How has YOUR 2021 been?

“I’ve taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I thank you all.”
“We Are the Champions” - Queen

C’mon now, did you really think that I wouldn’t enjoy gloating a bit about the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series?

That’s my little bit.

Every World Series champion has great individual stories, and this year’s Braves are no exception.

Take the team’s manager, Brian Snitker, a man who has spent 45 years with the Braves, a dedicated, loyal member of the organization before finally getting a job as the major league team’s manager in 2016.

The team’s most dominant relief pitcher in the postseason was left-hander Tyler Matzek, a former first-round draft selection who had simply lost the ability to throw the ball to the plate at one point, leading to him leaving professional baseball altogether in 2016.

He showed back up in independent baseball in 2018, signed with the Braves in 2019, and he’s been dominant for two seasons now.

Then you have a guy like Jesse Chavez, who was originally a 42nd round draft choice back in 2002. Major League Baseball doesn’t even draft 42 rounds anymore!

He struggled to make the major leagues, finally breaking through in 2008 with Pittsburgh, thus beginning a journey that would encompass nine MLB organizations and 14 professional seasons before he pitched in his first World Series, where he was trusted with vital innings.

The best year of any Brave, however, was had by a guy that you didn’t see on the field Tuesday night jumping around and celebrating with his teammates.

Ehire Adrianza may be a name familiar to Twins fans as a player who filled an important bench role for the team the last four seasons, before signing with the Braves in the offseason.

In April, the Braves were in the midst of setting a record for the most team pinch-hit home runs that any club had ever hit in one month, and fans were disappointed that one of the team’s important bench pieces left the team for a week, until he contributed a pinch-hit home run in his return on April 9.

Why was Adrianza gone from the team for a week?

He left the team to take his oath to become a United States citizen. That’s a pretty huge accomplishment for one year.

In the playoffs, the Braves were staring at the possibility of the Dodgers once again coming back and defeating them, until Adrianza’s pinch-hit in Game 6 delivered a double in a tie ballgame.

Fellow former Twin Eddie Rosario would follow with a three-run home run, and the Braves clinched the National League pennant.

Adrianza only got two at-bats in the World Series before the announcement came before Tuesday’s game that he would be leaving the team and missing the final two games of the series.

Why was he going to leave the team this time? COVID-19 protocols? An injury?

No, Adrianza left the team on paternity leave to witness the birth of his son, Derek, on Wednesday.

The photo on Instagram showed the newborn with a miniature version of the World Series trophy next to him in the crib.

The Braves had three players take time off for paternity leave during the regular season, on top of Adrianza’s paternity time during the World Series, and the star player, Freddie Freeman, had his son steal the show at this year’s All-Star game in Colorado.

So, perhaps dad bods really ARE all the rage.

That said, no one has had a better 2021 than Ehire Adrianza!


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