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'Thankful I made the trip' - Gainesville fans watch Braves clinch in person
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Jerry Hill, left, and Ty Talley, right, attend Game 6 of the 2021 World Series in Houston. (photo courtesy of Jerry Hill)

Ty Talley made a spur of the moment decision on Monday, Nov. 1, that led him and friend Jerry Hill to witness Atlanta Braves history.

Gainesville’s Talley said his daughter and her husband attended Game 5 Sunday, Oct. 31, between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, hoping that the team would close out the championship on their home field.

The morning after the Astros’ 9-5 win, he started to think about making the trip more than 800 miles away to Houston for Game 6 Tuesday, Nov. 2.

“I asked my wife, and she said I could only go if I got a friend to go with me,” Talley said.

Talley and Hill got the trip planned Monday afternoon and flew Tuesday, ending up in Minute Maid Park in the upper deck directly behind home plate. Talley estimated that there were a couple thousand other Braves fans in the stadium with him.

Jorge Soler, Freddie Freeman and the Braves breezed to their first World Series championship since 1995, hammering the Astros 7-0 on Tuesday night in Game 6. Max Fried threw six dominant innings in a signature pitching performance to close it out.

"We hit every pothole, every bump you could possibly hit this year," Freeman said. "Injuries, every single kind of thing that could happen, that could go wrong went wrong, and we overcame every single one of those things."

Soler tapped his heart twice before beginning his home run trot after connecting off rookie Luis Garcia in the third inning, sending the ball flying completely out of Minute Maid Park.

Soler was named the MVP. Talley called the homer “surreal.”

“That really took the life out of the crowd, and then the Dansby Swanson two-run homer really put a dagger in their heart,” Talley said. “It was great to see Freddie (Freeman) take a leisurely lap around the bases.”

As a Braves fan, Talley could never be sure of victory until the final out.

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The Atlanta Braves celebrate after winning baseball's World Series in Game 6 against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Houston. The Braves won 7-0. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

He had been to the World Series in 1992, 1995 and 1999, but was unable to attend until Tuesday a series-clinching win for his team.

Talley attended Game 1 of the 1995 World Series and had tickets for Game 7, but the Braves closed out the series in six games over the Cleveland Indians.

“I’m certainly thankful I made the trip and got to take part in the experience,” Talley said.

When Yuli Gurriel grounded out to end it, Freeman caught the throw at first base, put the ball in his pocket, and the party was on for manager Brian Snitker's club.

A full hour after the game, hundreds of Braves fans packed behind the team's third base dugout kept doing the chop and chant, causing loud echoes to bounce around the ballpark.

About 700 miles away at suburban Truist Park, thousands of fans poured into the Braves' home to holler.

The Braves were a mere afterthought in the summer heat among the land of the Giants, White Sox and Dodgers, but magnificent in the Fall Classic.

"This is the toughest team I've ever been a part of," said shortstop Swanson.

By the end, nothing could stop them. Not a broken leg sustained by starter Charlie Morton in the World Series opener. Not a big blown lead in Game 5.

Steadied by the 66-year-old Snitker, an organization man for four decades, the underdog Braves won the franchise's fourth title.

"They never gave up on themselves," he said on a postgame victory platform. "We lost a lot of pieces over the course of the summer and it was just the next man up."

General manager Alex Anthopoulos, the architect of the Braves' midseason turnaround, missed this crowning achievement after testing positive for COVID-19. He was back home for the clincher.

The title was also a tribute to the greatest Braves player of them all. Hank Aaron died Jan. 22 at 86, still pulling for his old team, and The Hammer's legacy was stamped all over this Series.

"Nobody ever wanted to let Hank down," Snitker said. "That's just the way it was." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.