If you want some musical accompaniment to your reading of this article, scroll to the bottom of the article for a beautiful song released earlier this year.
The Atlanta Braves are forever on 2021 World events champions, and that alone is a great thing to be thankful for this year. But there are a lot of other things to show your appreciation for, so join me for a few minutes as I share with you some things I’m grateful for this year.
I’m grateful for all the positivity and joy that the Braves’ playoff run and subsequent World Series victory brought millions of people this fall.
I’m grateful for Ron Washington’s pre-game training sessions with the Braves infielders. I am more thankful that these infielders were volunteer interns.
I am grateful to Wash for having a ring, after all these decades in baseball.
I’m grateful when Ozzie Albies’ helmet flies out onto the grass. This usually means he’s running full blast, which is always a sight to see. He’s the epitome of Heart and Hustle, even before he received the award this year.
Baseball is a lot like music in that there isn’t just one way to enjoy it. Some people like both for general enjoyment while others dig deep into the construction. I am grateful for this.
I wish baseball fans could find a better middle ground between the “new school” and “old school” arguments and the polarization of analysis.
I am grateful for the national baseball announcers who are not cranky even though they are rare these days.
I am grateful that all of the actions taken by the Braves front office at the deal deadline paid off. There is nothing quite like postseason baseball.
I’m grateful that I slept, because I sure didn’t have enough with all those late-night playoff games. Getting up at 4 a.m. is much more difficult when you go to bed a few hours before.
Calling the bullpen in a close game isn’t always the most confident event, but I was grateful when the runners got stuck and when Luke Jackson was All Elite.
Speaking of All Elite, I’m grateful to AEW as they have become a welcome distraction and alternative in pro wrestling. I’m more thankful that AEW’s signature image has become 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 wanted him to become a Brave for most of the past decade, although I’m not sure exactly why I did it.
It would be nice if there was an easy way to sync the Braves radio team broadcast with the TV broadcast without delay. I would be a little more grateful if that was the case.
There were 57 players to appear in a game for the Braves between the regular season and the playoffs, but that would be great for the guys who were called up but never appeared in a game that will be remembered. Tanner Roark, your turn. Victor Arano, well done. Jasseel De La Cruz, this is not the first year that you are called but you do not appear in a match, I hope that will change for you next year.
I’m even grateful to those of you who were hoping De La Cruz would get into a game just because he would be the first Brave to wear his assigned uniform number in a game. Guess that would be nice, wouldn’t it?
I am grateful for the fall breezes and the first frost on the rooftops. They make hot drinks much more satisfying.
I am thankful for the well seasoned slow cooked dry beans and the buttermilk cornbread made without the sugar. I can forget a lot of things in life, but sweet cornbread is not one of them.
I am grateful for the food. Truly. But I am truly grateful for a good meal, no matter where it is from in the world. Unless there is a cream sauce, you can have my portion, if there is.
It was good to see Eddie Perez on the squad this year, although it was odd to see him wearing the number 95 rather than the 12 he had worn for over two decades.
Speaking of 12, I’m thankful that Jorge Soler has been named World Series MVP. (I’m maybe just a little grateful that I still have this prediction in the books like the one I got.)
When I was a kid I always liked lesser-known players. I’ve always been supportive of the guys who were called out and hoped they got so hot they could hold out. Charles Thomas, in this season in the early 2000s, for example. So much for these guys, every year.
Obviously, I was excited when Sean Kazmar, Jr. got a batting presence on that cold Chicago day. I’m grateful that I got to see this. Have a good retirement, young man. Hope we will see you again as a coach soon.
Speaking of coaches, here are two former Braves whose managerial careers are on the rise: Dan Meyer and Matt Tuiasosopo. In fact, here’s to all managers and coaches and staff in the organization. You have to be cut from a special fabric to be able to devote your life to coaching minors.
I wish I could say I’m grateful for all the technology we have in our lives, but I’m not. All in moderation, I guess.
I always enjoy seeing old photos of Gene Garber, Glenn Hubbard and Oscar Gamble. I’m thankful that the uniqueness in baseball isn’t shied away like it has been for quite a while.
I’m grateful to Dale Murphy, because it’s Dale Murphy.
I’m grateful to the players who celebrate and the managers who argue.
It will be fun, years from now, to look back on Eddie and Joc’s postseason series.
I am grateful for Joctober.
I am very grateful for the pink swords.
I’m thankful for at least half a decade more of Ronald Acuna, Jr., in the Braves’ outfield. It’s hard not to take how good he was for granted, even when you know you shouldn’t.
I thank Franco Garcia. Helping players connect with those who don’t speak their language is a vital role and I hope it will be a staple for years to come.
Gracias por tu arduo trabajo, Franco.
I am grateful for the front office and the staff in the field. I’m grateful to those who work hard to cover the squad and bring the game to life once the final is called.
I am happy for all of these people – whose lives have been built around this sport of failure – to relish the joy and the accomplishment of this season.
As we head into a few uncertain months with a looming work stoppage, I’m thankful that the stove heated up last week. Welcome to the team, Manny Pina. I think you will like it here.
I wish those at the head of the baseball table were a little more grateful than they seem to be. I know there is always a way to get there, but disrupting the offseason is not positive for me.
I’m grateful Tyler Matzek saved the Braves multiple times in the playoffs. I hope his performance will not be forgotten anytime soon. I wonder how many baskets of nuts he’ll be getting as a gift this holiday season.
The older I get, the more grateful I am for the Christmas decorations on the city streets and the Christmas music on the radio. But I wonder why we are subjected to the Holiday Music By Train.
I am grateful to people who learn from their mistakes. It’s a trait we should all have.
This time of year is one of my favorites. Especially when I can still be happy to say: “Atlanta Braves, 2021 World Series champion”.
I am not thankful for the wave. Whatever your stance on “the chop”, I hope we can all agree that the wave is terrible.
I miss Skip, Pete and Ernie. And this year I must miss Don too.
I’m glad the persistence paid off for Brian Snitker. I bet Bobby is happy with that too.
We missed you this year Hammer and Knucksie.
I wish it was easier to know the stories of baseball players. At least those who have interesting stories to tell.
Hopefully Touki will be able to be successful in Atlanta, or wherever, because I’m probably all for him to be as successful as anyone in recent years.
I think we can all agree that baseball would be better if more people had access to watch it. Now is the time to find a better solution than the power outages in the local market.
As long as there is a baseball team in the Atlanta area, I will support them whether they are called the Braves or the Hammers or the Bees or the Barnacles.
I’m thankful for the Tiger memes and SpongeBob’s veins. I am thankful for the hashtags and the pies. But I will never be grateful for the house flies.
Most of all, I am grateful for the family. Hope everyone reading this has one. Whether yours is organic or adopted; whether they are only relatives or friends; at home or online; having people to share moments with is of the utmost importance.
Our Braves family has experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum this year. We lost franchise icons and our team took home the ultimate prize. Between the two there was worry and dismay; it was difficult to remain optimistic in the face of the realities of pre-trade deadline season.
Yet here we are. Champions.
Hope today, above all, you take a few moments and enjoy the finer things in life. If your life is full of challenges right now; if you’re struggling and struggling to be grateful, that’s okay. Life is like that sometimes. But know that someone reading this today probably understands – or at least can sympathize. These tough times in life are when it’s most important to find something – anything – to be grateful for. Even if it’s something small.
This year, we are delighted that our team came out on top. They weren’t perfect. It was not easy. In fact, it sometimes seemed almost impossible. But they persevered and did not give up.
And you can too.
That’s what I’m most grateful for this year.
Enjoy your day. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the memories. Have fun thinking about the future.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Here is the Japanese Breakfast group with their 2021 song, “Pakrika”.