As the 2021 season commenced, the Atlanta Braves were defeated six out of the first ten games primarily to the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals. Most local fans were still in their feelings about falling short against the eventual World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers during the truncated season in 2020.
Of course, many residents in Metropolitan Atlanta have endured challenging times regarding the dearth of championships since 1995. The only respite came from Atlanta United FC winning the MLS Cup in 2018. Sadly, the Braves’ last victory 26 years ago was marginalized following the Major League Baseball strike in 1994 that forfeited that entire season, which disgruntled fans were not enthusiastic about the product as a result. It seemed as if the Braves won a championship under the cover of darkness.
Once fans had forgiven MLB, it became customary to see the Braves as contenders for the preponderance of two decades winning 14 division titles and defeats in two World Series following the triumph of 1995. Unfortunately, all of this success provided ammunition for the critics because they were expected to achieve more than they did. In fact, it was difficult to fathom how the Florida Marlins, now Miami Marlins, were able to win two titles (1997 & 2003) which was one more than Atlanta.
Therefore, the 2021 season began with a jaded fan base not taking the Atlanta Braves seriously because they had believed for championships all of those years ago only to be empty-handed; many were not going to subject themselves to this affliction until Atlanta could demonstrate an ability to prove that they were contenders. The Braves did not prove anything due to injuries, off-field incidents, and a distant ownership situation that prides itself in obscurity.
Nonetheless, general manager Alex Anthopoulos earned kudos for acquiring players like the eventual World Series MVP Jorge Soler in July without having anything close to being an indefinite budget. It still took the Braves a month to come together when they went on an incredible 43-22 record since August 8 resulting in a World Championship.
The Atlanta Braves developed a kind of resilience that is uncommon in modern professional franchises because they knew the locals were phlegmatic for most of the season and certain discrutators in the national media were actively rooting against them because of the actions of some fans at Truist Park. While most of us here and abroad are fully cognizant of the fact that the inane Tomahawk Chop was archaic about a decade ago for a myriad of reasons, sportswriters incessantly wrote ad nauseam about these gestures than how well these players were currently performing.
While it is easy for casual observers to ridicule the state of Major League Baseball as being an anachronistic activity that only their grandparents would care to celebrate, it was a great thing to see a World Series with a venerated leader in Dusty Baker guiding his Houston Astros against his respected vis-à-vis Brian Snitker and Atlanta Braves to prove that experience still matters in a proud old game. Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves and all of the faithful stalwarts who had watched them back in the old Superstation TBS era across the nation.