Atlanta Braves MLB Champions Again After 26 Years
After defeating the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park, the Atlanta Braves have won their first MLB World Series (the championship series of Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada, contested between the champion teams of the American League and the National League) title since 1995. With 16 consecutive playoff appearances without winning a trophy, Atlanta was the team with the longest string of failed attempts to reach the Commissioner’s Trophy, which is awarded to the winners of the World Series.
What they failed to do in the fifth game in front of their fans, the Braves players did on the away turf, where the Astros were considered favorites according to the best mobile bookmakers, not only in the sixth game but also to repeat the triumph from 2017. With solid pitching and three massive home runs, the Braves won the Series four games to two. Thousands of fans traveled to Atlanta’s stadium, Truist Park, to watch the game on a chilly night, despite being disappointed with the Braves’ inability to shut out rivals at home in Game 5.
Soler Named Series MVP
The Braves jumped off to an early lead once again, this time by hitting a home run. After Ozzie Albies singled and Eddie Rosario walked around two flyouts in the top of the third inning, Braves’ Jorge Soler hit a three-run home run off Astros starter Luis García’s eighth pitch. Soler’s third home run of the Series was estimated to fly 446 feet, and it came on García’s final pitch of the game, who was pitching on short rest. The MVP award went exactly to Soler, the Cuban-born outfielder.
Dansby Swanson, an Atlanta native, hit a two-run homer off Astros reliever Cristian Javier to extend the Braves’ lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth. Albies scored before Swanson, who had walked to start the inning. According to reports, the pitch came in at 83 mph and left much faster, landing on the pavement outside the stadium.
How Decider Further Unwrapped
Freddie Freeman doubled home Soler, who had walked, with one out and two hitters remaining, making the score 6-0. Freeman, who could be a free agent after the season, made it 7-0 with a single home run off Houston’s Ryne Stanek in the top of the seventh inning. Max Fried, the Atlanta starting pitcher, was outstanding, striking out six batters in six innings while allowing only four singles. Two of the base-runners were stranded on double plays, one of which was started by Fried.
The remaining three innings were pitched by relievers Tyler Matzek and Will Smith. The three Braves pitchers combined to strike out 10 batters while throwing 121 pitches, with two-thirds of them being strikes. The Astros recorded only six hits, all of which were singles, and only three at-bats with runners on base.
Controversy Remains to Loom Over Braves Despite Winning Series
The Braves and Astros were both National League teams when the former won their last World Series 26 years ago and maverick media tycoon Ted Turner owned the team. They also had outstanding pitching, with three future Hall of Famers in the starting rotation: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz.
The Braves’ success this season has not kept them out of controversy. Native American organizations and legal representatives have demanded that the team remove the “Tomahawk Chop” symbol and gesture from its branding and game-day traditions, claiming that it promotes racial stereotypes. The Braves announced this summer that they were revisiting the decision in response to Native American protests.
As for the competitive rise of the Braves, in 2017, the club won just 72 games, but with 90 wins in 2018, they began a four-year streak of making the playoffs. From 1991 until 2005, the Braves won 14 straight division titles, setting a new MLB record, and one World Series title. Last year, the Braves led the National League Championship Series 3-1 but were defeated when the Los Angeles Dodgers won the final three games and later the World Series.
Since Atlanta United won the MLS Cup in 2018, this is the first major professional sports league championship won by any of the sports associations in the city.