Snitkers enjoy family moment before World Series Game 3

Sports

ATLANTA (AP)Braves manager Brian Snitker usually sends bench coach Walt Weiss out with the lineup card to the umpires at home plate, but he wanted to do it himself before his team beat Houston 2-0 to win the first World Series game in Atlanta since 1999.

What Snitker didn’t know was that Astros manager Dusty Baker saw him coming out of the Braves’ dugout and decided to send Snitker’s son, Troy, with Houston’s lineup. Troy Snitker is the Astros’ co-hitting coach.

”I loved that,” Brian Snitker told The Associated Press. ”I didn’t even realize Troy was going to do it. Because it was the first World Series game, I was like, `I’m going to take it out.’

”I waved to Dusty twice to thank him for allowing Troy to do that. That was really classy of Dusty to allow us to have that moment, and I’ll be forever indebted for allowing our family to experience that. I’m not surprised. He’s a class act.”

The Snitkers turned and posed for a picture at home plate with the umpires.

”Even the umpires were like, `That was really cool,”’ Brian said.

Brian Snitker, 66, was a minor-league manager in the Braves’ farm system for 15 years before working as Atlanta’s third base coach from 2007-2013. He was the manager of the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves from 2013 until becoming the big league club’s interim manager when Fredi Gonzalez was fired in May 2016.

Brian got the job full time in 2017 and has led the Braves to the postseason in each of the last four seasons.

Troy Snitker was a 19th-round draft pick by the Braves in 2011 and used to tag along with his dad for offseason workouts at Turner Field. He stopped playing in 2013, became a college coach, and was hired to be the hitting coach for Double-A Corpus Christi in Houston’s system in 2018. He spent just one season there before moving on to work for Houston’s major league club.

THANKS FOR THE LUMBER

Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud said he’s been using teammate Joc Pederson’s bat, and it’s helped him stay hot in the World Series. D’Arnaud doubled and homered in Game 3 for the second straight game. He’s batting .417 in the Fall Classic.

”I’m going to keep using it, that’s for sure,” d’Arnaud said. ”I picked it up, and I said, `Joc, this feels pretty good.’ He said, ‘It’s yours, big guy.’ I said, `All right, I’m going to use it.’ Yeah, I’m going to keep using it.”

Does he attribute the success to anything else? How about doughnuts?

D’Arnaud said he started his day by getting a big box full of doughnuts for his family.

”We got 15 doughnuts,” d’Arnaud said. ”We got a bunch of chocolate bars, chocolate twists, cinnamon twists, cinnamon rolls, apple fritter, a lot of doughnut holes. Yeah, it was good, too. It was good.”

FREEMAN WANTS TO STAY PUT

Braves star Freddie Freeman has made it clear he wants to complete his career in Atlanta. So naturally, he’s tried to avoid thoughts that he could be facing his final three home games with the team.

Freeman is a pending unrestricted free agent. The 32-year-old first baseman led the Braves into Game 3 of the World Series at Truist Park with the Braves and Houston Astros tied at one game each.

”I haven’t envisioned playing anywhere else because I haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Freeman said before Friday night’s game. ”I’ve put on this uniform since 2007. I got to put on a Braves uniform with the Gulf Coast League team. It’s all I’ve ever known.”

Though it may not be the best negotiating tactic, Freeman has never been reluctant to state his preference.

”I think everyone in this room knows I want to stay here,” he said.

The idea of not having Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP, in the 2022 lineup is not something Braves manager Brian Snitker enjoys contemplating.

”He means a lot to this franchise, to me personally, to our organization, to that clubhouse, our team,” Snitker said. ”There isn’t a way to quantify it. Just what he brings is so important. … Would I love to have him back? Absolutely. I think everybody in that room would love to have him back, but I also know this is a business and things happen.”

NUMBERS GAME

Astros reliever Phil Maton realizes his number makes him look more like an NFL receiver than a major league pitcher — 88 isn’t for everyone.

Maton has worn the number with San Diego, Cleveland and Houston. He was acquired in late July from Cleveland with a minor leaguer for outfielder Myles Straw in a trade that wasn’t initially popular with Astros fans.

Houston fans like the deal now, especially since the 28-year-old righty has pitched nine times in this postseason, permitting only one run in 8 1/3 innings.

Maton said his unusual 88 serves him well.

”That was the number I was given in my first big league spring training. I don’t know, I was a 20th rounder, didn’t get a lot of attention,” he said before Game 3 Friday night.

”So I feel like the number kind of fits me, corner of the locker room, the prospects get all of the good numbers. So kind of like the underdog thing with being 88. It’s not a sexy number, so I don’t know, I like it,” he said.

REMEMBERING AARON

Brian Snitker nearly got emotional as he discussed hugging Billye Aaron, the widow of legendary Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, after the Braves had a pregame ceremony honoring her late husband who passed away on Jan. 22.

”I got to hug Billye,” Snitker said before pausing to hold back his emotions, ”and tell her how much I miss Hank.”

WE HAVE A WHAT?

Atlanta reliever Tyler Matzek said A.J. Minter, who pitched the sixth, and Luke Jackson, who pitched the seventh, had no idea that starter Ian Anderson allowed no hits in five innings.

”After I got done with my inning, they said, ‘Did you know you gave up the first hit?” Matzek said with a smile. ”Yeah, I did know. I paid attention. Like, oh, we just wanted to come in and get outs. So our job stays the same. Go out and get the three outs you’re assigned, get off the field, and let the next guy come in and do his job.

”So we’re just focused on doing that, and I mean, it worked out.”

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