The Atlanta Braves just won the 2021 World Series.
Like so many other Atlanta sports fans, I am flummoxed. The internet told us it would never happen. For any of our teams.
Finally, the internet was wrong.
The Houston Astros put up a championship-worthy fight to win game five. I was there with my brother and some of our high school buddies. We all wanted to see that pennant and trophy hoisted high into the October air at Truist Park.
Instead, we FaceTimed each other and drank whiskey into the wee hours of November 3rd after game six.
At least we don’t have to work today.
These Braves make the hangover worth it.
This year’s Atlanta Braves bring so much to the table that I will simply never forget. Especially if they also bring me some Waffle House and a couple Advils.
The spring and summer seemed like a Groundhog-Day-slog of wondering when the club would break .500.
I tweeted about it on August 4th:
The Braves broke even two days later. The club went 46-23 after this Bill Murray reference, and it won the World Series.
It never seemed easy.
As a matter of fact, this team will go down as one of the coolest, most underrated teams to ever win a championship:
– Just a few weeks before my Groundhog Day tweet, the club lost regular season MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. to a torn ACL.
– Ace-pitcher candidate Mike Soroka had a failed achilles surgery that benched him before that.
– I saw #FireSnit trending on the side of my Twitter timeline many times between May and July.
– Starting pitcher Charlie Morton broke his leg in game one of the World Series during a Braves win in Houston.
– An Astros player stepped on starting pitcher Max Fried’s ankle during game six of the Braves’ World Championship-clinching win a few nights later.
None of it mattered.
Because the resolve (and championship-caliber moves made by general manager Alex Anthopoulos) of this club proved to be more powerful than World Series MVP Jorge Soler’s mighty bat.
Much is made of my city’s teams’ ability to exemplify inability on the national stage.
The Falcons, for one instance, lost their infamous 28-3 Super Bowl against the Patriots in Houston.
I consider it nothing less than Shakespearean poetry that these Braves – who only won their 99th game with a victory over the Astros – found a way to claim their title right down the street.
The thing that I’ve always loved about the Braves, though, is that they’re more than just an Atlanta sports team. They’re a team for an entire region of Southeastern, Appalachian, Mississippi Delta, Gulf, and in some cases, Mid-Western America.
This one’s been a long time comin’ for so many more people than you can possibly imagine at a championship parade.
The last time we had one of these around here, I was five years old. My brother was a newborn. The two of us spent much of the night earlier this week swigging overpriced stadium beers during game five. We shivered and waited together for an overpriced rideshare until 2AM after it was over.
Back to Shakespeare.
Even though we lost that night, I’ll always look back on it with a sense of wonder. It was ugly, but I think all of our crew there that night had a poetic appreciation for what was to come. We knew this team was different. A win was imminent in Houston in either game six or seven.
To quote Billy Bob Thornton in one of my favorite sports movies, ‘Friday Night Lights’:
There Ain’t no Curses.
Not here. Not anymore.
For a giant neighborhood of Braves fans across our wonderful nation, I am happy to announce that statement finally rings true.
I’m writing this at 3AM eastern. I might not sleep by the time this is published. How can I possibly shut my eyes on something I’ve waited to see for 26 years?
This is an occasion best celebrated up at the Waffle House.
But first, clink your beer on the screen with me, Braves fans. We’ve earned it.