9:02 PM ET
ATLANTA — The defending World Series champions officially have a new banner.
Exactly 156 days after the Atlanta Braves won last season’s World Series, they showed off a new year on their lengthy collection of red, white and blue pennants Thursday night.
The pennants are attached to a light post beyond Truist Park’s right-field wall. The four red ones denote each of the Braves’ World Series wins in franchise history, dating back to their time in Boston.
Thursday’s banner unveiling was part of a half-hour ceremony before first pitch of Atlanta’s season opener against the Cincinnati Reds. During it, a black sheet was removed from the light post, uncovering a red pennant with the year “2021” painted on it. As fireworks went off in the early-evening Georgia sky, a near-capacity crowd roared its approval.
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“I was telling one of the guys, it’s probably going to be a lot like the World Series was,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said earlier in the day, referring to how loud he expected fans to be before the game.
Just after the banner was revealed, two members of the Braves’ 1995 World Series winning team — the franchise’s previous champion — were welcomed onto the field. Before the first player’s name was announced, the first few notes of his old walk-up music, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” brought vociferous cheers.
After Chipper Jones walked to the pitcher’s mound amid the applause, he threw the game’s ceremonial first pitch to former Braves pitcher Greg McMichael. Positioned on a podium in the infield grass just behind Jones was the trophy from last fall’s World Series win.
Moments later, the Braves and Reds were introduced. Braves starters entered the field from the dugout, jogging on a red carpet on their way to teammates waiting along the first-base line.
As has also become custom for defending championship teams in recent season openers, each Braves player sported white home uniforms which had gold piping around the letters and numbers. Even the “A” on the Braves’ helmets was painted gold in recognition of last season’s accomplishment.
“I want them to enjoy everything about this,” Snitker said. “You’re never guaranteed that you’re going to be able to experience this again, so enjoy every second of it.”
Source: ESPN MLB