High Hopes In Atlanta
By Charlotte Wilder
Dansby Swanson was not supposed to be sitting at home on a Sunday in July, conducting a Zoom interview with me before heading to practice for a season that hasn’t started.
But “shoulds” have been abandoned in 2020. Even though we’d normally be past the All-Star break by now, this weekend will be the most anticipated Opening Day ... ever. Which is why Swanson is just happy to be going to a field at all, as he indicated when I asked how he was adjusting to all the change.
"That's a good question. For me, I feel like we had so much time to think about it, I was mentally prepared for those things. Because there's nothing you can really do about it."
— Dansby Swanson preparing to return to play
Swanson, who plays for his hometown Atlanta Braves, was one of the lucky few who managed to score workout equipment before a twelve-pound dumbbell for a home gym became as hard to find as Adam Sandler’s special rock in Uncut Gems.
He and his girlfriend Mallory Pugh — a star of the US Women’s National team and New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC — trained together this spring and got way too competitive over Mario Kart.
The friendly (mostly) competition in their relationship is how they came up with the idea to auction off items for charity. Swanson had a special pair of cleats made for the women’s World Cup last year, and Pugh had a jersey signed by every member of her team.
So they figured they’d make the auction fun, and competed against each other to see who would, once and for all, be crowned the best athlete of the relationship. I won’t give it away.
But back to baseball: Swanson won’t say it outright, but I get the sense that he thinks the Braves have a good shot at winning it all this year. (Editor's note: The Braves are +1300 to win the World Series, fourth-best in MLB.)
He can’t say enough good things about Ronald Acuna Jr., but then again — who can? The Braves slugger has talent that Swanson’s never seen before.
They’ve got a scrappy young team and a fanbase voted the best in the country, according to an MLB on FOX poll.
Is it Atlanta’s year? There’s no way of knowing — but if it is, you heard it here first.
If you missed it at the top, check out the full interview here: