Saturday, December 4, 2021

Braves vs Astros: A World Series Spanning Six Decades

Freddie Freeman enters the largest baseball arena for the first time, Jose Altuve and company are back again. Luis Garcia, Framber Valdez and fresh Houston hands against Ozzy Albis, Austin Riley and these energetic young bats from Atlanta.

And the endless search for Mr. Dusty Baker.

The Braves Astros have a lot to enjoy in this World Series – even a family confrontation. The son of Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, Troy, is a hitting coach based in Houston.

“It looks like the Snitkers are going to have the World Series trophy here,” the father said Saturday night. “I don’t know who it will belong to, but we will have it. So that’s pretty cool, too. ”

The match, which was preparing six decades ago, brings together former National League rivals who have played over 700 times, including five postseason episodes. Think about Hammer and Toy Cannon playing home run derby at Astrodome, or Greg Maddux, Tom Glavin and John Smoltz versus Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio on TBS June night.

Due to the schedule and COVID-19, Astros and Braves have not seen each other since 2017. They will now face off in their first game on Tuesday night in Houston.

The Astros opened as a 3-2 favorite on FanDuel’s website.

But before we get started, let’s just say this: a lot of fans might not be thrilled to see any of the teams here at the end of October.

Altuve and Astros teammates Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel will forever carry the cheating label after they were part of the team that devised an illegal scheme to steal the badges on their way to the 2017 championship.

They are welcomed at Minute Maid Park. In all other stadiums, they are called the worst villains – and even worse.

“Ever since this bad news about what happened in 2017, we all wanted to prove who we are and what kind of team we make up,” said AL Championship Series MVP Jordan Alvarez.

“I was not on the team in 2017, but I was booed just like everyone else. So I think we all have the same mentality, that we really want to win the World Series to demonstrate that we are just a great team, ”he said.

The Astros are in the World Series for the third time in five years and made it without ace Justin Verlander, who missed a season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

In July, the Braves overcame dynamic star Ronald Akunya Jr.’s knee injury at the end of the season and rose sharply after being stuck 52-55 in early August. Atlant has participated in the Fall Classic for the first time since 1999, thanks to the support of NL Championship Series MVP Eddie Rosario.

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However, although the lineup and stadium have changed, the sights and sounds of Atlanta still remain. Throughout the NLCS, Truist Park fans vigorously hacked and chanted important moments for the Braves.

In an era of social calculus, when the Cleveland Indians changed their name to the Sentinels and the Washington NFL team ditched a nickname that is considered racist, the Atlanta scene is sure to draw heightened attention.

On the pitch – and on the bench – many eyes will be riveted on Baker.

He won the World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 and led five teams to the playoffs as manager, but never won the crown.

Baker took the job in 2020 after the fraud scandal in Houston – “there’s something I haven’t done yet” – and at 72, with life experience, he gets another chance.

“Last year I really felt like a substitute teacher. I was an outsider, ”Baker said. “But this year they made me feel like one of them, and they were definitely always one of me. That’s what it’s all about. Everyone talks about teamwork, they talk about a team, but this is the feeling you have for each other. “

Baker’s story in this match is especially deep. Playing with the great Hank Aaron in 1968, he made his first major league career at the Astrodome, losing to Jimmy Wynne and Houston.

These teams have met frequently over the years since the 1962 Houston Colt .45s expansion overtook the Milwaukee Braves. There were days when Trapper Joe Torre tried to exorcise young Joe Morgan, the Nikro brothers threw themselves against each other and shot Nolan Ryan against Dale Murphy.

45 caliber rounds became Astros in 1965, and from 1997 to 2005 the clubs played five times in the NL Division series, three of which were won by Atlanta. Houston moved from Central Hollywood to West Albert in 2013.

Snitker certainly followed all of them. The 66-year-old Atlanta coach has spent four decades at the Braves as a player, coach and captain.

He set himself in the mood for Friday night when the Astros and son Troy beat Boston in the ALCS Decider 6.

“It was neat. I’m proud of him. Gathered with him on FaceTime. Watched the celebration, ”he said hours before the Braves finished off the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS.

“I told him for the first time that it’s not so easy, you know, it’s really difficult, as we can see. But it was a great experience for him, and I am happy for him. I said, I hope I can join you, ”he said.

Within hours, he and Braves were on their way.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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