Confetti falls from the sky following the Braves’ World Series celebration at Trust Park. (Michael Mariam/Sports Editor)

Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 will be a day that is cemented in the minds of Braves fans and the city of Atlanta forever. Following Tuesday’s World Series victory in six games over the defending champion Houston Astros, the team paraded through the city and into The Battery where Truist Park, the Braves’ home stadium, is located.

After 26 years without a World Series title, Braves fans were desperate for another celebration. With mounting anticipation in the days leading to the parade, s districts in Dekalb, Cobb and Fulton counties cancelled class on Friday so students could watch their team parade through the city. Many Atlanta businesses closed for the day as well. 

The hype met expectations for those at The Battery, but was a let down for some who felt the parade through the heart of the city was too fast. 

For many, partying started before the sun rose. Fans packed the plaza and bars at The Battery and by 10 a.m., the lines for the team store and entry to the park were wrapped around the block. Streets downtown were closed off early in the morning so fans could line the parade route.

The parade started in Midtown at noon and traveled north up Peachtree Street. Players were either on top of double-decker buses or sitting on the back of pickup trucks so fans could see them. Fan-favorite outfielder Joc Pederson tossed out pearl necklaces to fans as the beads became a good luck charm for the team and part of his identity. Fans threw beers at the players for them to chug, nearly knocking the Commissioner’s Trophy out of the players’ hands.

Braves players hype up fans along the parade route from the top of the parade buses. (Jenna Daly/Contributing Writer)

For some players, being in the vehicle was too far away from being with the fans. Relief pitcher Tyler Matzek got off the bus and high-fived fans along the street. At one point, Atlanta police tried to arrest him because they thought he wasn’t a player. After some confusion, Matzek was able to continue partying with the fans. 

The downtown parade flew through the streets before the buses headed up into Cobb County for the second leg of the parade. The buses at times were going nearly 25 mph through the streets, giving fans only a glimpse of the team. In 2017, the Braves moved from Turner Field in downtown Atlanta to Truist Park up in Cobb County. The fast driving buses were met with anger by some fans who felt the team was not taking its time to pay homage to the city of Atlanta.

After the buses exited I-75 by The Battery, the parade continued on Cobb Parkway. Fans greeted the players as they eventually reached the ballpark where a ceremony and concert took place alongside their World Series trophy. 

Each player and coach was individually introduced as they walked from center field towards the makeshift stage constructed at second base. Pitcher Charlie Morton, who fractured his fibula in Game 1 of the series, was greeted with rounds of applause as he crutched his way up to the stage. 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks at the Braves’ celebration. (Michael Mariam/Sports Editor)

Speakers at the celebration included team executives and players who thanked the fans for their support. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also took the stage, although she was met with boo’s from the crowd who criticized her support for the MLB’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta following a restrictive state voting law that passed earlier this year. 

Hank Aaron’s widow Billye Aaron also took the stage to honor the team where she was met with a standing ovation from the crowd. Braves legend Hank Aaron passed away this past January at the age of 87. With Aaron’s No. 44 etched into the outfield grass all season long, the Braves were thinking about his legacy all season long. Prior to the All-Star break, the Braves won 44 games and after the All-Star break also won exactly 44 games. Their World Series victory also happened to be on the 44th week of the year.

“The spirit of Hank Aaron pervades the space,” Billye Aaron said. “He is here with us. He loved the Atlanta Braves and I am so very, very happy to see these young men who have picked up the mantle and who have carried it on.”

Freddie Freeman lifts up the Commissioner’s Trophy as confetti fell from the sky. (Michael Mariam/Sports Editor)

Following manager Brian Snitker’s remarks, the first Braves player to speak to the fans was first baseman and the longest-tenured player on the team Freddie Freeman. Freeman won his first World Series after 15 years with the team and thanked the fans for supporting the ball club during the  roughest points of the season. 

“It’s not [the players]… We did it, because [the fans] are the reason we’re standing on this stage,” Freeman said.

Freeman’s contract expired after the season ended, meaning there’s a chance he’s no longer an Atlanta Brave. Fans chanted “resign Freddie” all afternoon, and while they are not supposed to talk about other players’ contracts, some of his teammates joined in as well.

“It might get me in trouble, but resign Freddie,” shortstop Dansby Swanson said right before he dropped the microphone on stage.

Starting pitcher Max Fried, catcher Travis d’Arnaud and second baseman Ozzie Albies each emphasized Swanson’s message to resign arguably the team’s most valuable player. 

The most memorable quote of the day came from Pederson, who held a lit cigar in his hands at all times. 

“Guess what? We are those motherf—–s,” Pederson said.

Braves players pose in front of the Commissioner’s Trophy for photos. (Michael Mariam/Sports Editor)

Dansby Swanson and teammates jump around as confetti falls from the sky. (Michael Mariam/Sports Editor)

 

Before exiting the stage, red, white and blue confetti was shot up into the air which spurred the players to dance and celebrate. Many including Freeman hoisted the trophy one more time as the confetti fell from the sky.

Following the players’ ceremony, the party continued for close to an hour as Atlanta rappers Ludacris and Big Boi performed for the sold out crowd of 40,000. Zac Brown and Killer Mike also made surprise appearances before Queen’s infamous song “We Are The Champions
played through the stadium’s speakers.

The Braves finally broke the curse and were able to party again like it was 1995, the last time they won the World Series.

Zac Brown performs on stage in front of a sold out Truist Park. (Michael Mariam/Sports Editor)