Braves: At least someone appreciates Ronald Acuña Jr.’s swagger

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Following yesterday’s brutal Game 1 loss, seemingly everybody in the Braves clubhouse – from the manager to Acuña’s best friend, Ozzie Albies – had something to say regarding Acuña’s lack of hustle down the first baseline on a ball that didn’t end up making it out of the park. The Braves 21-year-old superstar was held to a single because of it, and it might have cost them a run. Coincidently, Atlanta only lost by one.

Acuña was removed from a game in mid-August for nearly an identical act. The only difference was the placement of his hits. The Braves didn’t have the luxury to do that in this one, but the whole clubhouse made it clear they were not happy with his actions. Acuña was wrong, and hopefully, the voices of his teammates will be heard, and this will not be an issue again.

Later in the game, Acuña would homer, cutting the Cardinals lead to two with three outs remaining. He admired his towering blast to left-center with an emphatic bat flip and an enthusiastic trot around the bases. Both Yadier Molina and St. Louis’ closer, Carlos Martinez, were not happy. And it turns out, neither was his manager Brian Snitker. He told reporters before today’s Game 2, “I was bothered by that.”

I’m all for the Braves getting onto Acuña about not running out flyballs that aren’t ten rows into the seats. It’s the postseason, and even the most prominent stars need to be held accountable – every little thing matters. The players and Brian Snitker are handling it the right way by calling him out publicly this time. I imagine Snitker is much more bothered that his bat flip and slow trot around the bases took place following the at-bat in which Acuña didn’t hustle. As the manager, he probably would like to have seen Acuña sprint around the bases to make a point, and that’s understandable. But to Molina and Martinez – kick rocks.

If you don’t want to be celebrated on, then don’t give up 450-foot dingers in the ninth inning of a postseason game. Of course, there is going to be emotion, as there should be. That is what baseball is trying to bring back to the game. Oh, and let’s not act like Molina and Martinez aren’t two of the most passionate players around today. Here’s Martinez with the staredown of Dansby Swanson and moonwalk off the mound in the inning before!

At least somebody respects the way Acuña plays the game. Amir Garrett took to Twitter to show Ronald some love today following all the controversy from last night. You’ll remember Garrett from the time Acuña took him deep to the opposite field in the ninth inning against the Reds, tying the game at three.

Here is what he had to say:

So enough with the respect crap. Besides, it’s the playoffs; we don’t have to like each other. Games are played better with an edge, and I have a feeling this could be a wild series between two very well-matched ball clubs. We will see how much tension there is in Game 2 tonight.

Acuña Matata Cool-Dri T-Shirt


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