Torre says I can win 15."
on the goodwill of strangers is what made his famous ride endearing. One
guesses that if Bob Horner, the Braves' brash third baseman, had been late for
the same reason, he would have been assessed more than the $100 that Torre
fined Perez. "When I get lost, I been in Atlanta for four days," says
Perez. "I rent a car and get my driving permit that morning, and I leave
for the stadium very early, but I forget where to make a turn right."
Perez made an afternoon-long ordeal out of what is normally a 15-minute ride.
Circling helplessly, he finally pulled off the freeway at about 7:10 p.m., well
north of Atlanta and running on fumes, and using gestures and his minimal
English, persuaded a gas-station attendant to pump $10 worth of free gas for
him. "I forgot my wallet, too," says Perez. All this has been recounted
often in Atlanta, so Perez gets a laugh in his commercial when he says of the
Braves caps, "At only two-fifty, they're worth driving around for...and
around...and around...and around...." Fortunately, while Perez was making
like Charley on the MTA, Niekro was winning the game in his place, making
Pascual's second-inning arrival more comical than tragic.
Last week, as if
to show that it's no fluke when a Perez loses his way, Pascual's older brother,
Mario, flew in from New York City to visit him...and got lost in Atlanta's
sprawling airport. Shunning the interconcourse subway—"because they will
take me out of town, maybe to another state," he said later—Mario walked
around...and around...and around...and around...until he was finally rescued by
a Delta Airlines agent, who got him out of the terminal and into a cab to the
stadium. "He got lost?" an amazed Pascual asked later. "Oh,
man!" Mario, of course, was immediately christened Airport Perez.
Pascual suggests that you get a map, too.