Braves World Series parade draws crowds

The infielders’ bus was rowdy as it drove through Midtown. Albies, Swanson and others were jubilant as they cruised through the crowds gathered to cheer the champions. // Alex Dubé Student Publications

The city of Atlanta saw its first sports parade since December 2018 on Friday, Nov. 5. The Atlanta Braves took off from the Peachtree and Marietta intersection at noon, making their way up to Peachtree and 10th, where they loaded onto buses that took the team to Truist Park at The Battery, where the second portion of the parade took place.

In the area surrounding the start of the parade, the crowds were already five to eight people deep an hour before the start. Signs that said “Battle Won” were placed at storefronts for fans to grab and wave as the buses drove by. Vendors had the special edition of the AJC from the morning after the game six win along with noise makers and all sorts of fan created merchandise.

The parade itself included all of the current Braves players and coaching staff. Manager Brian Snitker and players Freddie Freeman, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Charlie Morton all rode in their own white trucks with their families at the head of the parade. The rest of the team were divided among other open-top buses based on their fielding positions.

Joc Pederson, in the outfielders bus, spent the parade throwing pearl necklaces to parade goers. Most of the team smoked cigars throughout the parade. Fans attempted to throw beers at the players for them to drink. Video of Dansby Swanson catching a can is on the internet, along with A.J. Minter making a spectacular grab over the rail of the bus.

The only notable absence from the parade was Braves GM Alex Anthopolous, who tested positive for COVID-19. He was present at the celebration in Truist Park in his own open-air suite with his family.

Many noted in person and online after the Atlanta portion of the parade went by much faster than people expected. This was in part because the Atlanta Police Department did not have enough cars and officers to spare for the kind of crowd control necessary if the parade went at the expected crawl.

Cars from the Cherokee County Police Department and other counties were present to help. Students from the Institute were still walking towards the parade route after it had ended and headed to Truist Park.

At The Battery, the crowds were far denser than on Peachtree considering how much less road there was. Relief pitcher Tyler Matzek nearly got arrested while running off the bus during the Cobb portion of the parade since an officer mistook him for a random fan. Once the parade arrived at Truist Park, the entire team was introduced one by one as they walked on a red carpet starting in dead center field to a stage placed behind second base.

Braves radio color commentator, Joe Simpson, emceed the celebration on stage. Braves chairman Terry McGuirk and other front office members spoke. The spoken portion was highlighted by a speech from Billye Aaron, the wife of the late-great Hank Aaron, whose number 44 was present in the center field grass during the entire 2021 season.

Many players spoke after that for short stints. Joc Pederson’s short speech was an edited version of his now famous statement in The Players Tribune, saying, “Guess what? We are those mothers!”

Dansby Swanson was the first of multiple players to note the Braves should re-sign Freddie Freeman, saying “it might get me in trouble, but re-sign Freddie.”

Travis d’Arnaud echoed his statement. Dansby also wore an Outkast themed Braves jersey that read “ATLiens” on the front instead of the usual home jersey. Jesse Chavez wore the 1974 throwback jersey worn during the entire first homestand of the season in honor of Hank Aaron.

Big Boi and Ludacris headlined a concert on stage after the team took a picture with the Commissioner’s Trophy behind the large 44 in center field, capping off Atlanta’s celebration.