Braves’ turnaround coincides with arrival of ‘Snitbear’ in the dugout

NEW YORK (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have a new furry friend in the dugout to coincide with their turnaround.

“Snitbear” has become a regular presence on the Braves’ bench since being given to slugger Marcell Ozuna by manager Brian Snitker. The cuddly, brown stuffed animal has a red bandana around its neck and wears an oversized blue and white Braves cap.

Atlanta is 5-1 since the bear’s dugout debut in a 9-2 win over Tampa Bay on June 15.

“I don’t know,” Snitker said when asked whether there was any correlation. “I should have bought the damn thing two months ago.”

Snitker wasn’t sure how the bear first arrived in the clubhouse. He said he initially asked a clubhouse attendant to open the package and then followed a suggestion to place the bear in the dugout as a spectator.

“I didn’t know what it was,” Snitker said after Friday night’s 8-1 win at Yankee Stadium. “I didn’t want a tarantula to jump out at me or something. It was a bear and I thought, what the hell, why not? He said, put this in the dugout and keep the big bear company.”

Jarred Kelenic is 9 for 28 (.321) in six games since moving up to the leadoff spot and is on a modest seven-game hitting streak.

“So far it’s given us some good luck,” Kelenic said. “He’s got a front-row seat and he doesn’t have to buy a ticket to get in here, so lucky him. He’s been giving us some wins. That’s the main thing.”

Austin Riley homered Friday and has 12 hits in his last 22 at-bats, including four homers and four doubles.

“It’s a weird game and we’ll find anything and everything to get us going and get some good mojo,” Riley said. “I’m here for it, whatever keeps it light, whatever keeps it going.”



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