10 Country: Jackie's Last Season - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Jackie's Last Season

October 2, 2007

Sylvester -- Major league's regular season ended with disappointed fans who wanted their teams to reach the play-offs and hopefully win the World Series.

One team doesn't have to worry about one fan's loyalty, and might wish they had many more like her.

A true baseball fan never gives up, even wrapping themselves in memories of a particular team.

 "I'm disappointed, just as disappointed as I can be. I'm not going to give up. I'm going to stick with them," says Jackie Rivers as she wears an Atlanta Braves warm up suit with a Braves blanket over her legs.

 Jackie Rivers doesn't have an off-season when it comes to loyalty for the Atlanta Braves. Some of her most treasured items are within arm's reach.

"I got a lot of stuff over there," says Jackie pointing to Braves memorabilia that includes an autographed baseball from manager Bobby Cox.

"That's one good manager. He listens to what his players have to say," says Jackie without hesitation with a weakened voice.

An autographed team baseball from the 1996 World Series, even Christmas ornaments sit on a bookcase in plain view. A visitor knows immediately about Jackie's devotion to her team.  If not, a homemade tomahawk sits near-by and she knows how to use it.

Without a doubt her favorite Brave is pitcher John Smoltz.

 "That's him right there. I see him right there," says Jackie as she points to a five-by-seven autographed picture that includes a special note to her. It rates as one of her earthly treasures.

"Awesome," says Jackie about the day she received the photograph.

  She lived in a house divided for years. Her late husband pulled for the Chicago Cubs and Jackie always pulled for the Braves. One never converted the other.

 She is more than a fan with her own scoring notebooks going back to 1976, but she kept records only for the Braves. No need to worry about the opposing team.

"That's (Braves) what I cared about," says Jackie as she explained one game entry.

 The 92 year-old fan had her on scoring system.

 "Andruw Jones had four strikeouts in this game," says Jackie explaining her system."

 She would editorialize about each game, and she had her moments like any other fan.

 "I give up," says Jackie pointing to the words above a pencil drawing of someone crying.

  She was known to give up on some umpires.

"The umps gave it to the Nationals. Cheaters," wrote Jackie.

  When the Braves won, Jackie used drawings to express her joy, and drawings to express her sadness when they lost.

 She saw one Braves game in person at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1996 shortly before it was razed. She saw many high school games.

She had a reserved seat at the Worth County High School baseball field, sitting directly behind home plate, she says to keep an eye on the umpire and watch her grandson, Scott, play.

While Jackie's love for the Atlanta Braves is quite healthy, she isn't. Her heart is slowly giving out, even though her mind remains quite alert.

It's probably her last season, but you would never know it when she talks about Atlanta Braves baseball here or there.

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