Braves manager upbeat after historic collapse: 'Hurt worse last year'


The Braves set a dubious mark as the first National League team to lose a playoff series after enjoying a 3-1 advantage -- but you wouldn't know it listening to manager Brian Snitker.

Atlanta's skipper didn't spend much time reflecting on his team's painful loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, saying he's already "excited" for the 2021 campaign -- and added that he's had tougher setbacks.

“It hurt worse last year than this year," Snitker told reporters.

In 2019, Snitker and the Braves rattled off a cool 97 wins en route to an NL East crown -- before they were upset by the St. Louis Cardinals in a five-game NL Division Series.

The Braves had heady dreams heading into the postseason that year, Snitker said, whereas this year's team overcame many obstacles, including injuries to the pitching staff and players testing positive for coronavirus during summer camp.

The memory of seeing a six-month run of excellence spoiled in a mere five games is apparently still a bitter one for Snitker.

"I thought that team could go deep in playoffs," he said, referring to the 2019 squad. "This year, what we battled through, lost our entire starting rotation for a time.

"I wanted to go to World Series so bad, but we did a lot of really really good things."

The Braves went 35-25 during the shortened MLB season, before beginning their impressive playoff run, which included a five-game run of dominance in which they swept both the Cincinnati Reds and the division-rival Miami Marlins.

While Snitker's positive spin on the brutal loss might not comport with how most Braves fans were feeling on Monday morning, he's not wrong to be optimistic about a team that appeared to have most of its nucleus in place again for 2021.