I’ve probably said it a million times, but there’s a reason predictive analytic systems can never put their finger on the Braves. Those robots fail to measure heart, and they can’t place a value on how vital a tight-knit clubhouse is throughout a 162-game grind.
Year after year, they project Atlanta to hover between 80-90 wins and usually finish anywhere from second to fourth place in the NL East. But as we all know, the Braves are now owners of four straight division crowns, and frankly, it hasn’t been close in any of those seasons. Because of a plethora of misfortunes, this year was the most competitive of the last four, and Atlanta still finished 6.5 games ahead of the Phillies for first place. These Braves genuinely care for each other. They love to see their teammates succeed. We’ve heard it from several players over the last four seasons, and Charlie Morton is the latest to echo that sentiment following the Braves’ second consecutive walk-off victory to begin the NLCS.
Via David O’Brien of The Athletic, Morton said, “I think at the core of success, as a team, guys just have to care about each other, and I think this group does. I think this group cares a lot about each other. And I know just watching, especially the past two nights how the guys have really embodied that — excited for each other, encouraging each other, screaming at each other in a positive way, and just genuinely happy for teammates, to see teammates succeed. I think that’s what you’re seeing.”
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) October 19, 2021
Morton also talks about how he has been rooting for many of the other guys organically because they’re just “good dudes.” Those are some pretty powerful words coming from a guy who’s been around the block a few times. Morton has won a World Series and went to another just last year with the Rays.
At this point, I don’t think there’s any debate. The Braves have a clubhouse advantage over their entire division and most other teams in baseball. However, this might be their tightest group to date. Considering all they’ve had to endure throughout this season and the fact that they’re still just two wins away from the World Series, it’s almost unfathomable.
But you can see the same thing happening on the other side of the bracket. Nobody thought the Red Sox were going to be able to compete in the AL East, but they snuck in through the Wild Card, and now they are just two wins from a World Series berth as well. That’s why baseball is so special. It’s about way more than just talent. Because the mental aspect is so excruciating, sometimes it just feels good to have a group of guys around you that have your back in every possible situation.
Thanks for reading about the value of the Braves clubhouse. If you liked this article, make sure to check out Chase Irle’s latest article on why this year’s 2-0 lead in the NLCS is different.