Atlanta Braves win the World Series after dominating the Houston Astros in Game 6
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
The Atlanta Braves are the World Series champions for the first time since 1995. They shut out the Houston Astros last night 7 to nothing and therefore won the Championship 4 games to 2 in Houston. We do have a bit of a content advisory now for Houston Astros fans. The next three minutes or so belong to a Braves fan, Emil Moffatt of member station WABE, who's on the line. Good morning, Emil.
EMIL MOFFATT, BYLINE: Morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: And of course, you'll be telling this story straight. You're a journalist. You can overcome your personal biases. But nevertheless, you were one of the Braves fans in the stadium watching on a Jumbotron in Atlanta. Is that right?
MOFFATT: That's right. It was a big party. There were fans in the stands. There were some sitting on the outfield grass, just watching the game from Houston, and it was pretty much all Braves last night, as you mentioned. And Atlanta sports fans really breathed a huge sigh of relief with the win. The Braves went to all those World Series, you may recall, in the 1990s, but only came away with one title, and they hadn't won one since then. And that's what made this championship special for season ticket holder Jay Brown.
JAY BROWN: I guess, you know, it'll break the stigma of our city as being a city where championships - the potential of championships go to die.
MOFFATT: And the Braves were really not the favorites in this series and the playoffs, especially, because they played mediocre baseball for much of the season. And Kendall Xides admitted she lost hope at certain points of this season.
KENDALL XIDES: Oh my gosh, of course. I mean, we weren't ever getting above 500, and all the injuries - so it's been a miracle but well-deserved.
MOFFATT: Well, how did that miracle happen, Emil, because if I think about the Atlanta Braves this year, compared to those teams of the '90s, they didn't have a ton of stars? Nobody expected them to win the World Series. They didn't start out, as you said, bound for the World Series. How did it happen?
MOFFATT: Yeah, they didn't have a winning record until early August, but then they end up winning their division. They beat the Brewers and the Dodgers to make it to the World Series. And the key was some really important midseason trades to really rebuild their outfield, including the World Series MVP Jorge Soler. And their relief pitching was really a strong point for the team in the playoffs.
INSKEEP: Isn't there inevitably some politics behind this particular World Series because of the teams that were involved, because of the locations, because of a particular team name?
MOFFATT: Yes, of course. The Houston Astros were trying to redeem themselves in this World Series after that sign-stealing scandal that tainted their 2017 World Series title. That led to the firing of the GM and the manager, but several star players were still with the team on this year's club. And Atlanta, of course, has its own issues. The Braves have been under pressure for decades to change the team name and stop the tomahawk chop, which came back into the spotlight on TV and at games this year. And the team has done outreach to a tribal community in the region, scaled back some of the use of Native American imagery, but has resisted calls to do more. And of course, you'll remember Major League Baseball took the All-Star Game away from Atlanta to protest the state's new restrictive voting law.
MOFFATT: And on top of that, the team's most famous player, slugger Hank Aaron, died back in January at the age of 86. So they kind of won this title for him.
INSKEEP: OK, Emil, thanks so much - really appreciate it.
MOFFATT: You bet, Steve.
INSKEEP: Emil Moffatt of member station WABE in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves are the World Series champions. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.