For once, Georgia has a champion

Associated PressAtlanta Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario holds up the trophy after winning baseball's World Series in Game 6 against the Houston Astros Tuesday in Houston. The Braves won 7-0.

For once, the good guys won. 

A city and state that has been cursed with close calls and unfathomable collapses on sports' biggest stages can finally celebrate. We have a champion.

For once, there will be no chants of 'Wait 'til next year.' The Atlanta Braves are the World Series champions. There's no need to wait until 2022. 

Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman and Max Fried ensured the season ended Tuesday night with no plans for a potential Game 7. The team that floundered below .500 for the first half of the season shut down the best hitting team in baseball in the Houston Astros, on the heels of dethroning the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

For once, Georgia sports will not be reminded of such collapses as 28-3, second-and-26, and in the Braves' case, 3-1 in last year's NLCS. 

There was no such collapse this year. Even when this team was forced to return to Atlanta in the NLCS up 3-2 on the defending World Series champion Dodgers, the Braves responded with a Game 6-clinching victory. Even when this team couldn't end the World Series in Atlanta, the Braves returned to Houston and blanked an Astros team loaded with offensive firepower.

For once, Georgia can boast of a world champion. It wasn't always that way as we all know.

Think about the recent history Georgia sports fans have had to cope with. For me, it starts in 1991 when the Braves coughed up a 3-2 World Series lead to the Minnesota Twins. Then there's the 2-0 World Series lead that the Braves relinquished to the New York Yankees in 1996, as the Evil Empire won four straight en route to another championship.

For football fans, no one will forget the Atlanta Falcons' collapse in the Super Bowl in 2017 when they relinquished a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots, costing the Falcons a chance at their first NFL title.

Then for Georgia Bulldogs fans, who can forget second-and-26? The Alabama Crimson Tide snagged a championship away from the Dawgs in the National Championship game just a couple of years ago. 

These are the type of heartbreaks that Georgia sports fans have had to cope with, just in my lifetime. But that feels like the distant past this week with the state's celebration of the Braves' second championship in Atlanta.

For once, the best resides in Georgia. That's something all Braves fans should not take for granted. Who knows when it will happen again? With that being said, lets party like it's 1995.

Clint Thompson is a special contributor to the Valdosta Daily Times.

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