As anyone in Atlanta and its environs and everyone in the baseball world can tell you, the Braves are currently embroiled in the World Series with the Houston Cheaters . . . I mean, Astros. (Forgive my hometown bias.) With the usual two-three-two home and away games format for the best four-out-of-seven championship, Truist Park in Marietta, Georgia, will be host to at least a couple of the contests.

Fans and even non-fans of the Great American Pastime may recall that the Braves’ ballpark was supposed to be the site of the 2021 All-Star Game last July. But it seems new voting laws passed by the State Legislature and signed by the Governor earlier in the year were seen by some as being more restrictive rather than more welcoming to Georgia voters. (There’s quite a bit more to it, but that’s a hot point of the brouhaha.)

You may recall there were protests not only within the confines of the Peach State, but in other cities around the country. Even today, when some candidates and surrogates on the campaign trail in places far removed from Georgia want to raise concerns about voting rights, the State’s new laws are mentioned with great vitriol.

As a result of the Legislature’s actions, the Commissioner of Baseball, one Rob Manfred by name, decided to move the All-Star game to Denver. His quote at the time was, “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft. Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

When that announcement was made, the Braves were not a consensus pick to be the National League pennant winners this season. So, perhaps little, if any, thought was given to “what if” Atlanta is in the World Series in October? The conversation in the Commissioner’s office was probably brief and quickly dismissed on that topic.

COMMISSIONER’S AIDE 1: But what do we do if the Braves win the pennant?

COMMISSIONER’S AIDE 2: Right. Like that’s gonna happen. It’s the Yankees and Dodgers this year. No doubt about it.

COMMISSIONER’S AIDE 1: Ha! Yeah, I guess you’re right. Those teams are stacked.

COMMISSIONER’S AIDE 2: And the TV networks would love us.

COMMISSIONER’S AIDE 1: Absolutely. Let’s not even worry about Atlanta.

Ah, but Freddie and the boys came through in fine fashion. And the “what if” has come true. As of this writing, I haven’t heard any talk of moving the Atlanta games to, say, Colorado, or even a warmer city. (As an aside, it’s absolutely ludicrous for the “Boys of Summer” to be playing the World Series into early November, but that’s another column.)

Does playing the Fall Classic in Atlanta mean something has changed about the laws passed last Spring? I don’t think there’s been any addenda added to or subtracted from the legislation. So, is everything okay now?

On a somewhat related note, there’s a phrase used predominantly in the south that often, though not always, sounds as if someone is being praised when in reality it’s more of a subtle insult or slight rebuff. “Bless your heart” is the kind of expression employed often when you can’t really think of anything overly nice to say, but you don’t want to be rude and say what you want to. Or perhaps to soften the blow of a less than favorable remark.

An example of this might be a reference to someone’s ability to play a sport. For example, “He’s not what you’d call a natural athlete . . . bless his heart.” The phrase can definitely be used sincerely as well. After hearing about a trial and tribulation, if someone says, “Bless your heart, I’ll put you on our prayer list at church,” that’s a person who truly is concerned. But for the most part, if you hear the phrase at the end of a comment, it’s a polite way of being rather snarky. And it works in myriad situations.

With that in mind, it’s safe to say the whole of Braves country is excited and pumped up about the 2021 World Series. And the citizenry welcome with open arms all who will visit the ballpark, stay at our hotels, and patronize the shops and restaurants in town, whether rooting for our team or not. Why, I think it’s fair to say we might even look forward to seeing Commissioner Rob Manfred at a game or two . . . bless his heart.


©MMXXI. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer