Braves 7, Astros 0. World Champions Once More.

We’re lucky.

That word means a lot of different things in baseball. It might mean we got a generous or undeserved call from the umpires, like Max’s strike three against Alex Bregman in the fifth. It could mean that the ball broke just our way, like Adam Duvall’s 27-hopper cue shot against the shift in the sixth. It could be the way that Alex Anthopoulos got Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, for next to nothing combined, and they collectively hit .251/.325/.503 with 44 homers and 116 RBI in 676 AB in the regular season, and then .270/.339/.505 with 12 homers and 36 RBI in 16 games across the playoffs.

But what I really mean is this. The players who just won the World Series have worn a “150” patch this year to commemorate the club’s 150 years of baseball. And a hell of a lot of those were hard years: 82 years, mostly in the cellar, in Boston. Just 13 years, sugar rush then sugar crash, in Milwaukee, where they were sadly among the clubs that pioneered teams moving around in search of a more congenial city. And now 56 years in Atlanta, which many of you all personally remember from the beginning.

And ours is the first city to watch the team win a second championship. Today, we’re all kids again. I’m the luckiest fan in the world — my team won the World Series!

First, Varsity.

On the air, John Smoltz personally compared Fried’s six shutout innings in this particular Game Six to Tom Glavine’s eight shutout innings in the Game Six that took place 26 years ago. Smoltz said that Glavine’s eight was a bit more challenging as it was a one-run game, but otherwise felt that Fried’s night compared favorably.

Max is no longer a young man. He’ll turn 28 in January, and after five seasons and 447 innings in the big leagues, we have an idea of who he is. As a matter of fact, here’s what he’s done over the past two regular seasons:

2020-2021221 2/3 IP21-7 W-L2.84 ERA3.26 FIP158 ERA+3.47 K/BB

He finished fifth in the Cy Young vote last year, and he’ll probably get some downballot votes this year. He is, by just about any reckoning, one of the 15-20 best pitchers in the game. He got his ankle stomped on in the first inning, the first base umpire blew the safe call, and Max Fried got mad. He put the team on his back. This game turned into a laugher. He’s why.

Second, Soler.

I know Austin Riley has enormous power. So does Adam Duvall. So does Ronald Acuña, Jr. But Jorge Soler still stands out on this team. His career has been a bit like the Braves’ fortunes: immense promise infrequently fulfilled, clouded by a perception of disappointment.

He was one of the Cubs’ most tantalizing prospects in the group that won the World Series just five years ago — only five years ago! Can you believe that? — but they felt they had too many outfielders, so they traded him to the Royals for Wade Davis, the closer who had won the World Series a season previous. Davis was a one-year rental, and when the Cubs lost the NLCS, he walked. Meanwhile, Soler struggled with injuries and the minor league shuttle, playing just 96 major league games in his first two seasons in Kansas City.

Then he got healthy in 2019, led the league in homers with 48 blasts in 2019 as he played every single game — and then the world collapsed and his OPS fell 150 points in the truncated 2020 season, and he got off to a miserable start this year. For the second time in five years, he was traded for a reliever. For the second time, he got his legs under him on the new team and started hitting some of the most majestic and awe-inspiring moonshots any of us have ever witnessed.

Third, Matzek.

Yeah, the story’s cool — it’s cool that he just kept playing baseball, like Brian Snitker, and didn’t let adversity stop him. It’s cool that, like Brandon Beachy and Evan Gattis, he connected with his love of baseball in independent league ball, and an area scout saw him and recommended him to the big club. But I’m not leading with the cool story. I’m leading with this:

Tyler Matzek has now pitched 20 postseason games over the last two autumns, and he has twirled 24 1/3 innings, striking out 38 men and yielding just seven walks (one of them intentional), 16 hits, and four runs. That’s a 1.48 ERA and a combined cWPA of 31.1% — over the past two years, he basically increased our odds of winning the World Series by one-third, and he did this while pitching in 9.7% of the team’s innings. That’s efficient. As nails as Jackson, Minter, and Smith were this fall, the whole rest of the Night Shift, the heart and soul of this entire staff was Tyler Matzek.

Here’s a comparison that may illustrate just how good Matzek was:

From 1997 to 2004, Ramiro Mendoza pitched in the postseason with six New York Yankee and Boston Red Sox teams, three of whom won it all (1998-1999 Yankees, 2004 Sox). He was the rubber-armed bridge to the back of the pen, the glue guy who tied the room together. He wasn’t Rivera — no one else, in the history of baseball, has ever come close to postseason Mo Rivera — but he was the next link in the chain. Matzek has been better than that.

ERAGIPWHIPSO9SO/WcWPA
Mendoza2.512028.21.015.34.310.70%
Matzek1.482024.10.9514.15.431.10%


Finally, this bar.

This is the first championship we’ve ever hoisted together. It’s been a hard couple of years for the country, and it’s been a frustrating couple of decades for the club and its fanbase. It’s been harder for some of us to root for the team and even attend the games since the move to Truist. Leave all of that aside. Leave aside the Falcons, the Hawks, and everything else. Many of us aren’t in Georgia right now, and many of you weren’t even born within a five-hour drive of the stadium. We’re here because of Hank, and TBS, and our dads, and our memories, and Ronald, and Freddie, and we’ve been here through the good and the bad. And Bravesjournal.com is where I’m celebrating. This is the parade. This is the champagne.

This is home.

We won!

Thanks, y’all.

61 thoughts on “Braves 7, Astros 0. World Champions Once More.”

  1. Thank you, Alex. Simply perfect. And it is only fitting that you, AAR, are recapping the first Braves Journal Braves World Series.

    JC’d:
    My mornings will be a little emptier without all those recaps in the morning. You guys don’t know how much this is/was appreciated. When do pitchers and catchers report?

  2. I started watching the Braves in ’89 with my grandparents. They were bad, but we watched them every day on TBS. Then came from worst to first, Sid Bream and eventually, that faithful night in 1995. I remember the celebrations at home, but I guess as a 12 year old, I assumed there would be many more.

    As the years passed, I enjoyed watching my fellow countrymen (Andruw Jones, Jair Jurrjens, Simba and now Ozzie) shine, but it felt like a World Series was never going to happen again. “We” blew a 3-1 LCS lead and any hope I had for this season basically disappeared when Ronald went down in LoanDepot Park. Yet here we are. I only wish my grandparents were still around to experience it.

    I started visiting this site regularly back in 2005 and even made a couple of real life friends in the process. And even though I mainly lurk now, I’m really happy that I got to experience this journey with everyone here. This one is definitely for Mac.

  3. A pitch-perfect write-up, marked by the analytical and sentimental in appropriate proportions. (That last bit literally brought a tear to my eye, much like all those Braves in last night’s postgame interviews talking about how much they love each other.)

    Thanks so much to you, Ryan, and the many contributors, commenters, lurkers, and quasi-lurkers who make this site what it is.

  4. It sure does, Ububba, and DJ, it’s great to see you!

    This is looking like it’s going to be a rough offseason for the sport. Seems likely that the owners will lock out the players and who knows how long it’ll be before they work out a semblance of an agreement. I would love to read that Alex and Freddie have come to terms in the next couple of weeks before the CBA expires, but if that doesn’t happen, we’ll have a nailbiting offseason as the negotiations and recriminations capture the headlines and all baseball moves are on hiatus. Thank goodness we’ll have this to tide us over.

    That said, as Zach Kram wrote at the Ringer, the Braves’ victory in 2021 offers a powerful argument against all the bean-counting pro-tanking arguments that have left us with a league where half the teams are not trying to field competitive teams. What if just trying to win is the new market inefficiency?

    https://www.theringer.com/2021/11/3/22760721/atlanta-braves-world-series-champions-game-six-houston-astros

  5. @2 I have been a die hard Braves fan in Michigan since the TBS days of the late 80’s and into the worst to first, to the division title streak, the tear down and rebuild. This is the first time I can celebrate with my kids since none of them were born when we won in 1995. They have been raised as Braves fans since day one and never got to experience what we all just went through. My oldest son (19) was out of town for work in Kentucky last night and my other son (17) and I faced time him with two outs in the 9th. As Dansby threw the ball accross the infield to Freddie, we all teared up and celebrated in a way I will never forget. To experience this with my boys was something special and was so much more rewarding than even 1995 to me and I think I also should thank all of you for making this so epic. It has been said many times, but this is the best place on the web, bar none. I love that we all can call Braves Journal our home.

  6. @1–agreed—perfect recap, and the perfect person to write it, after a perfect evening. All capping what was at times a frustrating but ultimately exhilarating season.

  7. I was born in 1988. My dad introduced me to the Braves. I remember going to a game in September 1995 vs. Montreal, while the Turner Field was being built, but no memories of the championship. I have sparse memories of the Braves in the playoffs between 1996 and 2004, all disappointing ones. The 18-inning marathon loss in Houston in 2005 is really my earliest, firmest memory. Then, the failures of 2010 (Bobby’s final season), 2012 (infield fly), 2013 (Carpenter vs. Uribe), 2018 (surprisingly winning the division), 2019 (Folty’s meltdown), and 2020 (blowing 3-1 in the NLCS).

    What a sweet feeling to finally finish on top of the mountain.

  8. Thank you.

    I am blessed to have been a part of this wonderful year at this wonderful site with you wonderful people. I love you folks.

    Braves Journal, thank you.

  9. @6 That sounds awesome. I’m happy you got to experience it like that.

    I didn’t have anyone to celebrate with, which is why it felt a bit weird I think. My grandparents aren’t here anymore, and I don’t have kids. My friends growing up all hated the Braves because of their 90’s dominance and they all thought I was a bandwagon fan because of their success or because of the players from Curacao. None of them wanted to believe that we were fans before all of that happened.

    My gf watches every sport except baseball, so she was asleep for most of the game. I was very calm for most of the night, but I teared up when Dansby threw it to Freddie. There were some fireworks in the distance after the last out, so I guess Ozzie has some fans here at home as well.

  10. Jayson Stark with a good article over at The Athletic detailing the Braves’ very unique path to the championship. An excerpt/summary:

    “So take a deep breath and let’s think about this. I’m trying to imagine these guys trying to explain to their grandchildren someday how the heck this team ever won the World Series. Lost the best player in the league. Never had a winning record until they’d staggered all the way into August. Had to trade for a whole new outfield. And had to upend three teams in October that won 32 games more than they did.

    And they still won the World Series?”

  11. Wonderful recap, wonderful bar. So many stories from this year. Snitker trusting Luke Jackson and Will Smith when almost nobody else did. I wonder whether, while he was pitching in the bottom of the first, Fried thought about Charlie Morton getting three outs including 2 Ks on a broken leg.

  12. If there had been an award for MVP of each NLDS, then three of AA’s midseason OF acquisitions (for basically nothing) would’ve won NLDS MVP, NLCS MVP, and WS MVP. Of the five July acquisitions, the most talent/potential we gave up were for the other two, Bryse Wilson for Rodriguez and AJax for Duvall.

    Nice seeing the tweets from players who were on the team earlier in the year, like Touki & Ender. That’s got to be a bittersweet feeling, delight for your team & teammates but sadness that you weren’t a part of it.

  13. @13–shoot, it wouldn’t surprise me if Max had x-rays today and it turns out he went six innings on a broken ankle. Just kidding, but the dude is so tough and focused.

  14. Another major lurker here, sharing his story :)
    First of all, this feels so wholesome.
    It’s been exactly 30 years since I first got into baseball and became a Braves fan rightaway when my older brother convinced me it was a good idea for a kid over here in Germany to get up at 2 am to watch these guys with tomahawks on their chests play a team called the Twins in a sport that seemed pretty exotic for most people here at the time. We were totally hooked, though unaware that we watched the “Greatest World Series ever”.
    Also, little did I know that a few days after Game 7, a little girl was born that I would meet 20 years later when I played shortstop at the university softball team.

    But first I started playing baseball myself in one of the few teams in Germany at the time. Me and my brother kept getting up for so many of those October nights in the 90s. For a while, we couldn’t even watch, our favorite TV station went bankrupt so we listened on AFN radio. Sometimes we put little toy figurines on the floor to visualize the players.
    Of course, the internet came along, my brother started buying the MLB subscription and shared it with me. Even during years when we didn’t see or even talk much, there was always the Braves for us. Maybe him asking at Christmas if I knew of any important winter trades yet.

    My brother passed away in 2016. Last night I literally cried myself to sleep, thinking about all the beautiful memories and all the things he did for his little brother, happy about their shared passion.
    I set the alarm to 1:47 am. 47 seemed fitting with a leftie trying to win WS Gm. 6. It was just in time for Solers HR. For innings 8 and 9, I woke up that softball-playing girl born in October 1991. At her 30th birthday last weekend I was DJing, and at the same time following Gm.4 on my phone. She’s now my fiancé. We watched as the ball was hit to the shortstop who threw it to first.
    What a beautiful game.

    Thank you all for keeping this place up, by the way. I don’t write much at all, but I love coming back here, and I appreciate it a lot.

  15. Matzek coming in with 2nd and 3rd no outs and striking out the side has to be the turning point in the postseason.
    Even if he does a good job with a groundout and a flyout, those runners come in ,we have a tie game and who knows what happens.
    On the offensive side, Soler was huge, of course, but without that Rosario 3 run HR off Buehler, we might end up in game 7 against the dodgers.
    So many things went right , oh and the Fried stomping in the 1st inning, OMG, if we had another broken leg situation I would have freaked out. Good thing I wasn’t watching live, I guess.

    Life is good, that is all.

  16. Crazy to even consider the idea that we won the WS because Acuna got hurt. Crazy, but maybe true?

  17. Alex, that was what Mac would have written, great work.

    I wore my Braves Journal shirt under my Chipper Jones jersey to the game last night. I wanted to have you all with me. I have been around here for about 18-19 years, I love this bar!

    @16- That is beautiful.

  18. @10 Thanks DJ. I am sorry you didn’t have anyone to celebrate with in person, but you always have us to celebrate with remotely. That was a special night for all of us and a loooong time coming.

    Go Braves!

  19. AAR: purty, purty words, strung together in the right order.

    Thanks.

    An re: Lucky. You are absolutely right, but just think how few things would have had to go wrong to lose this series, or the one before. Like I said: it’s a crapshoot, and this time it came up 7.

  20. What a wonderful conclusion to a crazy, unexpected, and magical season. To AAR and all the regular recappers, thanks for all the incredible writing. I don’t remember exactly when I found Braves Journal, but it was a long, long time ago and I’ve been an avid reader ever since. It’s the only site I frequent where the comments make the content even better. Mac can never be replaced, but the work that AAR, Rob, and Ryan have done to keep it going and to keep it fresh make it a must-read for me every day. Thanks again for you all do.

  21. Just a quick shout out to the mom’s as well. Maybe I’m the only one, but my mom grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and she was the one taking me to games in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, where we watched Claudell Washington, Bob Horner, Dale Murphy and so many others entertain us for less than $20.

    I wanted to take her to one of the games in Atlanta, but her health isn’t good these days, so she thought she’d be more comfortable in bed, propped up on pillows, watching the games. Just being on the phone with her last night, sharing the win and all our memories of the games we went to together, that’s what it’s all about, at least for me.

    A huge thank you to the Braves for giving us such a thrill ride this year and thanks to all the mom’s that put on caps and take their kids to games. You are appreciated.

  22. Max getting stepped on was grooosss. It looked a lot worse than it was, whereas Morton’s injury looked a lot better than it was. Baseball.

    I want to think about next year. I really do. And we’ll have the whole offseason to talk about how these boys can repeat. But for now, I’m definitely enjoying that they have something to repeat.

    Can you imagine being Brian Snitker? 62 years old, managing the AAA squad, and they “call you up” to be the interim manager for the rest of a miserable season. 4 years later, he’s the second-oldest person to win a World Series for the first time. At 62 years old, I’m thinking that I’m going to be in the twilight of my career. He was just getting started.

  23. This curmudgeon cried over Facetime with his ~20 year old daughter after the final out was recorded. Said daughter being one of the biggest Braves fans I’ve ever met. She’s currently majoring in Sports Management at Kansas and has decided that she will work in baseball. She’s going to be the social media manager for the Cape Cod League next summer.

    I’m very proud of her.

    This is truly the bar that Mac built. And though sometimes we bicker and sometimes we cajole, at the end of the day this bar is unified by the common purpose of loving our Braves. Sometimes they’ve been hard to love. But I loved them in the early 80s when they couldn’t draw flies. I’ve loved them in highs, lows, and everything in between.

    Major major props to Ryan and Rob for their recent efforts in keeping this bar ship shape.

  24. I too struggle to remember exactly when I found Bravesjournal for the first time, but I remember scrolling the comments on the first dial-up internet access my parents ever had at home, which must place it somewhere around 1999-2000.

    I’ve been more of a reader than a poster. Generally, if I had something to say, someone else had already said it better. I’ve been almost a daily visitor for the intervening 20 years though, and I echo everyone else in thanking those who have kept it going. I remember when I logged on and saw the news of Mac’s passing, and it felt like losing a friend, though we’d never met.

    I started watching the Braves on TBS in 1988 with my dad, in the heart of Mississippi, and I never stopped. As I grew up and moved from state to state, pursuing my career, I talked to my dad during almost every game, usually multiple times. Our love of Atlanta baseball was the through line that kept us connected, no matter how many miles separated us, or when we last talked.

    Sadly, I lost my father, my best friend really, in 2016. I watched the games in his hospital room with him, until the end. That was a bad year personally and for the team. As the teams fortunes have risen in the past five years, so too has the pain faded, although I know it will never go away.

    My only regret is that he didn’t live to see this, after we shared so much postseason disappointment, but I’m so thankful that I witnessed this season.

    Thanks to Ryan, Alex, Rob and all the rest of you. Let’s enjoy the hell out of this, and then see if we can’t defend the title next year. Why not?

  25. Said daughter being one of the biggest Braves fans I’ve ever met. She’s currently majoring in Sports Management at Kansas and has decided that she will work in baseball. She’s going to be the social media manager for the Cape Cod League next summer.

    I’m very proud of her.

    That’s awesome man. You should teach her to refer to guys that don’t play in the Cape Cod League as “just a guy”.

  26. haven’t been around these parts in some time, but I figured I’d stop by and publicly acknowledge my debt to Mac who filled a gap for a fan far from Atlanta who was looking for something to fill that void. Here’s to you Mac, thanks.

  27. Beautiful words on this momentous occasion. Thanks to every one of the writers here. Feels like home.

  28. @24–thanks for those links, Alex. Two excellent articles. I “loved” the second one, and I use that verb advisedly.

  29. Just wanted to chime in and offer my sincere congratulations to the team and to Braves nation. I am thrilled to have witnessed last night as I’ve been a Braves fan my entire life. Thanks to all the Braves Journal contributors – you have made reading about this season a blast.

  30. Hey yeah so just wang go say congratulations to all the Atlanta Braves and especially Freddy freeman my favorite player of all time and Byron Snickers the greatest coach of all time! The Braves will always be my team because of my uncle Kenny and what he told me about the history of them and although he is not with us any more I can think him for sending us finally a championship!

  31. I’m still basking the glow of the World Series. It’s been fun to read the comments (all the time really) and the recaps. I especially like reading comments from lurkers and long-time Braves fans describing how they first became fans. TBS is a strong theme, which I can echo.

  32. I think Chance has said it all already

    But I sit at home 24 hours after the start of Game 6, running on 3 hours sleep, fumes and Elvis Juice (please look it up), and I think of AAR’s wonderful words, as well as those that have gone before

    I’m not sure my dad would have loved this if he was still around, given that the Braves knocked off the Dodgers in the NLCS. And yet I wouldn’t be writing this if he hadn’t followed his brother from the backwaters of Northern Ireland to Santa Barbara back in the early 60’s. Where the locals introduced him and my mum to baseball (I’m only slightly grumpy these days that they flew back “home” when my mum was 7 months pregnant with me, but that’s another story)

    And so I grew up with tales of Koufax, and listened to Kirk Gibson’s famous home run on the Armed Forces Network broadcast out of Frankfurt, and thought that one day I might get a chance to enjoy this sport for real

    Time passes, I meet girl, girl has brother, girls’s brother moves to Atlanta to coach kids how to play soccer. He’s now SVP at British Soccer and if you have kids/grandkids you know where to come

    When we’ve gone to visit I’ve been fortunate to see Glavine v Schilling (when he was with the Phillies); Maddux; Mike Hampton homer; Andrelton do web gem stuff amidst a Brandon Beachy clinic when child 2 and her cousin got featured on the crowd cam

    We’ve not been to Braves country for 5 years now; the girls are older and 1 of them seems to have an exam year or world events have intervened, but this bar now feels like home and softens the blow until we’ll be back in person at some point

    By the time that comes around I may have come down from my cloud, but we have to go through the Paris Olympics trip first

    Stay tuned for an end of season musical award assortment tomorrow

  33. Does anyone ever get the impression that other writers are reading this blog and taking things from it for their articles? Seems like I see near quotes directly from the comments in other articles. Also, I have long wondered if anyone close to the team reads here (players, coaches, execs, media people, etc…). It just seems like this place is worth it as opposed to the Twitterverse. If I were in any of the team positions, I’d want to pick up interesting insightful viewpoints anywhere I could. I know it’s nothing but it would be so cool to have the guys we’re talking about reading our insights.

  34. Random thoughts:

    I also have wondered if they won it because Acuña got hurt. Would AA have signed Rosario or Soler if he had not?

    Max getting stepped on made me think of Tim Hudson’s injury that happened pretty much the same way. I was worried until I saw him warm up after it happened.

    I guess we need to get an updated Keltner list on Freddie.

    And, finally…What the hell is wrong with Smoltz? Did something happen to him? Is he upset that Glavine got the job he wanted?

  35. @39 AA has texted me many times saying that my comments have been the inspiration for team moves. 😎

    In all seriousness, our crowd is smart. Wouldn’t surprise me, but there are a lot of smart people on the other sites just having the same thoughts.

  36. @40 I’ve wondered the same about Acuna. But I think you’d rather have Acuna than both Rosario and Soler.

    Plus, if they had Acuna and therefore didn’t need to acquire the 2 OFs, would they have acquired another starter or reliever?

  37. It’s all speculation, but maybe if Acuna doesn’t get hurt it’s Pederson that doesn’t get acquired and the other deadline deals still happen. They really still needed outfield help to give Acuna a decent supporting cast.

  38. @43

    Maybe, but do we win the World Series without Pederson’s presence in the clubhouse? There’s certainly an argument for no…at least not in the same way. It’s one of those questions that’ll never be answered, but I will say it’s fun to engage in speculation from this side for once as opposed to the much more common other side. (What if Ozuna doesn’t take off early from third, what if Dansby holds at third, what if Lonnie Smith Jeff Reardon Mark Wohlers Brooks Conrad blah blah blah, etc.) I like how the hypotheticals look from this side much better.

  39. The other side of the Acuna equation is that without him in the first half the Braves wouldn’t have been in position to make the moves they did

  40. @45 yeah, it’s more of a debate over what would’ve happened if he stayed healthy.

    Where I come down on this is that there’s simply no way you don’t want the one of the best players in baseball on the roster.

    It’s hard for me to start thinking about this without thinking about how loaded our roster is going to be next year.

  41. Even if you don’t acquire Soler and Rosario and Pederson and Duvall (and I think it highly likely that at least two of them would have been acquired, but Soler was probably the least likely) you have to, when subtracting their production, add Acuna’s. That forms, as we say in the statistics biz, a controversial counterfactual. Good luck with that.

  42. lol, so who’s gonna sign up to lead this offseason’s “Bizarro Braves” what-if-we-didn’t-rebuild series on here?

    I can’t wait to find out what becomes of David Hale and Joey Terdoslavich.

  43. Excerpt from Tom Verducci’s SI story- so cool!!

    “Snitker managed in 11 minor league towns, including Durham, N.C., in 1987, the site where Bull Durham was filmed. Kevin Costner, while portraying Crash Davis, the movie’s minor league journeyman and protagonist, used Snitker’s well-worn catcher’s mitt.

    “Not only that,” says Troy, “in the opening scene of the movie, they show Susan Sarandon’s house, and there’s a baseball card in her mirror. That’s my dad on that baseball card. Pretty cool.”

  44. @49. I’m just glad we don’t need to a depressing “Where Do We Go From Here” series this year. I mean, yeah, we can still do it, but it won’t read like an autopsy for once.

  45. @49

    Wait, what? Hold on, hold on, let me make sure I understand.

    The Braves finished 79-83 in 2014. It’s 2021. We won a World Series 7 seasons later. You’re saying that even the mere questioning of rebuilding is out of bounds? That if we win a World Series 7 years after finishing 4 games below .500 and detonating a nuclear bomb in the franchise, that is the absolute pinnacle of expectations, and the alternate mustn’t be questioned?

    Now that’s a take.

  46. I basically agree with Rob. Here, I think, is where I come out on the rebuild…

    I was strongly, strongly against it at the time. I thought it was insane to blow up a talented core of players who were mostly 26 and under in the hopes that eventually some of the prospects you netted would yield another winning team in the future.

    As it was, the tank-and-rebuild was somewhat successful. Just like the Nationals, Royals, Astros, and Cubs, we wound up with a World Championship eventually. It just took us seven years and three GMs. At the end of the day, the tank netted us a few high draft picks, some of which worked out (Anderson) and others of which either didn’t or are too soon to say (Wright), as well as some useful trade chips (Allard). The rebuild trades netted us some key pieces (Fried) and some complementary pieces (Swanson). But Acuña and Albies were international free agent signings, Freeman was already on the team, and a lot of the others were basically scrap heap pickups of the kind that any team can get at any time.

    In retrospect, I think we’ve learned even more strongly something that we saw from the other side in the ’90s: the playoffs are a crapshoot. The job is to try to get to the playoffs. Someone’s going to have a horseshoe up their butt and it might as well be you. Tearing down a good team in the hopes that you’ll wind up with a superteam is a poor strategy because even superteams can lose in the playoffs, flawed teams can win, and tearing up your playoff tickets, just because you think you’ll get better seats in some unknown future year, is a bad plan.

    At the end of the day, like I said at the very beginning, we’re lucky. We’ve had a whole lot of bad luck in the playoffs, and this October and November, it gloriously evened out. But I believe this: Alex Anthopoulos is a more gifted executive than Frank Wren and John Coppolella, and this victory has more of his fingerprints on it than theirs. The team that we won with was a team that was partly built from the tank-and-rebuild, partly built from internal player acquisition and development, and partly built from Alex Anthopoulos’s genius for short-term free agent contracts and savvy in-season trades.

    The counterfactual’s impossible, flags fly forever, and I’m happy that we’re champions. Wren and Coppy did a whole lot of good things in their time, but this is Anthopoulos’s team. I’m a lot more comfortable praising him than I am in praising the tankjob that netted us some of the players who hoisted the hardware. And now I should probably leave the subject alone forever.

  47. You’re saying that even the mere questioning of rebuilding is out of bounds? That if we win a World Series 7 years after finishing 4 games below .500 and detonating a nuclear bomb in the franchise, that is the absolute pinnacle of expectations, and the alternate mustn’t be questioned?

    I mean, it’s never “out of bounds” to be wildly wrong. You have every right to ask questions, to speculate and dream and pursue folly anywhere it leads you. If that’s what you feel you must do right now, in this moment, don’t let me stop you.

  48. Probably just a coincidence…maybe.

    Also I believe that winning the game in which Acuna got hurt brought the Braves record to 44-44. And in the playoffs Joc used one of Anthony Rizzo’s bats (who wore #44 with the Cubs).

    And a couple close calls (just for thoroughness’ sake):
    – There were 44 total runs scored in the WS until Freddie concluded the scoring with his game 6 homer
    – This was Snitker’s 45th year (I believe) in the org.

  49. Mr Remington, love your summary, your words ring very true. I am one of those not from Atlanta but have been a Braves fan since 1976 because Ted had a tv station in Charlotte. Live even farther away now but always the Braves. Love this team. Love the fan base. Love all the comments and all the emotion here. All the best to everyone. Its going to be a very satisfying winter.

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