Survival guide

Conrad's three errors in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS were too much for the Braves to overcome. Dale Zanine/US Presswire

This story appears in the March 21, 2011 Style Issue of ESPN The Magazine.

The silence in the Braves' clubhouse needed to be broken, but no one had anything to say. A short time earlier, Turner Field erupted when a two-run, pinch-hit home run by Eric Hinske gave the Braves a one-run advantage and put them three outs from a 2-1 NLDS lead against the Giants. But the Giants scored once to tie the game in the top of the ninth. One batter later, a Buster Posey grounder skipped between the legs of Atlanta second baseman Brooks Conrad, allowing Freddy Sanchez to score the winning run. The Giants would never look back en route to the World Series title.

In the clubhouse, Conrad felt gutted. The 30-year-old utility player had won his way into the hearts of fans with scrappy play and clutch hits, including a walk-off, pinch-hit grand slam, during Atlanta's run to the NL wild card. But he had come down with a case of the defensive yips at the worst possible time. The error on the Posey grounder was Conrad's third of the game and eighth in seven games dating back to the end of the regular season.