If you’d like some musical accompaniment to your reading of this article, scroll to the bottom of the article for a lovely song that came out earlier this year.
The Atlanta Braves are forever the 2021 World Series champions, and that alone is a great thing to be thankful for this year. But there’s a lot of other things to show appreciation for, so join me for a few minutes while I share with you some things I’m thankful for this year.
I’m thankful for all the positivity and joy the Braves playoff run and subsequent World Series victory provided millions of people this Fall.
I’m thankful for Ron Washington’s pre-game training sessions with the Braves infielders. I’m more thankful that those infielders were willing trainees.
I’m thankful Wash got a ring, after all these decades in baseball.
I’m thankful for when Ozzie Albies’ helmet goes flying to the turf. That usually means he’s running full-tilt, which is always a sight-to-see. He is the epitome of Heart and Hustle, even before he was bestowed the award this year.
Baseball is a lot like music in that there’s not one way to enjoy it. Some people like both for general enjoyment while others dig deep into the construct. I’m thankful for that.
I do wish baseball fans could find a better common ground between “new school” and “old school” arguments and the polarization of analytics.
I’m thankful for national baseball announcers who aren’t curmudgeons even though they are few-and-far between these days.
I am thankful that all the moves the Braves front-office made at the trade deadline paid off. There’s nothing quite like post-season baseball.
I’m thankful for sleep, because I sure wasn’t getting enough of it with all those late-night playoff games. Getting up at 4AM is a lot harder when you go to bed just a few hours prior.
The call to the bullpen during a close game isn’t always the most confidence-inducing event, but I was thankful when runners were stranded and when Luke Jackson was All Elite.
Speaking of All Elite, I’m thankful for AEW, because they’ve become a welcome distraction and alternative in pro wrestling. I’m more thankful that AEW’s signature signing image became a well-used meme throughout the Braves season.
I was grateful for those two games Jonathon Lucroy played for the Braves, if only because I’d been wanting him to become a Brave for the greater part of the last decade, even though I’m not entirely sure why I did.
It’d be nice if there was an easy way to sync the Braves radio team’s broadcast with the television broadcast without a delay. I’d be a little more thankful if there was.
There were 57 players to appear in a game for the Braves between the regular season and post-season, but it would be nice for guys that got called up but never appeared in a game to be remembered. Tanner Roark, here’s to you. Victor Arano, cheers. Jasseel De La Cruz, this isn’t the first year you were called-up but didn’t appear in a game, I hope that changes for you next year.
I’m even thankful for those of you out there who were hoping De La Cruz would get into a game just because he’d be the first Brave to wear his assigned uniform number in a game. I guess that would be nice, wouldn’t it?
I’m thankful for autumnal breezes and the first frost on the rooftops. They make warm beverages that much more satisfying.
I’m thankful for slow-cooked dried beans that are seasoned just right and buttermilk cornbread made without any sugar. I can overlook a lot of things in life, but sweet cornbread isn’t one of them.
I’m thankful for food. Truly. But I’m really thankful for a good meal regardless of where in the world it originated. Unless it has a crème sauce, you can have my portion, if so.
It was good to see Eddie Perez around the team this year, even it was odd to see him wearing number 95 rather than the 12 he wore for more than two decades.
Speaking of 12, I’m thankful that Jorge Soler was named MVP if the World Series. (I might be just a little thankful that I’ll always have that prediction on the books as one I got right.)
When I was a kid, I always liked lesser know players. I always rooted for guys who got called up and hoped they’d get so hot they’d stick. Charles Thomas, in that one season in the early 2000’s, for example. Here’s to those guys, every year.
Obviously, I was excited when Sean Kazmar, Jr. got an at-bat on that cold Chicago day. I’m thankful I got to see that. Happy trails in retirement, young man. I hope we see you back at the ballpark as a coach soon.
Speaking of coaches, here’s to two former Braves whose careers as managers are ascending: Dan Meyer and Matt Tuiasosopo. Actually, here’s to all the organization’s managers and coaches and staff. You have to be cut from a special kind of cloth to be able to dedicate your life to coaching in the minors.
I wish I could say I’m thankful for all the technology we have in our lives, but I’m not. Everything in moderation, I suppose.
I still get a kick at seeing old photos of Gene Garber, Glenn Hubbard and Oscar Gamble. I’m thankful that uniqueness in baseball isn’t being shunned as it was for quite a while.
I’m thankful for Dale Murphy, because well, he’s Dale Murphy.
I’m thankful for players who celebrate and managers who argue.
It will be fun, years from now, to look back on the post-season run that Eddie and Joc had.
I’m thankful for Joctober.
I’m plenty thankful for pink swords.
I’m thankful for at least a half-decade more years of Ronald Acuna, Jr., in the Braves outfield. It’s hard not to take how good he has been for granted, even when you know you shouldn’t.
I’m thankful for Franco Garcia. Helping players connect with those of use who can’t speak their language is a critical role and I hope he’s a fixture for years to come.
Gracias por tu arduo trabajo, Franco.
I’m thankful for the front office and the on-field staff. I’m thankful for those who work hard to cover the team and bring the game to life once the final out is called.
I’m happy for all those people - whose life has been built around this sport of failure - to relish in the joy and accomplishment this season brought.
As we head toward an uncertain few months with a looming work stoppage, I’m thankful that the stove got hot last week. Welcome to the team, Manny Pina. I think you’ll like it here.
I wish those at the head of the baseball table were a little more thankful than they appear to be. I know there’s always a means to an end, but disrupting the offseason isn’t a positive in my eyes.
I’m thankful that Tyler Matzek saved the Braves numerous times in the post-season. I hope his performance isn’t forgotten any time soon. I wonder how many nut baskets he will receive as gifts this holiday season.
The older I get the more thankful I am for holiday decorations on city streets and holiday music on the radio. But I do wonder why we are subjected to holiday music by Train.
I’m grateful for people who learn from their mistakes. It’s a trait we all should have.
This time of year is one of my favorites. Especially when I can still bask in the joy of saying, “2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves”.
I am not thankful for the wave. Regardless of your position on “the chop”, I hope we can all agree that the wave is awful.
I miss Skip and Pete and Ernie. And this year, I have to miss Don, too.
I’m glad that perseverance paid off for Brian Snitker. I bet Bobby is happy about that, too.
We’ve missed you this year Hammer and Knucksie.
I wish it were easier to know the back-stories of baseball players. At least the ones with interesting stories to tell.
I hope Touki is able to find success in Atlanta, or elsewhere, because I’m probably rooting for him to make it as much as anyone in recent years.
I think we can all agree that baseball would be better if more people had access to watch it. The time has come to figure out a better solution than local market streaming blackouts.
As long as there’s a baseball team in the Atlanta area, I’ll root for them, whether they are called the Braves or the Hammers or the Bees or the Barnacles.
I’m thankful for Tiger memes and Spongebob veins. I’m thankful for hashtags and pies. But I’ll never be thankful for infield flies.
Most of all, I’m thankful for family. I hope everyone reading this has one. Whether yours is biological or adopted; whether it is only relatives or only friends; at home or on-line; having people to share moments with is of utmost importance.
Our Braves family experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum this year. We lost franchise icons and our team won the ultimate prize. Between the two, there was worry and consternation; it was hard to stay optimistic is the face the realities of the pre-trade deadline season.
Yet here we are. Champions.
I hope that today, especially, you take a few moments and appreciate the goods things in life. If your life is full of challenges right now; if you’re struggling and having a hard time being thankful, that’s okay. Life is like that, sometimes. But know, someone who is reading this today probably understands – or at the least, can empathize. Those hard times in life are when it is most important to find something – anything – to be thankful for. Even if it is something small.
This year, we have the joy that our team came out on top. They weren’t perfect. It wasn’t easy. As a matter-of-fact, it looked damn-near impossible at times. But they persevered and didn’t give up.
And you can, too.
That’s what I’m most thankful for this year.
Enjoy your day. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the memories. Enjoy thinking about the future.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
Here is the band Japanese Breakfast with its 2021 song, “Pakrika”.