’21 MLB Season Wraps with Braves Turnaround

Ava Inesta ’22
EE Sports Reporter

Photo courtesy: Major League Baseball

Freddie Freeman’s reaction to the final out!

The Major League Baseball season officially came to an end with the Atlanta Braves as the last team standing. They defeated the Houston Astros in a six game series, closing the final game with a 7-0 shutout on Tuesday November 2nd.

The season had been ongoing since February of 2021. Ever since the first day of spring training, the Braves  had some of the most ups and downs of any team in the majors. They had consistent injury problems with one of their aces, Mike Soroka since he was first injured on August 3, 2020. Another huge factor was the loss of star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. in mid-July due to an ACL tear. 2018 National League Rookie of the Year winner Acuña Jr. had been one of, if not the Braves best player since he debuted.

This was a big blow for the Braves and something that made everyone believe that the Braves wouldn’t be contenders for this year’s playoffs. However, at the trade deadline the Braves added outfielders Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson which completely changed their lineup. Eddie Rosario was another key player who didn’t have a team in February due to his free agency situation. But, he ended up being the most valuable player of the NLCS and a world champion at the end of the season.

So, there were many factors that went into the Braves making it this far. They were up against very talented teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers but still were able to surpass them. In the end, they always found a way to win games.

The Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Carlos Correa definitely made the biggest impact on their team’s performance all the way to the championship. The Astros put up great competition but the Braves always seemed to take advantage of all their mistakes. 

The great addition of Jorge Soler made the difference for the Braves. He went on to be the Most Valuable Player of the World Series because of his stellar performances in each game. No one would have ever expected his outcome in July when he was still on the Kansas City Royals.

When a baseball fan thinks of the Atlanta Braves, one of the first players to come to mind is Freddie Freeman. The first baseman has spent 12 seasons with Atlanta and has been a consistent star each year with five all-star game appearances as well as earning the 2020 National League MVP award. He shows nothing but passion on the field and is known as “the friendliest player in baseball.” Over the years, he has been a huge contributor in the Braves fielding and offense and has taken them to the playoffs multiple times. This year, he will finally bring the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Atlanta and baseball fans couldn’t be happier for such a deserving player. 

Someone else to largely credit for this championship is the coaching staff. Specifically, the mastermind in the dugout, Braves manager Brian Snitker. Snitker has been through it all with the Braves ever since he joined the organization in 1977. He made all the right decisions in order to give the Braves best chances of succeeding, especially this past October.

A factor that has nothing to do with the performance of the Braves but is more sentimental to the franchise is this year’s loss of the legendary Hank Aaron. The Braves chairman thanked Aaron along with another Braves legend, Phil Niekro in the post-game ceremony. “Hank’s footprints are all over this series,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker before game 3 at Truist Park. 

For the 23 seasons that Hank Aaron was a Brave, he was nothing but one of the most dominant players and a class act. Out of the 30 major league baseball teams, the chances of Atlanta winning the championship in the same year as Aaron’s tragic passing were small, but this circumstance truly feels right to the baseball world. It is the best way to honor how much of an icon Hank Aaron was as a Brave.

After an underperforming first half of the season, the Braves made a swift turnaround and surpassed the New York Mets in the National League East division. All of the odds lead the Braves to winning their division to now, being the 2021 World Series Champions.

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