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Game Changers

From high-octane stadium sports, to cult-status athletics, Atlanta is a powerhouse player.

Atlanta Braves' Craig Kimbrel

Pitch Perfect
Craig Kimbrel is living the dream, both on and off the field.

Besides riding off the high from one of the most successful beginnings his Atlanta Braves team has ever achieved, star closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel is learning how to be an all-star off the mound as well. Taking a break from playing his favorite card game, Pluck, on a sunny weekday afternoon, Kimbrel happily talked about the biggest play he recently made in his life—marrying Ashley Holt last December. “My granddad always said, ‘If you always agree with her, you will always be happy,’” he laughed. “So I have just been agreeing a lot.”

And the sound advice seems to be working.

In fact, after recently purchasing a new home in North Atlanta, Kimbrel, 25, avoided decorating differences and gave his wife the reins; he was content with just having one space to hang up baseball paraphernalia on the walls—his own man cave. “I am building a bar in it with a wine cooler and adding a projector television and couch. Nothing big. [Ashley] gets the rest of the house, and I get that one room.”

Besides hunting during the offseason, dining at neighborhood restaurants like Canoe and Ray’s on the River, and watching football (Kimbrel digs the Falcons, but is fond of the Tennessee Titans since they are closest to his hometown of Huntsville, Ala.), he keeps off-field pursuits pretty simple.

But when it comes to his day job, Kimbrel can’t say enough about how much he loves being a Brave. “I grew up a Braves fan,” he explains. “It’s an organization that I have always cared about and loved watching play. And now that I have the chance to perform, build with the Braves, live my dream and be close to home, it’s definitely awesome.”

As usual, Kimbrel is the perfect closer.

Click here to read more of "Game Changers" in the digital edition of Men's Book Atlanta!