.
Phillies reliever Ryan Madson was wearing a Halloween mask when he entered the interview room before Game 3 of their NL division series against Cincinnati.
Madson said he got the mask when he went to a Halloween store a couple of days ago with his kids.
“I’ve been wearing it every day in the playoffs,” he said. “My favorite place to wear it is probably the shower. The hot tub is where it debuted.”
Madson said manager Charlie Manuel just shook his head when he saw him wearing it.
“Another reason to root for the Phillies,” Madson said.
PEA’S SORTA CYCLE
Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Peña accomplished an unconventional cycle in the AL division series against the Texas Rangers.
Pena had a triple and a double in his first two at-bats Sunday in the Rays’ 5-2 win that forced a deciding Game 5 in the series. That came after he had an RBI single and a solo homer in the final two innings of Saturday night’s 6-3 win.