Jul. 16—VALDOSTA — The Atlanta Braves 2021 World Series trophy made its way to Titletown Saturday.
Local Braves fans lined up in droves outside of Georgia Beer Company to get their picture taken with the World Series Trophy from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mayor of Valdosta Scott James Matheson greeted several fans outside and had conversations with people inside the establishment during the event.
Matheson, who predicts the Braves will return to the World Series this year, was one of the first to get a picture with the trophy Saturday.
"Same as me — they're all excited and they're just here for fun," Matheson said of the large turnout. "Georgia Beer is fun enough, but Georgia Beer and a trophy is twice as fun.
"It was just pure fun. It really was. To stand up there — they actually placed the ring on me and then I held up the hat and they took the picture. I just smiled. It's just pure fun. We'd waited since '95 for this, so you're not going to miss a chance to celebrate on the trophy tour in our state."
While the trophy itself was the reason for the occasion, Matheson admits he was more enthralled with the sprawling line of eager Valdostans outside.
"I was more impressed with the line outside all the way over to the fire department," Matheson said with a laugh. "The trophy's nice and shiny and I'll cherish that picture, but that line and the interest is what thrilled me."
In addition to Matheson, Saturday's Trophy Tour also saw Valdosta State University President Dr. Richard A Carvajal in attendance. Like Matheson, Carvajal spent much of the morning greeting people at the event and chatting with many of the fans passing through the venue.
"It's pretty incredible considering the fact it's not something you see up close and personal on a regular basis," VSU Vice President of Student Affairs Vince Miller said after getting a picture with the trophy. "To be able to see it and know what that means for the state of Georgia and the Braves' fanbase to know that was a championship opportunity that they won and they're sharing it with our community is pretty awesome."
Braves fans Wanda and Kyle McQuitty gleefully walked up and got their time with the World Series Trophy.
"It was neat," McQuitty said of seeing the trophy up close. "It's not as big as I thought it was going to be. I was thinking it would be like the Stanley Cup."
Kyle joked, "Compared to the rings, that's a little bit of a letdown. I think the rings are bigger."
The couple also reflected on their immediate reaction to the Braves' 7-0 win over the Dodgers last November.
"The house went crazy," Kyle said, recalling the Braves recording the final out. "We made a mess throwing things on the floor.We followed them all year and it was just good to watch them before the All-Star break barely getting to .500 then after the All-Star break, just hitting the gas, keeping it going and making it to the playoffs and pushing their way through. They had a lot of injuries and a lot of new people and it just jelled together. It was just a great year."
Wanda added: "It really showed that they're America's team — to me anyway."
Shane Thomas is the sports editor at the Valdosta Daily Times.