Those sullen times dissolved into a distant blur. Could this be real? Were we hallucinating, or was this parade down Peachtree actually in celebration of a World Series that didn’t get away?
They had conquered all, swept the season championship by 21 games, reeled through Colorado and Cincinnati like a destructive storm, then choked down the Indians with pitching.
There had been some presumptuous speculation in the spring, when Marquis Grissom was brought home, that this might be one of those teams to be compared with the finest in major league history, usually measured by the 1927 Yankees or 1930 Athletics. Whatever their caliber, the Braves brought the city its finest moment in professional history, dotted with occasional minor league successes of the old Atlanta Crackers.
So brilliant was Tom Glavine in the game that cinched it that Greg Maddux’s brilliance in Game 1 was lost in the afterglow. David Justice supplied the only run needed when he sent a shot over the right field fence that sealed his peace with fans whose feathers he had ruffled.
Now they paraded. They had achieved the crest. They were the champions of all they surveyed and Atlanta ascended along with them. This was a moment to be framed forever in one’s mental scrapbook. As slow as fans had been to take them back to the bosom, when they made the turn into September and the race became a jaunt, the romance was renewed.
So now they cheer the Braves, World Champions of baseball. Roll that around in your mind for a moment. What an easy and delectable phrase. They stand proud and the city stands proud alongside — happy and aglow.