OPINION

Courteous Comments with Kirt Manion

Nebraska City News-Press

Chop, Chop, Champions

This year’s birthday present from the sports world was one I would have liked to return to the store.

On July 10, my birthday, Ronald Acuña Jr., outfielder and superstar for my favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, went down with a season-ending injury.

Atlanta won that day against Miami, 5-4, and got to the .500 mark in terms of their season record.

The New York Mets lost that day, but despite the 6-2 decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates, were still eight games over .500.

Mike Soroka, one of the Braves top pitchers, was already out for the season. He began the year on the DL and suffered a set back on his injury which kept him out of the 2021 line up.

No Acuña. No Soroka. Trailing by eight games.

It was over.

As we found out, that wasn’t true. Atlanta got hot in the month of August. The Mets cooled off and the Braves were able to get to the finish line to win the East Division of the National League with 88 wins, the 12th best record in the MLB.

So it was assumed that the team would be quickly out of the postseason.

The Braves did benefit from the rules of the playoffs, as the San Francisco Giants edged the Los Angeles Dodgers in an NL West battle that saw both teams win over 100 games. The Dodgers were forced to play a play-in game against the Cardinals, and, having won, then take on the Giants.

The Braves would only have to beat one 100-plus win team to get to the World Series.

First, the team needed a series win, and got it, against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Dodgers beat the Giants to get revenge after having lost to San Francisco in the division race.

Certainly, the story of the Braves would end with a crushing sweep by the Dodgers.

Again, the Braves proved defiant by beating the Dodgers to reach the Fall Classic where the Houston Astros, a postseason proven team, waited.

The Astros would have home field advantage to go along with their postseason prowess.

Atlanta was not intimidated. They beat the Astros both at home, 2-1 in Atlanta, and also 2-1 in Houston, to win the World Series.

This example proves past results, even recent ones, don’t dictate the future perfectly. Teams come back. Teams overcome. Champions can come from unexpected places.

Although fans of the Braves, such as myself, took joy out of the World Series win, a lot of sports fans can take something from it too.

The old adage, it’s not over until it’s over.

Believe it.

Kirt Manion