PHILADELPHIA -- Dansby Swanson walked around the clubhouse in a bit of an emotional daze late Saturday night. He hugged teammates, looked around, trying to process what had just happened.
The Braves shortstop had just gotten sucked into the highly intense 2021 NLCS and suffered an injury to his left eye that required stitches above it.
But he didn't let it stop him from playing his part to lead the team back to the World Series. He filled a leadership void in Freddie Freeman's absence, didn't take a day off, played Gold Glove-level defense at shortstop and hit.277 with 25 home runs and 96 RBIs. There's no overstating what he meant to this team.
Swanson signed a seven-year, $177 million deal with the Cubs last December, largely because it's in the city where his new wife, Mallory Pugh, plays professional soccer for the NWSL's Chicago Red Stars. It's been a fast start to their relationship in Chicago, and they're already settling in to the area.
But the couple wasn't able to enjoy it as much as they'd have liked at first, because Mallory tore her patellar tendon in April and was forced to miss the first few months of the season while she recovers. And although she's back now, she can't play in this weekend's London Series against the Cardinals. That leaves a little more time for their growing bond to deepen. And for that, they're both very thankful.