Atlanta fans can proudly and finally shout these words after a 26-year wait: The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions.
The Braves defeated the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6 of the World Series for their first title since 1995. It is the second championship during the team’s time in Atlanta and the fourth overall in franchise history.
Soler was named the World Series MVP after hitting three home runs and accounting for six runs batted in.
Max Fried pitched six innings for Atlanta in the series clinching win. He gave up four hits, no runs and stuck out six batters.
“It’s indescribable. It’s something you dream about as a kid. Something you always want to happen and you dream about, and to be able to kind of have this moment, it’s really special,” Fried said.
The Braves got on the board in the third inning. Soler hit a three-run home run that plated Ozzie Albies and Eddie Rosario. That made it 3-0 Atlanta.
Danby Swanson added a two-run home run in the fifth inning to make it 5-0 Atlanta. Freddie Freeman hit a double to center later in the inning to score Soler. Freeman added a solo home run in the seventh inning.
AJ Minter, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith kept the Astros lineup at bay to complete the shutout.
“This city has been hungry for a championship for so long. I cannot wait to see the crowds here in the next couple days when we get back home,” Freeman said. “I’m just so thankful that we were able to bring them home a championship.”
The road to the World Series title wasn’t without its speed bumps.
People counted Atlanta out when the team struggled to reach above .500. People counted Atlanta out when a knee injured ended the season for superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. in July. People counted the Braves out against the Brewers, Dodgers and Astros who were all favored against them.
But all that counts now is the Braves overcame all those factors and more to become world champions.
“We hit every pothole, every bump you could possibly hit this year, and somehow the car still made it onto the other side. It’s just an incredible group. What Alex did during the trade deadline, we’ve been the best team since the trade deadline, and we played like it all the way into the postseason. We just got hot, and we just carried it over,” Freeman said.
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This year feels like destined for Atlanta to win the World Series after the passing of Hank Aaron. The baseball legend died a few weeks before spring training began.
Hammerin’ Hank’s presence was felt all over this series with his friend and former teammate Dusty Baker managing the Astros and his mentee Braves manager Brian Snitker, who Aaron hired when he was the Braves farm director.
Aaron’s hire set Snitker on the path for over 40 year career as a coach and manager within the Braves organization, the same team that drafted him as a player.
Now, in his sixth year as an MLB manager, all the hard work and dedication to the Braves has paid off.
It also paid off for the face of the franchise, Freddie Freeman. The first baseman and NL MVP is in his 12th season with the Braves and what fans hope isn’t his last. Freeman will be a free agent this offseason but has expressed time and time again that he wants to be an Atlanta Brave for life.
“I don’t know what I’d do without him, quite honestly. He’s my rock too. I go to him with things. I’ve been with him since the first day he came here in the Big Leagues. He’s everything that the Braves stand for,” Snitker said.
If you go up and down the Braves lineup and coaching staff, a World Series title has been a long time coming for most of them.
Third base coach Ron Washington was one strike away twice from his own World Series as a manager. Dansby Swanson and Will Smith grew up in Marietta and Newnan respectively and had to watch the Braves lose their last World Series attempt in 1999.
“Atlanta is such a unique place. It’s had a grasp on me ever since I was a little kid. To be able to share that moment with the city of Atlanta is amazing,” Swanson said. “The one quick story is I was here in Houston when the Super Bowl happened, and it just kind of feels like no better story could be written than God making us come back here and winning the World Series in Houston. So everything comes full circle.”
Now, the attention turns to celebrating a World Series title. The parade hasn’t been announced whether it will be in Cobb County, Atlanta or a mix of both.
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