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Trump joins Braves fans in tomahawk chop at World Series

The former president mixes in a little politics, too, and thanks Major League Baseball for the invite, though it says he requested to attend.
Former President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, join Braves fans in performing the tomahawk chop before World Series Game 4 on Saturday night in Atlanta.
Former President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, join Braves fans in performing the tomahawk chop before World Series Game 4 on Saturday night in Atlanta. [ DAVID J. PHILLIP | AP ]
Published Oct. 31, 2021

ATLANTA — Months after calling for a boycott of Major League Baseball, former President Donald Trump did the tomahawk chop with Braves fans Saturday night at the World Series.

Trump stood beside his wife, Melania, in a private suite as he chopped along with fans before Game 4 against the Astros.

Trump was joined by political allies, including U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

Trump released a statement in a mass email to supporters about his planned Series appearance: “Looking forward to being at the World Series in Atlanta tonight. Thank you to the Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred, and Randy Levine of the New York Yankees, for the invite. Melania and I are looking forward to a wonderful evening watching two great teams!”

MLB denied making the invitation and said in a statement, “He requested to attend the game.” Levine is the Yankees president.

The visit to Truist Park provided Trump an opportunity to be seen with Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner out of Georgia and former NFL running back. Walker also played for the USFL’s New Jersey Generals (1983-85), who were owned by Trump. The two men have maintained a relationship, and Trump has encouraged Walker to run for Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Walker on Wednesday. Walker is seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Trump encouraged a boycott of MLB games after Manfred announced in April that the All-Star Game was being moved out of Atlanta due to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law. President Joe Biden supported moving the game, though some Braves fans and businesses near Truist Park complained they were being unfairly punished.

While in office, Trump attended the 2019 World Series in Washington between the Nationals and Astros. He was booed when he sat in the stands during Game 5 at Nationals Park.

Trump was not shown on the Truist Park video board before the game.

Greinke does his part

Zack Greinke didn’t get a decision in Atlanta’s 3-2 victory in Game 4, but he was nonetheless impressive as Houston’s starter, giving up no runs and four hits, with no walks and three strikeouts in four innings.

The 38-year-old Greinke, the active leader in the majors with 488 career starts and 219 victories, did not allow the Braves to get a runner in scoring position. He gave up a single in each inning and avoided further trouble.

A career .225 hitter, Greinke even singled in the second inning — possibly his last hit, with the National League potentially adopting the DH next season.

In the first inning, the right-hander struck out Ozzie Albies and got Austin Riley to fly out. He retired Dansby Swanson on a lineout in the second and coaxed Freddie Freeman and Joc Pederson to ground into double plays in the third and fourth.

Greinke battled injuries and spent some time on the injured list with COVID-19 as the regular season was winding down. He lasted just 1⅓ innings after allowing two runs, one hit and three walks before the Astros rallied to win 9-2 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Oct. 19 in Boston.

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Greinke was pitching in the Fall Classic for the first time since Game 7 of 2019, when he held Washington to one hit over his first 6⅓ innings before Anthony Rendon homered and Juan Soto walked. Greinke was pulled from the game, and the Nationals went on to win and take the title.

Saving the ’pen

Kyle Wright came up big for Atlanta, pitching 4⅔ innings of relief that included one run and five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Wright, the No. 5 overall draft pick out of Vanderbilt in 2017, entered in a tough situation as Braves opener Dylan Lee had loaded the bases in the first and lasted just one-third of an inning.

Enter Wright, who retired Carlos Correa on an RBI groundout and struck out Tampa’s Kyle Tucker to strand runners on second and third. Critically, he lasted long enough to save the Braves relievers from getting overworked with another bullpen effort looming for Game 5 on Sunday night.

Wright spent almost the entire season at Triple-A Gwinnett, going 10-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 24 starts. His two starts with Atlanta didn’t go well, as the right-hander went 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA. He began the night with a 2-8 record and a 6.56 ERA in 14 starts and seven relief appearances in his career with Atlanta.

The Braves added Wright to the World Series roster to replace Jacob Webb. He pitched one inning in a Game 2 loss in Houston.

Jose Altuve homered off Wright in the fourth to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

Happy returns

Looking back at the start of 2021, Braves centerfielder Adam Duvall says he “never thought in a million years” he would be back with Atlanta this season and playing in the World Series.

Duvall, the National League RBI leader this year, was a key cog in the Braves’ run to the Championship Series last season but was allowed to leave for Miami on a $5 million, one-year contract as a free agent. He returned to Atlanta on July 30 in a trade for backup catcher Alex Jackson.

“I was sitting on the couch, 12:30 on the trade deadline and got the call,” he said Saturday. “Next thing you know, I was back here. You just never know what the future holds.”

Duvall joined Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario in an outfield that general manager Alex Anthopoulos had begun replenishing nine days earlier with the trade for Joc Pederson after star outfielder Ronald Acuna tore his ACL. The foursome has been pivotal in stabilizing the Braves’ lineup, hitting a combined .285 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 158 at-bats this postseason.

“The group of guys that they brought in are unbelievable — unbelievable guys, unbelievable teammates,” Duvall said. “Then walking back into the clubhouse, obviously, I was familiar with everything, but the guys here did an unbelievable job of just bringing them in, trying to get them settled as quickly as possible so that they can be comfortable and make a difference.

“That shows. That shows what type of locker room we came into, and it’s awesome to be a part of this team.”

Duvall, whose 38 homers ranked second in the NL, hit .226 with 16 homers and 45 RBIs in 55 games with Atlanta this year.

Uncertain future

Astros All-Star shortstop Correa wants to stay in the present and not speculate where he might be playing next season.

Correa is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the World Series ends. The 26-year-old star, in his seventh year with Houston, said before Game 4 that he’s “living in the now” and not worried about where he will be playing next season.

“It’s really special to be here once again with this group of guys,” Correa said. “Like I said before, I don’t take any single second of this year for granted. It’s just special to share the locker room with that group of guys that we have in there. They show up every single day ready to work. They show up every day, and they work like champions. We’re here four wins away to become world champions once again.

“We want to go out there, make it special, and hopefully win it all.”

Correa is one of five Astros named as Gold Glove finalists. Pitcher Greinke, catcher Martin Maldonado, first baseman Yuli Gurriel and outfielder Tucker are the others.

Sweet dreams

Braves manager Brian Snitker said he was protecting Lee’s sleep when he waited until a few hours before Game 4 to inform the left-hander he would start.

Lee, 27, made only two regular-season appearances, both in relief. His last start came on July 23, 2017, for Class-A Greensboro.

Snitker said he knew if he announced the plan on Friday night, Lee would be bombarded with texts and phone calls.

“I didn’t tell him until this afternoon, just for his sake, I think, as much as anything, for what he would have encountered,” Snitker said. “He probably wouldn’t have gotten any sleep because people have been texting him and his phone would have been going off all night.”

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