This year didn’t end on the same high note for the Atlanta Braves and its fanbase as it did last year. That unfortunate ending doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to be thankful for this year. On the contrary, this year the Braves provided us with a lot to be thankful for throughout the season.
I’ve been writing a version of this editorial for more than twenty years. It was inspired by the piece that legendary Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher published each year on Thanksgiving. It was a must-read for me and reason to get a Thanksgiving Day newspaper, that was otherwise a lot of sales circulars and little else.
This is the second year this editorial has been part of Battery Power and its wonderful, passionate, and diverse on-line community.
While this piece will include a lot of Braves-related content, this is also personal – for me and for you. This holiday is one to focus on what we have to be thankful for. That theme is something I understand and appreciate more-and-more with each passing year.
So today, I ask you to share your feelings in the comments below. Whether it be about the Braves or yourself. For today, let’s leave any negativity behind and support and encourage each other. Not in a corny or hokey way, but as a genuine show of appreciation to each other.
With that said, I ask you:
How did this year go for you? Was it better than last year? Was it worse than last year?
Did you suffer through some trying times that saw you come out the other side and end up in a better place? Are you mired in a slump now, and need an encouraging word to lift your spirits?
As I said before, today - on this day of thanks - let’s support each other. You never know when an encouraging word can make a difference to someone.
Unless it’s about the Mets. There is nothing positive or encouraging to be said about the Mets.
To soundtrack the rest of this article, here are two of my favorite songs of 2022 by groups you’ve probably not heard of before. If you want something high-energy, try Australia’s Confidence Man - “Holiday”; if you want something a little more chill, go for New Zealand’s Yumi Zouma - “Where The Light Used To Lay”. (These link to YouTube, by the way.)
What I’m Thankful For in 2022
Michael Harris II. He stepped into the Braves line-up and seemed like a five-year veteran from his first game. He reminds me of Ozzie Albies, in that even in his youth, he added a sense of stability. I’m thankful that we will get to watch him play for years to come.
I’m thankful for William “Wild Bill” Contreras. If you had his break-out season happening this year, good for you. Don’t lie, I don’t think any of you thought he’d start the All-Star game this year. And to do so with his brother? How awesome was that?
I’m thankful for catchers, because they are the best, and that fact is inarguable. (Except when they aren’t, obviously.)
I’m thankful that I was able to watch the Chadwick Tromp game. If that ends up being his only game for Atlanta, oh what a game it was.
I’m thankful for everyone that got into at least one game. I wish everyone that got called up, got into at least one game rather than never logging an official game, like Ryan Goins, this year.
I’m thankful for Travis d’Arnaud, like I was thankful for Kurt Suzuki. Both of their age 33 seasons with Atlanta were impactful.
Td’A has been phenomenal for the Braves, which has made him the best d’Arnaud to play for the Braves. Thankfully. Sorry, Chase.
I’m thankful for when rookies play like they aren’t, and veterans show emotions like they are.
It’s fun when players get hot, even when it is fleeting. Travis Demeritte playing well for a couple of weeks and Vaughn Grissom’s fluky offensive start were unexpected and didn’t last. It’s better to start hot and tail-off than not, I suppose.
I’m thankful the Braves were somehow able to win 101 games despite injuries preventing the following players from having a full season of impact: Ronald Acuna, Jr., Ozzie Albies, Eddie Rosario, Mike Soroka, Adam Duvall, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek, and Manny Pina.
I’m thankful for high socks and stirrups. I’m more thankful for the few players who wear that style on a regular basis.
I’m thankful for “Bedrock” even though I’m still bitter that the Braves traded him. He won the NL Cy Young 35 years ago this year, which is crazy to think about. I had always hoped his son would play for Atlanta, but that ship may have sailed.
I’m thankful for facial hair and that the Braves don’t have a policy against it.
I’m thankful for Ron Washington and Eric Young, Sr.
Players who want to be in the line-up day-in-and-day-out are great; but I’m more thankful for those guys who understand the importance of a day off every now-and-again.
I’m thankful for Max Fried’s stare and Guillermo Heredia’s pink swords.
I hope Vaughn Grissom sticks around because the dynamic between he and Michael Harris II brought me unexpected joy. The Troublemakers.
I’m thankful when the Braves think outside of box when signing free agents, but I could have done without Robinson Cano. That’s just me, though.
I’m thankful for position players pitching so seeing Mike Ford and Orlando Arcia pitch was enjoyable for me.
The last few years have created an opportunity for Braves relief pitchers to join an every-growing list of “who were those guys” that will bring trivial pleasure for years to come. Welcome to the club, Danny Young, Tyler Thornburg, Silvino Bracho, Jay Jackson, William Woods, and Jesus Cruz. Maybe we will see one of them again, or maybe they are destined to live in relative obscurity.
Jessie Chavez, thank you. Seeing guys scratch-and-claw to stick around, getting every ounce of time out of their career, is something we should all be thankful for.
I’m thankful when unexpected players play a big role during a season. Dylan Lee played a bigger role than almost anyone could have expected.
I’d nice when trusting the process show dividends. It’s hard to remain patience when it doesn’t.
I’m not thankful for inflation. Have I said that before? Will I say it again?
I’m grateful when the actual day-of-the-week matches the day I think it is. Is it a Tuesday or a Thursday? Is it Wednesday or Thursday? (This happens more than I’d like to admit.)
Two weeks into next season, Brian Snitker should manage his 1,000th game for Atlanta. I’m thankful that the Braves gave him a shot and that he’s been a success. It’s nice to see a career company-man excel.
I’m thankful for randomly hearing Morphine while typing this. Saxophones aren’t always my favorite instrument, but sometimes they are.
I’m thankful for long winning streaks because winning is better than losing.
Every game counts. Years like this one proved that.
As fantastic as it was to watch the Braves come from way behind to overtake the Mets, I’d much rather Atlanta lead the division, comfortably, by mid-September.
I’m thankful that baseball is trying to evolve even if its history and future are often at odds.
I’m thankful there won’t be a work stoppage this offseason.
This year, I was especially thankful for the colors the leaves had in the Fall.
It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a hickory nut. It’s a lot of work for not much reward, though. Funny, life is a lot like a hickory nut as I think about it.
I’d be thankful for a decent snowfall this year ... as long as the power stays on.
You know what I am truly thankful for? Days where my back doesn’t hurt. If you aren’t that point in your life, be thankful for that - and don’t take it for granted.
I’m thankful for Steve from Blue’s Clues, the 8-bit Guy, and Moriah Elizabeth.
I’m thankful that Community is getting its movie. Donald Glover, please be willing to at least make a cameo. I need one more Troy and Abed in the Morning.
I’m thankful for best of lists and reminders of the good times they harken back to.
There’s been a lot of interesting characters who have suited up for the Braves over the years, but Peter Moylan has to be among my favorite (at least of relievers).
I wish I could be thankful for baseball broadcasters who balance the advanced stats and plainspokenness. Maybe next year.
I’m thankful for bonding over bad calls and good plays.
I wish there was more Los Bravos merch available because I’d buy some if there was.
Yes, they are arbitrary, but I’m thankful when ballplayers hit those arbitrary counting marks.
I’m thankful for cheers and boos and chants and pops. But, for a long time now, I have not been a fan of the chop.
I’m thankful for days when I think about Martin Prado.
I am not thankful for inflation.
I appreciate a good cup of coffee, which is something I wasn’t thankful for when I was young.
I’m thankful for random guys who have a good season, like Jackson Stephens.
Being thankful for getting older is something you have to embrace, because there isn’t anything any of us can do to avoid it.
Getting older comes with accepting a lot of things that were easier to ignore when you were younger.
I’m thankful that addressing mental health issues is less taboo than it used to be.
I’m not sure if I’m so thankful that old cloths still fit - not because of them not fitting but for the fact that I still have them.
I’m thankful when I can still remember the words to songs that came out in the Nineties, even though it doesn’t seem like those are “classic” songs. That term should only be reserved for tunes from the Seventies or Sixties, right? RIGHT???
I’m thankful for Magdalena Bay and Taylor Swift and Lewis Capaldi and Khraungbin.
I’m thankful for good pop songs, especially ones that make you want to dance in your car.
Speaking of being in the car, I’m thankful for the rare chances I can listen to baseball on the radio. Regardless of the announcers, there’s something comforting about listening to the call of the game on the airwaves.
I’m thankful for outfielders who take good routes to fly balls, infielders who make the routine plays, and pitchers who step off with a runner on base.
Yes, I’m actually thankful to see if larger bases, a pitch clock, and an attempt to keep the game moving at a faster pace, works. I’m all for romanticizing the grand ol’ game, but let’s not pretend it was better just because.
Baseball has to do something about replay, though. Seriously.
I’m thankful for a warm slice of freshly cooked cornbread, with a crunchy bottom crust, and not a hint of sweetness what-so-ever. Keep that sugar away from my cornbread, Satan.
I’m thankful for new holiday food traditions, like from-scratch tikka masala.
I’m thankful for sidearm pitchers and batters whose power is to the opposite field.
I’m thankful for young phenoms and guys re-inventing themselves.
I wish more people appreciated players who do whatever they can to keep a role on a team. Generational talent is great, but not everyone can be MJF.
I’m thankful for fireflies.
I like the DH, but I wish there was a way to add the strategy of bench utilization in the game. (Like a plate appearance limit per game for a DH.)
I’m thankful for long conversations and short stories.
I’m thankful for the kind of laugh that is uncontrollable - so long as it doesn’t cause you to get that weird cramp under your ribs. You know which one I’m talking about? What even is that?
I’m more thankful when I can cause other people to laugh like that. Minus that weird cramp, of course.
I’m thankful tropical breezes and frost glistening on rooftops.
I’ll be thankful when political ads end again. The only PAC I care about wrestles for AEW.
I’m thankful for the mental escape that comes from a late-inning rally or an early-inning offensive barrage by the good guys.
I’m thankful for balance - both in baseball and in life.
I’m thankful when products work like they are supposed to, and software companies that don’t screw-up a good thing.
If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.
I’m thankful when a pitcher has everything working and a batter can’t get out.
I’m thankful for the clutch strikeout and bloop hit the other way that scores a runner from third.
I’m thankful for the way Ron Gant pulled could-be home runs foul and Otis Nixon slid over second base.
I’m thankful for hook slides and back-hand tosses to second for the force out.
I’m thankful for diving catches by outfielders and sliding catches by catchers on pop-ups hit foul that just-barely stay in the ballpark.
I’m thankful for sword slashes and hugs, even though they both may be relics of the past.
I’m thankful that the Braves and Freddie seem to have finally moved on; change is hard for almost everyone.
I hope I’m able to see Matt Olson get in a groove and find a drop-zone in the fancy left field seats at Truist Park. I hope Austin Riley keeps powering balls over the wall in what used to be called the power alleys.
Here’s to Adam Duvall. He did what the team needed him to do before he got hurt last season, and I appreciate that.
I sure would be thankful to see an Atlanta pitcher throw a no-hitter (but without having to throw more than 110 pitches to do so).
I will miss seeing a pitcher hit a home run - but not enough to see them waving at a pitch down-the-middle with the same outcome as I would, if I were batting.
I’m grateful when playing the averages works out like it is supposed to ... but I’m more thankful when going against the grain works out for the good guys.
I’m thankful for the fleeting moments of inspiration and motivation. They don’t come near as much as they used to.
I’m thankful for old holiday songs that hit different this time of year.
I’m thankful for another year.
I’m thankful for family.
I’m thankful for the days when I have time.
I’m thankful that there is still time.
I’m thankful that we could share a few minutes together again this year. I hope I’ll see you here again, next year.