One of the most fascinating parts about professional baseball is how many moving parts there are. When a team wins a World Series, like the Braves did last season, the heroes of the run—Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, Joc Pederson, Tyler Matzek, etc.—will be remembered forever. Brian Snitker will go down in Braves history for being the manager to finally get the team over the hump. Most fans will even recall the memorable faces of Ron Washington and Walt Weiss years down the road. However, there are so many more pieces to a championship run that will never get acknowledged by the public.
For a team to win a World Series or even make it to one, the entire organization—as Joc Pederson would say—has to be pulling on the same rope. They all must have the same vision, and they all play a critical role in developing the guys we get to see play throughout the season. Without good scouting, talent never arrives, and without good coaches, talent never develops. The Braves have it all, which is why they are World Series champions.
One of those unsung heroes you’ve probably never heard of—I know I haven’t—is Mike Brumley, who has been the Braves minor-league hitting coordinator since 2018. Several players have had success coming up through the minors since then. Most notably, Austin Riley credited Brumley for his improvements that ultimately led to his breakout season in 2021. However, over there weekend, Brumley and the Braves parted ways, reportedly because of his vaccination status.
Mike Brumley has left the #Braves organization. He was the minor league hitting coordinator and the coach whom Austin Riley often credited most for his big improvement and for his swing maintenance. Am told Brumley declined to get vaccinated, as required to continue in that role.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 6, 2022
It’s disappointing that vaccination status is still a topic that’s being discussed, but I understand the situation from both sides. Brumley shouldn’t be forced to be vaccinated, but professional sports organizations must take all the precautions available to avoid an outbreak. We’ll keep you updated when it’s made public how the Braves address the position.