Atlanta Braves fans from throughout metro Atlanta and all of Georgia are eagerly anticipating the beginning of Major League Baseball’s postseason when the National League Divisional Series gets underway Thursday at SunTrust Park.
However, many Gwinnett County baseball fans will have their eyes on the American League Wild Card game Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Rays travel to take on the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum at 8:09 p.m.
That’s because a pair of Gwinnett grads, two of the county's best in high school baseball over the past decade, will be involved.
Rays outfielder and Grayson grad Austin Meadows and A’s first basemen and Parkview grad Matt Olson both figure to play a major role in whichever team is able to win and advance to the ALDS against the Western Division champion Houston Astros.
The duo also have plenty of history together, both as foes and teammates.
They squared off many times in high school — Olson is a two-time former Daily Post Player of the Year, sharing the award with Providence Christian grad and current Detroit Tigers outfielder Christin Stewart in 2011 and winning it outright in 2012, while Meadows was the 2013 Player of the Year — as well as in travel ball.
However, the two also were teammates at least once, in 1999 while playing the Mountain Park Athletic Association’s tee-ball Orioles.
Both are also coming into Wednesday’s wild card game fresh off breakout 2019 seasons.
Olson posted career highs by hitting .267 with 36 home runs, 91 RBIs and an .896 OPS despite missing 35 games after undergoing surgery on his right hand from an injury suffered during the opening weekend of the season.
Meanwhile, Meadows celebrated his first full season in the majors by hitting .291 with 33 homers, 89 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, 83 runs scored and a .922 OPS in 138 games. Meadows was also selected to represent the Rays at the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland.