Back in the clubhouse some of the Braves couldn't bring themselves to watch the game. "It was split about 50-50," said Lemke, one of those who opted not to watch. "I spent the time telling stories about my minor league days. I'd tell them to anybody who'd listen." McGriff watched the Minnesota Viking-San Francisco 49er game, presumably because Barney wasn't on. Many players noshed on fried chicken, corn and mashed potatoes.
"It was pretty tense in here in the beginning," Glavine said. "We honestly expected to be playing the Giants on Monday night. But as the Dodgers opened up a lead, the attitude picked up."
Relievers Steve Bedrosian and Jay Howell walked into the office of Atlanta manager Bobby Cox to watch the final few innings. Greg McMichael, another relief pitcher, also dropped by. "Bobby," Bedrosian said, "do you remember the last time we were all in here?"
"No," Cox said. "What do you mean?"
"It was the last day of spring training," Bedrosian said. "That's when you told us we made the team."
Bedrosian, Howell and McMichael all were nonroster players given little chance of sticking with the team. But on April 3, before an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox in Atlanta, Cox called all three of them into his office and told them they had made the club. Exactly six months later they were back in his office watching the Dodgers wrap up a division title for them with a 12-1 rout of the Giants. Together the three pitchers had combined for a 2.03 ERA over 199⅔ innings. Why, just that afternoon, with the Braves ahead 4-3, Bedrosian had relieved Glavine in the seventh and struck out the only batter he faced. McMichael had picked up from there, retiring the final six Colorado batters, including a strikeout of Daryl Boston for the final out. "I was caught up in the moment," he said. "It was wonderful."
It was also, as Pendleton said, "a weird feeling. It was weird not to be able to celebrate." The Atlanta players hung around their clubhouse in their underwear—a rather unglamorous ending to such a terrific race—until more than three hours later, when most of the team ran out to the area around second base to watch the last inning of the Giant game. The 8,000 fans who waited so long for it to end were rewarded with the sight of Cox on the field in a T-shirt, shorts and shower sandals. Again, Sanders was conspicuously absent, as he was in the clubhouse later.
Amid all the frolicking, McMichael had stashed in his locker the baseball from the last out of the Braves' victory. "I just hope it doesn't get too wet," he said. The ball is a souvenir of a stirring comeback. But it doesn't signify anything that the Braves haven't done before. "We've got to win the World Series," Glavine said. "No question about it. This team will not get the recognition it deserves until we win a world championship. We know that."