The Braves recently held a press conference to unveil a new military appreciation jersey that the team will wear this season.
Team President John Schuerholz, Braves Manger Fredi Gonzalez and first baseman Freddie Freeman unveiled the newest addition to the Braves on-field wardrobe. The Braves were honored to present the first of these authentic jerseys to General Jim Butterworth from the Georgia National Guard and Army veteran Vondell Brown of the Wounded Warrior Project.
The jersey will be worn for special home games when the team is honoring the nation’s service men and women. This new jersey is similar to the red jersey as seen in seasons past, however this it will feature white stars inside of the blue Braves logo across the chest and have an American flag patch on the left sleeve.
Authentic replica jerseys will also be sold at Turner Field and at the Clubhouse Store at the CNN Center with a portion of the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We have always supported and recognized our armed forces through various events and community outreach initiatives,” Braves President John Schuerholz said. “By creating this new military appreciation jersey, we can bring more attention to them while also supporting very deserving organizations who will benefit from the auctions and sales of the jerseys.”
The team will wear these special jerseys during the following games:
April 26 vs. Cincinnati Reds – Military Family Night
June 13 Los Angeles Angels – United States Army Anniversary
July 26 San Diego Padres – United States Marines Celebration
August 30 Miami Marlins – United States Navy Celebration
September 19 New York Mets – United States Air Force Anniversary
Each game worn jersey will then be autographed by your favorite players and auctioned online to benefit our military partner charities including the USO, the Wounded Warrior Project, United Military Care, Inc., Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative and BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative.
Be sure to visit braves.com to place your bid and support our soldiers and their families!
Each winter we set out to get fans across Braves Country excited about the 2014 Braves season. In January the Braves Country Caravan presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors embarked on a 10 day journey traveling to various communities across the southeast as we logged thousands of miles on the road in a luxury tour bus.
The Caravan is a unique experience for fans and members of the community to get close to Atlanta Braves players, coaches, alumni and broadcasters. In addition to stopping at various Academy Sports + Outdoors locations to sign autographs, the journey consisted several community outreach appearances at schools, hospitals, animal shelters, and food banks to make a positive impact in the community.
Here’s an exciting overview of our two-week Caravan journey.
RIDGEVIEW CHARTER MIDDLE SCHOOL – SANDY SPRINGS, GA
The 2014 Braves Country Caravan kicked off its’ first community stop at Ridgeview Charter Middle School on Tuesday, January 21. Atlanta Braves players Evan Gattis, Alex Wood, Anthony Varvaro, and Assisting Hitting Coach, Scott Fletcher utilized their high profile platform to speak out against bullying.
We partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to host a “No Place for Hate” anti-bullying rally with 350 middle school students. Our players and coaches shared their thoughts on the importance of accepting one another and finding common interests with their classmates. They also answered questions from the students on teamwork, peer pressure, and goal setting.
The rally concluded with the Braves players and coaches signing a “Resolution of Respect” pledge in which they pledged to do their part to combat prejudice, hate or ignorance and make our community a safer place. The Braves players are planning to film an anti-bullying PSA at Spring Training in Orlando to help spread the message among schools across the southeast.
SHRINERS HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN - GREENVILLE, SC
The 2nd Day of Braves Country Caravan started in Greenville, South Carolina at Shriner’s Hospital for Children on Wednesday, January 22. More than 75 lucky Braves fans received a visit from “El Oso Blanco” –Evan Gatis, Braves rookie David Hale, and Homer the Mascot as they went room to room to surprise and greet young Braves fans, take pictures, sign autographs and distribute Braves t-shirts and Tomhawks. The trio not only put smiles on the faces of a lot kids that day, but on the parents, nurses and doctors too!
REDAN HIGH SCHOOL – STONE MOUNTAIN, GA
The Braves Country Caravan stayed local on Day 3 as we rolled into Redan High School located in Stone Mountain, Georgia on Thursday, January 23. During the stop, B.J. Upton, Tyler Pastornicky, Brandon Beachy and Pitching Coach, Roger McDowell held an assembly for 150 males and female student-athletes who had an opportunity to ask questions about their high school experiences and what steps guided them to the big leagues.
After the Q& A session, the players lead a game of Braves Trivia for a chance to win autographed items. The visit concluded with a special presentation to Redan’s players and coaches. Redan High School’s Baseball team was the first African-American baseball team to win the 2013 Class 4A State Championship title in state of Georgia. Braves centerfielder, B.J. Upton, presented a bat autographed by members of the 2013 Atlanta Braves team along with Braves gift bags and tickets to a 2014 Braves game for each player and coach. Congratulations Redan Raiders. We’ll be following you this season!
BRUMBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – MARIETTA, GA
Friday, January 24, the Braves Country Caravan stopped at Brumby Elementary School in Marietta. We surprised the students and took over the school’s morning newscast. Braves players Chris Johnson, Tyler Pastornicky, Todd Cunningham, and 1st base coach Terry Pendleton answered questions, reported the lunch menu, the weather forecast, and read a few letters that students had written to the team when they learned that we were moving to Cobb County. The Players and coaches visited the classrooms, played Braves trivia and answered questions about playing in the big leagues. They closed out the visit in the auditorium with the entire fifth grade class as they took the stage with Brumby math teachers to explain how math and baseball work together. They talked about the importance of knowing ERA’s and batting averages and used addition, multiplication, division to solve baseball related math problems. We’re sure this Caravan stop will be etched in these students’ memories for many years to come!
PAWS ATLANTA – DECATUR, GA
Week two of the caravan started off with a different type of visit as we showed a little love to our furry friends over at PAWS Atlanta, a no-kill rescue center. These local animals got extra special attention on Sunday morning, January 26. Braves players Aaron Northcraft, Christian Bethancourt, and Gus Schlosser walked dogs on the on-site walking trails as Braves staff members helped clean up the dog park area, which has been a work in progress for the shelter. We got the chance to learn about the adoption center and met tons of animals looking for a family. PAWS takes pride in their 45 year history which has led 40,000 animals into adopted loving homes. If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of homeless animals by adopting, donating money or volunteering your time, visit paws.atlanta.org to find out more!
ATLANTA COMMUNITY FOOD BANK – ATLANTA, GA
Braves Alumni Brian Jordan and Marquis Grissom, General Manager Frank Wren, Broadcaster Don Sutton, and front office staff helped pack over 4,000 pounds of food at the Atlanta Community Food Bank on Monday January 27. Tasks included sorting cans, packing boxes of food, restocking the grocery area and loading boxes of food into cars for local nonprofits and families who benefit from the food bank. The Atlanta Community Food Bank distributes about 45 million pounds of food each year to 600 different nonprofit organizations, which serve underprivileged families across the state of Georgia. The food items sorted and packed by the Braves staff will feed about 3,000 hungry people. This effort is just one of many volunteer opportunities that ACFB offers year-round. If you have time to volunteer, visit http://www.acfb.org. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the experience!
CLARKDALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – AUSTELL, GA
On Tuesday, January 28, 4th and 5th grade students at Clarkdale Elementary School in Austell, GA received a special visit during their morning P.E. classes. Braves players Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Manager Fredi Gonzalez and Coach Carlos Tosca joined the kids at various physical activity stations including sit-ups, push-ups, crab kicks, burpees, and pull-ups in an effort to encourage students to be active. Each group moved from station to station after 2 minutes of activity. After the fitness stations were completed, Braves broadcaster Don Sutton moderated a fitness themed Q&A session. The students asked the players and coaches questions about their favorite healthy snacks and their secrets is to staying in shape during the off season. Much to everyone’s surprise, Don Sutton led the Clarkdale students in singing “Happy Birthday” to Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez and two Clarkdale students, who all shared the January 28 birthday.
After 10 days traveling across Braves Country, it is easy to see why the Atlanta Braves have the best fans in all of baseball. The Braves Caravan was truly a unique experience for all that had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of it.
That wraps up Caravan 2014!
Braves fans, do you know a courageous person who has battled or is battling breast cancer?
Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves are looking for our 2014 Honorary Bat Girl. This Mother’s Day we are celebrating the stories of Braves fans who are “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” in their daily lives. As part of our continued support in bringing awareness to this disease we want to honor our fans and celebrate their journey.
Now through March 24, submit a story about how you or someone you know is “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” and why they deserve to be an Honorary Atlanta Braves Bat Girl.
One (1) Honorary Bat Girl will be selected and will be recognized during an on-field presentations on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11 at Turner Field before the Braves vs. Chicago Cubs game. The winner will also receive four (4) game tickets, a Louisville Slugger Pink engraved bat and a commemorative jersey.
Visit http://www.honorarybatgirl.com to submit your stories and learn more about this exciting opportunity!
The Braves Foundation teamed up with our 2013 Grant recipient, The Cross Keys Foundation, to celebrate the unveiling of the Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” on January 16.
We were joined by various media outlets as well as representatives from area schools, the Brookhaven Police department, City of Brookhaven elected officials and lots of neighborhood kids and families.
The “Little Free Library” establishes a highly visible monument to the importance of literacy and early reading and neighborhood parks. The Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” is the first of many libraries to come and will stand as testimony of the community’s commitment to education. Most importantly, the children will be reminded of this fact every time they visit the playground.
The children will have the opportunity to take a book and bring it back, or simply keep them. Cross Keys Foundation partners including the Briarwood Park Conservancy and Brookhaven Storage have committed to host book drives in an effort to keep the libraries stocked with books. Community volunteers will see to it that the “Little Free Library” is stocked on a continual basis. Everyone in attendance was encouraged to add a book to the library.
The goal of the project is to promote excitement about reading among elementary age children and much to our delight, the children couldn’t get to the books fast enough as they immediately begin to takes the book and start reading!
Every holiday season, the Atlanta Braves host special holiday activities to enhance the lives of others. In the Spirit of Giving, we adopted senior citizens for our Angel Tree program and we also hosted our annual “Braves Bowl,” a holiday bowling party for military families.
We know that the holidays can be difficult for those who do not have anyone to share them with. We wanted to do something different and decided to help our senior citizens who are sometimes forgotten around the holidays.
We partnered with Second Wind Dreams, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the perception of aging. Second Wind Dreams offers education on dementia, grants wishes for seniors, and educates the general population on issues related to the elderly. Braves employees adopted 50 senior citizens residing at Decatur Senior Living and College Park Healthcare. These seniors, ranging in ages from age 60 to 95 were gifted with items from their wish lists including sweatsuits, alarm clocks, robes, socks, hats, gloves and candy. As you can see, these seniors didn’t ask for much, so it was the least we could do put smiles on their faces just in time for Christmas!
We continued to spread holiday cheer for 40 military families at our annual Braves “Braves Bowl” Holiday Party at Midtown Bowl. This is the third year that we have held this event to honor and thank the soldiers and their families for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country.
Parents and children from the United Military Care Inc., Wounded Warrior Project, and the Georgia National Guard were greeted by Homer the Mascot, and received a warm welcome from Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez. Braves Alumni Marty Perez and Johnny Estrada along with and Gwinnett Braves Manager Brian Snitker also came out to bowl with the families, sign autographs and take pictures. To round out the day, three lucky soldiers got the opportunity to bowl against Estrada, Perez and Gonzalez for bragging rights and Braves prize packs.
Many thanks to the Braves front office staff, our alumni players, coaches, the Braves 400 Club volunteers, Midtown Bowl and Second Wind Dreams for making this holiday seasons’ activities a huge success!
The MLB umpires offer memorable baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption and at-risk youth through the UMPS Care Charities BLUE Crew Tickets program. This season the Atlanta Braves facilitated two BLUE Crew Ticket visits with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, a mentoring organization that serves over 3,390 youth in Metro Atlanta. The organization pairs children and their families with caring adults that can provide strong and encouraging friendships that impacts children’s lives for the better.
The first UMPS Care visit was held with umpires Jim Wolf and Jeff Nelson. The second visit was hosted by umpires Marvin Hudson and Wally Bell. The honorary guests were greeted at the main gates of Turner Field with goodies bags filled with Braves gear, snacks, and concession coupons courtesy of the Braves and UMPS Care Charities. The guests were escorted to the umpires
Locker room to meet the officials for the day’s game. Inside the umpires locker rooms, the officials spoke about their pre-game agenda and signed baseballs for the group. They also got the chance to view the instant replay box and walked through the umpires tunnel to the field. On the field, the umpires showed them their positions during the game, answered questions and discussed the favorite part of their roles. The visit ended with the umpires and the special guests taking a group photo on the field.
Many thanks to MLB Umpires Jim, Jeff, Marvin and Wally for their time during pre-game to meet with the youth and adults and expose them to different type of baseball experience.
Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is a Major League Baseball youth outreach program designed to increase participation in baseball and softball among underserved youth. The Atlanta Braves partner with the Pattillo-RBI Atlanta league to further that mission. This season, Pattillo-RBI Atlanta athletes participated in various clinics and tournaments hosted by the Braves, received multiple grants, won an RBI Softball World Series, and had the chance to attend several Braves games courtesy of BJ Upton and RBI Alum, Justin Upton.
The Upton brothers donated Braves tickets to the Reach Out, Be Our Guest Program, which enable the Braves organization to provide complimentary tickets to children and individuals who would otherwise not have the means to attend a professional baseball game. The RBI athletes had a chance to come to the games early, watch batting practice and meet the Uptons and other Braves players.
In August, the Pattillo-RBI Atlanta softball team defeated the Houston RBI team in Minneapolis to bring home the World Series title. The team entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed but left the tournament champions with a 4-3 victory in the final game. This title represents the 8th for the Atlanta softball team, the most in league history.
To cap off a successful season, Pattillo-RBI Atlanta received two monetary grants to help with the purchase of equipment, uniforms, umpire fees and travel fees. Chevrolet awarded $2,100 from the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel MLB road trip celebration and recording artist Scotty McCreery presented the league with $5,000, as part of his six-city Major League Baseball stadium tour. The softball team even got the chance to meet Scotty before his post game concert and participate in a check presentation on the field.
The Braves congratulate RBI Atlanta for all of their accomplishments this season. For more information on the RBI program, please visit the website here.
During the 2013 season, the Atlanta Braves teamed up with State Farm Insurance to recognize local nonprofit organizations for their unwavering commitment to the community with the State Farm Pitch In Award. Six local organizations were honored for their service to the community: The Study Hall, Emmaus House, The Miracle League, Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, Latin American Association, and the East Lake Foundation. Representatives from these organizations each received an award from a State Farm representative and an Atlanta Braves player in special pregame presentations.
The Study Hall is an after-school and summer camp program that serves elementary school children in Peoplestown, the community surrounding Turner Field. The Study Hall provides year round services and offers an educational and enrichment curriculum that equips children to achieve sustained personal and academic success.
Emmaus House is a center for community life on the corner of Hank Aaron Drive and Haygood Avenue in the Peoplestown neighborhood just south of Turner Field. Founded by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, Emmaus House offers over 150,000 hours of direct service in programs for youth, adults, seniors and families each year.
The Miracle League was founded in Rockdale County, just east of Turner Field, to allow children with special needs participate in America’s favorite pastime. Today there are 250 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico, Canada, and Australia. The Miracle League serves over 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities. These teams play on a specialty playing surface designed to facilitate wheelchairs and walkers and use ‘buddies’ (community volunteers and children) to assist the players.
Rally Foundation is a non-profit foundation that empowers volunteers across the country to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. Former Braves pitcher, Tom Glavine, has served as a spokesperson and has led the Money in the Mitt fundraising campaign. Brian McCann and his wife Ashley are also spokespeople and are actively involved in raising awareness and funds for the Rally Foundation.
The mission of the Latin American Association is to empower Latinos to achieve their academic, social, and economic aspirations. Today, as the leading service provider of social services for the Latino community in metro Atlanta, the LAA offers a range of programs that guide Latinos with solutions to address their basic needs and provide them with the information and skills necessary to achieve their fullest potential. The LAA aims to increase family stability, build skills, promote the development of Latino individuals, families and youth, and promote community involvement.
Founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, the East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to offer Atlanta’s East Lake residents opportunities to build a better future through education for children and adults, affordable housing, job readiness and connections with the broader community. Other cities seeking to transform their neighborhoods are turning to the Foundation for best practices.
On Thursday, October 17th, twenty volunteers from the Atlanta Braves front office staff went to visit the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge on Emory University’s campus for our monthly Braves Care community outreach activity.
The Hope Lodge provides cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when they are receiving treatment far away from home. Each Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where patients can receive free transportation to and from their treatments, information on their cancer and how to best fight it, and support from volunteers and others fighting the same fight.
Daily activities are provided for the Hope Lodge residents, and the Braves Care program was the special activity for the day. The residents and Braves Care volunteers decorated pumpkins for Halloween and played in a highly competitive corn toss competition. Winning teams from the corn toss competition were given autographed baseballs and gift bags filled with Halloween candy, braves caps, stickers and foam tomahawks.
To close out the afternoon, Braves employees were given a tour of the third largest Hope Lodge facility in the country, including a sitting area decorated by the creative staff at Lilly Pulitzer. After the tour, guests participated in a quick Braves Trivia round for more autographed items, and posed with their pumpkins for a group photo! For more information on the American Cancer Society Hope lodge, please visit their website here.