10/05/2004 4:16 PM ET
Thomas: Ready to get started
First postseason game will be memorable experience
|Charles Thomas hit .288 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 83 games during his first Major League season. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Charles Thomas went from being a relative unknown to one of the most important factors in the Braves' late-season surge. When the 25-year-old Thomas was promoted from Triple-A Richmond on June 23, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox didn't even know what he looked like. But after he hit .288 with seven homers and played splendid defense in left field during the regular season's final three months, Thomas became well known throughout baseball. Thomas has agreed to provide MLB.com with a daily diary throughout the Braves' postseason run.
I'm not really sure if there are words to describe how excited I am to be preparing for my first playoff game. I can tell you that the last few days couldn't have lasted any longer. Since the time we clinched the National League East title, I've been waiting for this.
Making the experience even greater will be the fact that I'll have a lot of my family and friends in the stands on Wednesday afternoon. They told me I could get 14 tickets. So that's what I got. My mom, sister and grandparents will be part of the contingent coming down from North Carolina to experience this with me.
I still haven't pinched myself yet. Going into this season, I was just hoping to be Double-A Greenville's starting center fielder. Then I started the season as a backup at Triple-A Richmond. I'm very thankful that God has given me the opportunity to play in the Majors, and that the Braves had enough confidence in me.
Since coming up here in late June, everything has just been wonderful. Now here I am getting the chance to start Game 1 against Roger Clemens. I can't think of a better situation than to have my first playoff experience against "The Rocket." There have been a lot of years after the leaves have turned brown that I've sat at home watching him in the playoffs.
I've already envisioned that first at-bat against Clemens many times. But I know there will be nothing like actually facing him that first time. A lot of my teammates have told me to just keep it as routine as possible. When you hear that from guys like John Smoltz and Chipper Jones who have been here so many times before, you listen.
When I wake up on Wednesday, I'm sure there will be some nerves. But just getting the opportunity to see all the media here today gave me a taste of what it's going to be like. The important part is to just make sure when the game begins that I treat it like any other game.
I've seen the playoffs on television umpteen times and you can tell just from that that there's always just that extra air of excitement. I can't wait. I really can't. I wish all of this were happening today.
Charles Thomas' diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Mark Bowman. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.