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"Ron's the man you want up there when you need a run," says Brave shortstop Jeff Blauser. "He'll do whatever it takes to get the run home. He's intense. In fact, he's probably too hard on himself at times when he doesn't get the job done."
Gant is likely to erupt in a fit of anger no matter how well he's doing. "He could be 3 for 3 in a game we're winning 10-0, and if he makes an out in his fourth at bat, he's mad," Atlanta pitcher Tom Glavine says. "Every time he goes to bat he expects to do some damage."
Says Gant, "I'm not going to settle just for good. I want to be the best. I've gone through some bad times this year, but they haven't lasted as long as they did in the past. Right now is probably the best I've felt in my career."
Gant's game-winner against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 15 was the most dramatic blow of the Braves' season. With Atlanta trailing 6-4 in the ninth, he swung one-handed at a low slider from Rob Dibble but still hit a wicked line drive that bounced off the top of the leftfield wall and continued on like a rock skipping across a pond. "The biggest one of my career," Gant said of the three-run shot.
Then, noting that barely half of the 48,825 people at Atlanta- Fulton County Stadium had bothered to stay for the ninth inning, he threatened to start taking names. "The fans that left, they should never let them see a game again," he said. "They aren't true fans."
Most of the 49,115 fans who showed the next night stuck around until the 12th inning, when Blauser drove in the winning run against Cincinnati with an infield single. And nearly all of the 48,837 people on hand the night after that didn't dare leave a close game with the Mets, which ended in the 10th inning when Gant drove in Otis Nixon with a double off the centerfield wall. That hit put Gant two RBIs ahead of David Justice as they attempt to become the first National League teammates to finish first and second in runs batted in since 1976, when George Foster and Joe Morgan of the Reds hit the exacta.
However, knocking in the most runs in the league is not Gant's primary objective. "I've already told David, RBI title or not, I have one main goal," he says, "to get back to the World Series, and to play in the World Series this time, and to help us win it."