A.M. ATL: Finding hope after Acuña’s injury

Plus: André 3000, a ‘Jeopardy!’ champ and a presidential nominee
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Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Morning, y’all! Hope you enjoyed a lovely long weekend. Expect sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s today.

News-wise, we’ll meet the Georgia native who beat the best on “Jeopardy!” and the Atlantan nominated for a third-party run for president. We’ll get a glimpse at André 3000′s Atlanta Jazz Fest performance, too.

But first: A search for the silver lining in Ronald Acuña’s season-ending injury.

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A TOUGH LOSS

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Credit: Gene Puskar/AP

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Credit: Gene Puskar/AP

Tonight is Ronald Acuña Jr. bobblehead night at Truist Park.

Expect a muted celebration.

The reigning National League MVP tore his ACL in Sunday’s game, suffering a season-ending knee injury for the second time in four years. And just like us fans, the boys in the Braves clubhouse are bummed out big time.

“It’s indescribable because you saw what he did last year, and I feel like he can do even more,” outfielder Michael Harris II said before Monday’s 8-4 loss against the Nationals.

Ozzie Albies, second baseman and Acuña BFF, said he’s “broken” by his pal’s latest injury.

  • The man himself appears distraught, too. His social media message to fans after the diagnosis: “Sorry 💔😪.”

The injury is a big blow, no doubt. But let’s try to focus on the positive, shall we?

The good news: The Braves lost Acuña in similar fashion in 2021. You may recall they went on to win the World Series that year.

As the AJC’s Michael Cunningham writes, this team is much better than that one — even after losing ace pitcher Spencer Strider to injury, too. Their 30-21 record ranks among the National League’s best, and the bats haven’t really gotten going yet.

That’ll certainly help.

The outfield plan: For the foreseeable future, Adam Duvall will play right field full-time instead of platooning in left with Jarred Kelenic. Duvall was one of three mid-season acquisitions that helped lead the Braves to that 2021 title.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who have been here before, a lot of veterans,” he said. “There’s no doubt we will get going like we should.”

Albies had a similarly optimistic view on that front, even without Acuña: “All we can do is go win it all for him.”

Listen to the latest episode of the AJC’s Braves Report podcast for more reaction and analysis. Make sure to sign up for the daily newsletter, too. And try to keep your head up.

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PAYING RESPECTS

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Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

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Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

Folks like Steve Reilly, a 27-year Marine veteran, gathered Monday for Memorial Day ceremonies at Marietta National Cemetery.

  • Those with a trying new connection to the holiday include the mother of Staff Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, one of three Army reservists from Georgia killed in a drone attack in Jordan earlier this year.

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MORE TOP STORIES

» The Libertarian Party nominated Chase Oliver — an activist from Atlanta — as its candidate for president. Oliver previously ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

» Police say a dispute preceded a man being shot and killed in the parking lot of northwest Atlanta’s Trap Music Museum.

» A massive data center proposed for the Fairburn area would add 1.2 million square feet to metro Atlanta’s already healthy roster of such facilities.

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THE CHAMPS’ CHAMP

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Credit: Courtesy photo/Disney

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Credit: Courtesy photo/Disney

Victoria Groce, a 2001 UGA grad with roots in Cobb County, recently won the “Jeopardy!” Masters Tournament. She told the AJC she’s been overwhelmed emotionally — but “in a good way.” A $500,000 prize will do that.

“This is a level of financial security that I am incredibly grateful for,” Groce said.

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TRUMP ON TRIAL

Closing arguments are expected today in Donald Trump’s New York hush money trial. After that, criminal charges against a former president will rest in the hands of a jury for the first time in American history.

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THE MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the weekend strike that killed dozens of displaced Palestinians in a Rafah safe zone a “tragic mishap.” International outrage abounds.

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ANDRÉ ON STAGE

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Credit: Courtesy photo/John Stephens

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Credit: Courtesy photo/John Stephens

Legendary rapper André 3000 celebrated his 49th birthday by playing ambient flute music at the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Longtime Outkast fans were impressed.

“He’s using beautiful art to express himself in a different way,” one said. “He’s the only artist here who can swerve in another direction, and people will follow him.”

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SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS

» Georgia Tech baseball made the NCAA Tournament and will head to Athens for a regional hosted by rival Georgia. Army and UNC-Wilmington round out the field, which starts play Friday.

» Yellow Jacket golfer Hiroshi Tai, meanwhile, won the individual NCAA championship.

» Basketball legend and broadcasting star Bill Walton died after a lengthy battle with cancer. The AJC’s Mark Bradley writes that he hated the guy — until he met him.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

» Unpopular MLB umpire Ángel Hernández announces retirement

» Judge rejects Zac Brown’s restraining order against estranged wife

» Gridlock Guy: I-75 tragedy a warning for summer driving season

» MARTA to close Atlanta Five Points station entrances in July

» Rome man charged with murder after stepmother dies in house fire

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ON THIS DATE

May 28, 1987

For the first time, a quarterly report from the FAA found Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport handled the most air traffic in the world.

The data certainly provided a bit of foreshadowing, but it wasn’t until 1998 that ATL began its reign as the globe’s busiest airport.

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Credit: File photo

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Credit: File photo

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

AJC photographer Arvin Temkar recently captured some of the mementos accrued by the Colemans, a Decatur family on a mission to run a race in every Georgia county. Current tally: 101.

“We’re going on these little road trips with the set purpose of running these races, but really it’s a lot more than that,” dad John Coleman told the AJC. “We wind up exploring and seeing lots of places we never would have seen otherwise.”

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ONE MORE THING

Before we go: Ever wondered how AJC cartoonist Mike Luckovich got his start? He recently discussed his journey from selling insurance to winning Pulitzers with Politically Georgia’s Bill Nigut.

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Thanks for reading to the very bottom of A.M. ATL. Questions, comments, ideas? Contact me at tyler.estep@ajc.com.

Until next time.