Why it’s so easy to love the Atlanta Braves

Please find me another team that would greet a bespectacled player like this. I doubt that you can.

If you didn’t know this already, the Atlanta Braves are my “home team” and I love them dearly. We win together, we lose Put aside the 14 consecutive division titles, 5 pennants, and 1 World Series title for a minute. You also have to put aside having 3 hall of fame bound starting pitchers, a hall of fame bound manager, and a hall of fame bound third baseman. Last night was one of those reasons why it’s so easy to love the Atlanta Braves and it had nothing to do with beating the world champs 10-7, going 5-1 against them this season. It has nothing to do with the fact that the Braves are now on a winning streak of sorts (2 games) after dropping 8 straight. No, it has everything to do with the goofy companionship this team has. They love giving each other long hugs in the dugout, or dancing before a game starts. Last night however, took the cake. Freddie Freeman who’s missed a significant number of games this month due to an eye injury returned to action last night, complete with a new set of spectacles. On his first at bat, he hit a solo home run (one of his 3 hits and 3 RBIs he had last night). His teammates so ecstatic about Freeman’s return greeted him in the dugout with one of the most bizarre, and downright funny displays I’ve ever seen. Several players turned their hands into glasses and put them over their eyes as they greeted Freeman on the dugout steps. It was goofy, hilarious, and an awesome display of a team at its best.

Not a whole lot of preseason predictions had the Braves winning this year. In the loaded NL East, most predicted a third or fourth place finish. The Braves took a mighty tumble over the last week, losing 8 straight, and conjuring up memories of last year’s epic September collapse. However, what this team has that works is a bond. GM Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez have built a team that loves playing baseball together. They’re a fun group to watch, but the fun can also spin around on them. As much fun as they have together, when the going gets rough, they all feel the pain together. It’s why (and I hope) the Braves can keep it together this season. If they do, it’s not just the talent that can get things done, it’s the companionship, teamwork, and willingness to laugh and remember what baseball is: a kids’ game.

Glad the Braves have found their winning ways again, and let’s hope it continues for the rest of the summer and into some cool October nights. Home team!

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