Atlanta Braves: Don’t Choke — Win it for Braves Country
After a haunting finish in the 2020 National League Championship Series and an up-and-down season where the Atlanta Braves struggled to even reach .500 until August, a 2021 revenge NLCS against the reigning World Series Champ Los Angeles Dodgers seemed like a daunting task. That was until the Braves proved after Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta that they had the weapons to beat L.A.
Or anyone, for that matter.
This Braves team overcame the loss of star Ronald Acuña, Jr., midseason, its reigning MVP Freddie Freeman starting off the season on a bad note, and an 18-game streak where Atlanta won and lost back and forth. The Braves had to use seven different catchers because of injury, its star rookie pitcher punched a bench and broke his hand.
The bad luck bug hit again and again, yet this team still made it to the playoffs and past the National League division and championship series.
As a girl whose college football team has won six national championships in her lifetime and her college has been recently pinned as a championship school, I'd say I know what a winner looks like. And this Atlanta Braves team looks like a winner.
The starting pitching has done what has been asked of them, the bullpen has put up zeros in big innings, and different members of the offense one through nine have shown out exactly when they needed to. Take Eddie Rosario and Tyler Matzek for example. Rosario had 18 hits, three home runs, one walk-off, and was given the NLCS MVP award for his efforts. Matzek had 10 innings in nine games, gave up just four hits and two runs. Those are team members showing out when it counts.
That being said, do you know how hard it is to watch a baseball team choke in the postseason 12 times in your lifetime when you've grown used to watching a football team that has made it to the championship eight times and won it six? It's painful. The Atlanta Braves haven't even made it to the World Series once since I was born, until now.
But that is exactly why what this Braves team is doing matters to people like myself. And I'd imagine, since Alabama is right in the middle of Braves country, it matters to at least a few of you. (And if it doesn't, at least say a prayer for a girl who can be a bit of a sore loser, since you know, Bama has me spoiled. #ChampionshipSchool.)
I mean this Braves team had the Alabama Student Section, cigars in hand, going down the ramp out of the stadium doing the Tomahawk Chop after beating Tennessee because it mattered. Beating the Dodgers, especially in six games, mattered. Getting to the big series mattered. People recognize what the Braves are doing this season, what they've gone through, and what they can achieve and it was evident even in Bryant Denny Stadium.
So after three years of painful postseason exits, I'm begging the Braves to give me and Braves Country what we've been showing up for. A World Series Title. A postseason without choking.
Atlanta has beaten its biggest demon, the Dodgers team it couldn't get past last season. The Braves have shown the extreme mental toughness to bounce back even after losing its biggest star. The general manager showed faith in the roster at the trade deadline and went out and got difference makers. And now I have faith that this team can win the big one and bring a ring back to Atlanta, but most importantly to Braves Country.