November 5, 2021 | SPORTS | By Max Giles | Photo by Anil Jergens

The 2021 World Series matchup has provided social media excitement, intense interest from baseball fans, and nail-biting games. 

From the American League, it is the dominant Houston Astros. From the National League, it is the Atlanta Braves. The villain against the underdog. 

The Houston Astros came in as the two seed in the American League and have definitely not been a fan favorite. The cheating scandal that occurred in the team’s 2017 World Series has significantly damaged their reputation. In fact, if you were to go to the MLB’s Instagram comment section, you would be faced with overwhelming support for the Braves. 

That is what makes this series special. On the one hand, you have the Braves; they entered as a three seed by winning the worst division in baseball (arguably), the NL east. They are undeniably underdogs. In fact, as the trade deadline approached this season, it was not clear if the Braves management wanted to make a playoff run or not. 

However, after the Braves made deals to receive players like Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall, it was clear that their intent was to make a run. Close to four months later, they are in the World Series. 

As for the Astros, they are the villains in the story to many MLB fans: Undeniably talented and extremely unlikeable. 

The Braves haven’t won the World Series since 1995. Meanwhile, this is the Astros’ third World Series in just five years. The seemingly vast dislike for the Astros might be attributable to their overwhelming success in recent years. 

Additionally, the series is showcasing star players and lovable personalities. All-stars include Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa on the Astros and Freddie Freeman for the Braves. People like Dusty Baker, Astros’ manager, and Braves third base coach, Ron Washington, are also making headlines. 

Baker has been in the MLB realm since 1967, when he was drafted. He is now 72 years old and has been the manager for several ball clubs. Many are hoping he can come away with a World Series title. 

Washington, similarly, is a veteran. He started his career in 1970. His charisma and love of the game is evident; he has become a popular face of the Braves team on social media. 

Another headline of this series is when Charlie Morton, Braves pitcher, continued to play on a broken leg for several batters after breaking it when getting hit by a comebacker to the mound. This incident illustrates how important this series is to many of the players, especially for Morton, who used to play for the Astros. 

The series was back and forth. While the Astros were down from the start, they seemed to give up and they managed to stay in the series. There was a mix of pitching duels, like game three where the Braves won 2-0, and offensive battles, like game five, where the Astros won 9-5. From game one, it just seemed like the Braves had the edge.

The Atlanta Braves, the underdogs who originated from the worst division in baseball, are World champions. The Braves shocked the baseball world and won their first title since 1995. The Astros had the least amount of wins of any postseason team. 

And yet, they took down one of the best teams in baseball, the LA Dodgers, and went on to beat a juggernaut in the Astros. At the end of it all, baseball fans are in awe of the exciting and nail-biting series that took place. 

While the Braves won in six games, it felt like a seven game series. Long-time veterans like first baseman Freddie Freeman and third base coach Ron Washington finally supermounted the tallest peak in their sport after decades of close-calls, missed opportunities, and bad luck. 

The last game of the series was a blow-out that showcased the dominance of the Braves offense along with their stellar pitching. Jorge Soler and Dansby Swanson crushed homeruns in the beginning stages of the game. 

Meanwhile, Max Fried pitched six innings allowing zero runs and just a handful of hits, he commanded the ball game. He rebounded from a rocky performance in game two and will be remembered for his dominant performance in game six. 

For the Astros, things just didn’t seem to be going right. Their infield had a record-low batting average, pitching was inconsistent, and so was their play as a team. For instance, Luis Garcia, Houston’s starting pitcher in game six, got off to a rough start as Soler took a homerun out of the stadium. That really set the tone for the rest of the game and quite frankly, the Astros didn’t show much sign of life. 

It is safe to say that the Braves were underdogs and fan-favorites. Their victory is celebrated amongst not just Braves fans, but by much of the country. 

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