It’s over, and the Atlanta Braves are the 2021 World Series champions. They win tonight 7-0 over the Houston Astros, and finish out the series 4-2.
THE FINAL OUT! 🔥
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 3, 2021
I’ll cop to it now, and will always remember it about this year’s champs: I thought they were obvious toast back in July. The Atlanta Braves were not only solidly below .500 and five games out in the NL East, but they’d just lost Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season, one of the most impactful players in the game. It just felt like, yeah, it just isn’t going to happen for them this year in a crowded division.
So when they traded for Joc Pederson, kicking off trade season, I really scratched my head. I was happy about the trade from a Cubs perspective, and as a fan of trades, I was eager to get into that part of the year. But, to the extent I considered it from the Braves’ side in passing, I just figured they were desperate to hang around in the race if at all possible. I never thought they’d make a run, and I kinda wondered if maybe they were foolish for not selling.
Pederson wound up only one of many similar additions for the Braves in-season, and obviously the rest is history. A depleted roster and the lowest win total coming into the playoffs? Meh. No problem. Great and deep pitching, versatile bench with power, and a coaching staff that clearly knew how to maximize player usage/defensive value, and you’ve got the recipe for a team that won enough in the second half, and then rode their way to a championship. I was very wrong, and I’ll think about it a lot in the years ahead when considering what teams do or do not do in-season.
The former Cub factor was strong in this one, with Pederson, Jorge Soler, Jesse Chavez, Drew Smyly, and Terrance Gore all getting rings. Yes, they were all Cubs at one point!
Congrats to the Atlanta Braves, the 2021 World Series Champions. Now bring on the offseason, and maybe hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement much more quickly than anyone expects. As a treat.