Harrison: Just relax, enjoy Astros-Braves World Series - Albuquerque Journal

Harrison: Just relax, enjoy Astros-Braves World Series

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. holds the trophy after his team’s win against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 on Friday. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The season to celebrate the grandest of games has arrived. In a span of five to nine days beginning Tuesday, baseball will go about determining its ultimate champion.

In reality, many won’t celebrate. They aren’t happy with this Braves-Astros World Series matchup. Let’s examine some of those prototypes of the miserable (Disclaimer — I have been an Atlanta observer since I moved South in 1971, which indicates how old I am and also how much I have seen):

1. Their teams have been eliminated. If my team cannot reach the grapes, I am sure the grapes are sour, thus whine instead of wine.

“Well this is one WS I won’t be watching!” posted one relation on Facebook. He also issued the worst profanities for Atlanta’s Eddie Rosario, who did major damage to the Dodgers.

OK. Netflix and chill. As in relax, of course.

n It’s not just fans. Los Angeles media decided to stick in the Braves fans craw all week with a dig here and there. There were references to Waffle House, ubiquitous in the South. Funny, then they’ll go home to In-N-Out Burger, which brilliantly describes the expeditious path this SoCal staple takes through one’s … system.

One Los Angeles Times columnist also took this parting shot. He otherwise decried the self-destructive moves the Dodgers made vs. Atlanta, but said the Braves “earned the right to get destroyed” by Houston.

Of course an opinion that Los Angeles self-destructed rather than the Braves played better preaches to a choir — which, alas, can’t sing “I Love L.A.” in Dodger Stadium again until April.

2. The politics of it all. Everything has a political nuance these days, yes?

One longtime Braves fan and social media friend ranted vindication against the “PC pukes” that took the All-Star Game away from Truist Park in Cobb County, Georgia at the last minute and relocated it to Denver. It was in reaction to the Georgia State Legislature’s passage of the controversial Election Integrity Act of 2021, which figures to make future voting more difficult.

n Meanwhile, another contact overheated about the Braves offering country music artist and Georgian Travis Tritt the chance to sing the national anthem prior to Saturday’s NLCS Game 6. Tritt is an outspoken opponent of COVID vaccine mandates.

This, my social media friend posted, is why he hates the Braves.

I’d like to get those two together. But I’m snoozing both for 30 days. I hate the hate.

3. The complicating issues. The stench of the Astros’ cheating scandal of 2017 isn’t going away. Driving to the office on Saturday, I expected sports talk radio to be talking college football results or Sunday’s NFL. Nope. It was the Astros, and how many root for their downfall — primarily the handful of holdovers who seemingly went unpunished, including Albuquerque’s Alex Bregman — outside of Minute Maid Park.

Maybe baseball thinks it needs a villain, the point was made. Well, it has one, fairly and justifiably.

n Meanwhile, Atlanta is still the Braves, and their home fans still run toward, not away from, cultural appropriation. Anybody who saw the games last week saw fans emphatically chopping and chanting during big moments — no less so than 1995, when the World Series matchup brought together the Braves and Indians. Cleveland is changing its name next season; the Braves’ relationships with Native American communities seem to have forestalled that step in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, it just occurred to me that there is a foam tomahawk at my work desk.

Anyway, if fans could just see beyond all of that, this has a chance to be greatly entertaining:

1. There will be a pervasive presence of Henry Aaron in the year that he died. Not only does he mean so much to Atlanta, but also to Houston manager Dusty Baker, the planet’s coolest 72-year-old. SoCal native Baker at first didn’t want to come to the Braves and have to play in the South in the 1960s. He is glad his life took that turn.

2. Aaron hired Braves organization lifer Brian Snitker, telling him the cold truth that his future in the game was as a coach or manager, not as a player. And Snitker’s son Troy is a hitting coach for Houston.

3. The Dukes/Isotopes connections: Tyler Matzek (10 games here in 2015), who contracted the yips and was released by the Rockies. He found rebirth in Atlanta and, while he didn’t get credit for the save, he saved Game 6 with two scoreless relief innings Saturday. … Joc Pederson, Pacific Coast League MVP in 2014 and the reason fans wear pearls at Truist. They are all real, by the way. … Yimi Garcia, Houston reliever (also here in 2014) … and of course Braves third-base coach and former Dukes player (1977-78) Ron Washington.

4. The two championship series MVPs, Eddie Rosario and Yordan Alvarez, are exciting new players who were stolen in trades. Rosario came this year from Cleveland, who in turn took Pablo Sandoval and cut him. Alvarez, a star at 24, was a rare misfire by the Dodgers — come to think of it, maybe that adds to L.A.’s collective grumpiness. They gave him away in a trade in 2016 for a pitcher (Josh Fields) who hasn’t been in the majors since 2018.

And these two teams haven’t met since 2017, adding a freshness to this pairing. It certainly won’t feel like those years in the 1970s and 1980s when both teams reeked and, as NL West rivals, played 40 times a season on superstation TBS. Or maybe it just seemed like 40.

The prediction here is Houston wins in 7, that the abilities of its offense to move the line along will make the difference in a series including one Houston blowout, one Atlanta blowout and five close games.

Five close games in a World Series might be enough to entertain many, but not all. That’s OK. Just chill. There is Netflix.


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