Braves, Babies and Baseball!

The Braves Wives invited 25 special military moms-to-be to Turner Field recently for an unforgettable baby shower to help them celebrate their upcoming journey into motherhood. IMG_1496

Thanks to Lennie Rubin with United Military Care, Inc. we were able to invite ladies from military bases all over the state of Georgia including Ft. Stewart, Ft. Benning, Robbins Air Force, Ft. Gordon and Georgia National Guard. Most of these women are married to brave men from different branches of the military, and two of our moms were both in the Navy. We also had one expectant mother give birth early and attend the shower with her five-day-old baby boy.

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The eager young mothers and their guests arrived at Turner Field and were escorted to the 755 Club and directed into the private party where they were greeted by the Braves Wives and enjoyed a lavish buffet and beautiful three tier vanilla cake donated by Tommy Rhodes of Rhodes Family Bakery. The Braves Wives in attendance included Pam Gonzalez, Nikki Russell, Angie Fletcher, Theresa Tosca, Leanna Floyd, Ashley Kimbrel, Tia Johnson, Carman Walker and Gabriella Perez. Greer Howard BravesVision host, and a military wife and mom herself, served as MC and Braves President, John Schuerholz, addressed the men and women in attendance, thanked them for their service to our country and congratulated them on the pending arrival of their babies.

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As they anxiously awaited the start of the shower, we wasted no time in getting the games started by asking each attendee to guess the number of diaper pins in the baby bottle.  Each shower game had many great prizes at stake donated from wonderful companies, which brought out the competitive side in everyone.

First on the agenda was a baby word search and a celebrity baby name game. Winners were rewarded lovely gift bags filled with necessities to get them through the first few months of motherhood. Some of the prizes included Pediped baby footwear and giftcards, delightful luxury European Pacapod baby bags, and the cutest little baby wetsuit by Konfidence USA.

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Next, Pam Gonzalez led the expectant mothers in a game where they were asked to guestimate how much toilet paper it would take to go around the mommy-to-be’s pregnant bellies. This game got a few husbands in trouble. The winner of this game walked away with the coveted Babyhome Eat highchair.

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Next, the ladies joined the Braves Wives in a circle of chairs to play a baby shower favorite, “Pass the Dirty Diaper.” They passed around a diaper filled with chocolate pudding, to the rules of hot potato. When the music stopped, the woman holding the dirty diaper was removed from the game. As the circle got smaller, the competition got more heated and eventually dwindled down to two ladies. After the last round, a winner was named and she walked away with a Naturalmat Coco Mat crib mattress valued at $400.

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In-between all of the fun shower games and activities, there were many raffle prizes to be won. All of the moms and theirs guests got the chance to win awesome prizes such as assorted items from MAM USA such as pacifiers, baby bottles and teethers as well as autographed Braves memorabilia.

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Finally, the winner who guessed the correct number of diaper pins in the baby bottle at check-in was revealed and received a Duux Air Humidifier.

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To round out the festivities, the Braves Wives presented each mom with large gift baskets filled with everything they will need to get them through the first couple of months after the babies are born. The gifts inside these beautiful baskets included: B.Box travel bibs and diaper wallets, Sillikids sillibibs, MAM feed and soothe bottle gift sets and pacifiers, Honest Company arrival sets, Target and Babies’R’Us gift cards purchases by the Braves Wives, Baby Blanket music CDs, Brian James Footwear giftcards, Konfidence baby swimwear and roll and go baby changers, and scrumptious chocolate chip cookies provided by Sensational Baskets and multiple boxes of Huggies diapers and wipes.  Many of these gifts were secured through Hillary Abbott, CEO of Hilary Abbott Communications, Inc. and high profile publicist. You can find many of her clients in publications like People Magazine!

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The shower ended just in time for some Braves baseball! The women and their guests all left their goodies with us while they enjoyed the magic of Turner Field. Overwhelmed with gratitude and all of their new precious goodies, the ladies were all very appreciative as they anticipate the new additions to their families.

This event was very successful in large part to the Braves Wives and our amazing partners who donated tons of great items for us to use as raffle prizes and gift basket goodies. A big thank you to our donors:

Braves hit a homerun with the annual Youth Baseball Classic!

The 6th Annual Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Classic presented by Bank of America was recently held over Labor Day Weekend, August 29th-31st at Wills Park in Alpharetta, GA.

The annual Youth Baseball Classic hosted teams from all across the southeast: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In total, there were 72 teams, with 9 age divisions (6U-16U) and 8 teams in each division. Each team was guaranteed to play three games over the weekend.

To enhance everyone’s Braves experience, all teams got the chance to take a team photo with Braves 3rd Baseman Chris Johnson. They also received an official Braves Youth Classic t-shirts, gift bags, tickets to Braves vs. Marlins game on the second day of the classic, as well as a chance to participate in the pre-game parade around the warning track.

The Braves Youth Baseball Classic was created to expand our reach and impact on youth baseball throughout the Southeast. The tournament is designed to give young baseball players a unique experience, a chance to meet a Braves player and attend a Braves game at Turner Field.

Play started on Friday night under the lights. The fields played host to the 7U, 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U, 13U and 16U divisions. From the crack of the first bat, you could feel the excitement of each team as they fought for their first win. Three games were slated for Friday night in each division and the last games didn’t end until 11 p.m.

Saturday morning started early. The sun was barely up when the kids took the field. By 10am, the sun started to heat up the park and you could definitely tell summer was still in full swing, especially with all the baseball going on!

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At noon on Saturday, all play stopped for the Welcome Ceremony. Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Derek Schiller welcomed the youth players, parents, and families.  Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle addressed the crowd and welcomed everyone to Wills Park and the City of Alpharetta and Bank of America Managing Director Mark Adams was also on hand to address the teams. Welcomed by a roar of applause, Chris Johnson announced the nine lucky participants of that night’s on-field presentation at Turner Field. After the ceremony was over, each team had their chance to meet Chris and take a photo with him.

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The rest of the afternoon consisted of teams finishing up their pool play games in hopes of being the highest seed possible for Sunday’s Championship Brackets. Once the last games were completed, the teams had a little time to go back to their hotels and get ready for the Braves game at Turner Field.

The on-field ceremony took place next with Bank of America Georgia President Geri Thomas and Chris Johnson. Both Chris and Geri congratulated each player by shaking their hands, presenting them with a medal. The following players were randomly selected to represent their age division.

6U – STEELE LICKLITER, PONTE VEDRA SHARKS, PONTE VEDRA, FL

7U – AVERY LEWIS, KNOXVILLE STIX, KNOXVILLE, TN

8U – COOPER DAVIS, KENNESAW GENERALS, KENNESAW, GA

9U – MICHAEL MARTINEZ, SOUTH GWINNETT RATTLERS, DECATUR, GA

10U – CANYON NEWMAN, BONECRUSHERS, BLOOMINGDALE, GA

11U – JAKE ROWELL, DIRT DOBBERS, HAZLEHURST, GA

12U – DAKOTA CHASE BROOKING, NORTH GEORGIA MUDCATS, ROME, GA

13U – CORTEZ ROBERSON, G-A-T-A- WOLFPACK, LITHONIA, GA

16U – PEYTON PAGE, THE UNDERTAKERS, VIDALIA, GA

Congrats to each lucky winner!

 

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The Braves vs. Marlins game that night provided a great experience for all the teams, coaches, and families in attendance. Many had never been to a Braves game before and thoroughly enjoyed it! During the game, many coaches and parents were anxious to find out their seed for the Sunday bracket portion of the tournament and at about 8:00pm, brackets were posted online at www.bravesyouthclassic.com.

Sunday started early again “under the lights.” The rest of the day, we inched closer towards the champion in each age division. The last game for the 16U Division did not end until 8:30pm but most of the other divisions finished somewhere around 7:00pm. Listed below is the list of champion teams and runner ups from each age division.

Congratulations to everyone that made it that far! It was a long road to get there!

6U          CHAMPION – North Macon National All-Stars

RUNNER-UP – Canton Noles

7U          CHAMPION – Canton Stingers

RUNNER-UP – Brookwood Knights

8U          CHAMPION – Kennesaw Generals Blue

RUNNER-UP – Collins Hill Black Eagles

9U          CHAMPION – South Gwinnett Rattlers

RUNNER-UP – Sandtown Red Sox

10U        CHAMPION – SBA Canes

RUNNER-UP – Tri-County Athletics

11U        CHAMPION – Powder Springs Indians

RUNNER-UP – Young Guns

12U        CHAMPION – Full Throttle Baseball

RUNNER-UP – Swamp Donkeys

13U        CHAMPION – Georgia Batmen

RUNNER-UP – D2E/RatedR

16U        CHAMPION – SW 3Up 3Down

RUNNER-UP – Upstate Showcase Baseball

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Congrats and a big THANK YOU to all of the teams that participated and made this tournament fun and competitive. The Braves, Wills Park, the City of Alpharetta and Turner Field enjoyed hosting you! We look forward to seeing you again next year!

To view footage shown on BravesVision from the Youth Baseball Classic, please click: http://www.bravesvision.com/ftp_root/send11/Youth%20Baseball%20Classic%208-31-14.mp4

Braves Players Make Dreams Come True for Miracle League Players

The Atlanta Braves partnered with the Miracle League and the Fantasy Camp for Kids to host its 2nd annual Miracle League Fantasy camp.  Both the Atlanta Braves and the Miracle League believe that “every child deserves to play baseball,” so one can imagine how excited both organizations were when the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids were interested in partnering for a second Fantasy Camp for the Miracle League players.

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There were over 40 participants from Miracle League teams all over Braves Country from Atlanta to Valdosta to Macon. The Fantasy Camp was held at Hunter Memorial Park in Douglasville, GA

The participants arrived at the park in the morning and received their very own, personalized Atlanta Braves jerseys, goodie bags, and tickets to that evening’s Braves game. The players and their families were greeted by Mayor Harvey Persons who then introduced our special guests for the day, Braves pitchers David Hale and Shae Simmons, infielder Tommy La Stella and Homer the mascot.

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The Fantasy Camp started off with stretching session led by the Braves players. Shortly afterwards, the Miracle Leaguers were split up into 4 four groups and rotated to different stations to work on various baseball skills. Braves infielder, Tommy La Stella, led the hitting station where participants hit from a tee on the pitcher’s mound into the fence behind homeplate. Braves pitcher, David Hale, led the fielding and catching stations where the participants worked on fielding ground balls and pop flys. Braves pitcher, Shae Simmons, led the throwing stations where he showed the Miracle Leaguers the proper technique to throwing a baseball.

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To wrap up the camp, participants all lined up to run the bases before enjoying lunch.

The Fantasy Camp was a huge success and everyone involved from the Miracle Leaguers to the Braves players were able to enjoy an experience of a lifetime!!

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Braves Athletic Trainers and the Taylor Hooton Foundation Host Annual PLAY Clinic

In July, Atlanta Braves trainers Jeff Porter and Jim Lovell partnered with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation to host the PLAY Clinic. PLAY, or Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, was created by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) to raise awareness about children’s health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States. The program is based upon using the celebrity appeal of Major League Baseball and all of the teams and players to reach tens of thousands of America’s young people with positive messages about living a more healthier and active lifestyle.

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Young athletes from the Field of Dreams Academy, L.E.A.D., Atlanta Police Athletic League, Gresham Park Softball Angels, and the YMCA arrived at the ballpark bright and early and were welcomed by Jeff Porter, followed by a short speech behind the Braves dugout by Brian Parker of the Taylor Hooten Foundation on steroid education. Parker shared using steroids is cheating but more importantly it can lead to serious health problems and potential death. There is immense pressure to perform at a certain level but it possible to perform at such high standards if athletes have a balance diet and training regimen. There was a lot of information shared during this talk and after the steroids talk, the teens moved on to right field to stretch and learn their clinic assignments.

 

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The stations included agility drills and batting, and an continued discussion on proper nutrition by representatives with the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. After a 2 hours of baseballs skills training and health education, the teen athletes were ready for lunch. The athletes were lead to the patio and were greeted by Braves pitcher Kris Medlen. Medlen shared his sports experience growing up and what decisions lead him to choose baseball as a long term focused. Medlen battled a season ending injury; however, he provided encouraging words to the teens on keeping yourself active and to keep pushing. Porter and Lovell applauded Medlen’s positive attitude during his recovery period and continued initiative in being a team member despite not being active on the field. Medlen shared a lot with the group and invited the teen athletes to ask questions. Medlen shared “Who was his inspiration growing up? to “Who is the toughest batter you’ve ever pitched against?” and so on.

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The entire day was a learning experience and gave the young athletes the opportunity to acquire helpful tips about a healthy lifestyle from athletes and trainers who focus on these qualities every day.

Reading with an All-Star: Freddie Freeman Visits Cobb County Library in Marietta

This summer, we partnered with the Georgia Public Library Service and SUBWAY Restaurants to encourage students to continue learning throughout the summer months.

The 2014 Atlanta Braves summer reading program, Home Run Readers presented by SUBWAY® Restaurants, is an educational outreach initiative that promotes literacy among youth. Home Run Readers rewards students in grades K-12 throughout the state of Georgia with a free Braves ticket and SUBWAY® Restaurants Fresh Fit for Kids Meal for reading books and completing an online activity.

We invited a special group of Home Run Readers to join us at the Cobb County Library in Marietta for a special appearance by Braves All-Star first baseman, Freddie Freeman and Jared Fogle of Subway. Freddie and Jared were warmly welcomed by 680 The Fan radio personality, Ben Ingram and about 150 kids proudly doing the “tomahawk chop” with their red foam tomahawks in-hand.

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Our two special guests made their way to the stage where they started by talking about the importance of staying healthy and being good students. They went on to take turns reading “Casey Back at Bat,” to the audience. After reading the book, the kids paid close attention as they followed along on their HOMER (bingo) cards. Freddie and Jared read out key words from the story, and each child was able to mark it off of their HOMER card until they had five in a row. Winners yelled out “HOMER!” at the top of their lungs and were rewarded with Subway gift cards and autographed Freeman posters and bobbleheads.

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Once the story time and HOMER game had come to a close, the participants had the opportunity to ask Freddie and Jared questions about their careers and what it means to stay healthy and do well in school. After the question and answer segment, the winners of the HOMER game were able to take photos with both Freddie and Jared and our mascot, Homer!

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On site for the event were several Cobb County officials including Commissioners Joanne Birrell, Lisa Cupid, Helen Goreham and Bob Ott. Representing Georgia Public Library Service was Georgia State Librarian Julie Walker and representing Cobb County Public Library System was Helen Poyer.

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Note from Helen Poyer after the event. “What a great day at Cobb County Public Library System’s Switzer Library for our Atlanta Braves Home Run Readers!! Many, many thanks for providing such a wonderful experience for the kids in our community. It was such a delight to see the smiles on their faces as they listened to Freddie and Jarod. They will remember this day for a very long time!”

See the link for a video of the event.

Thanks to the Cobb County Library for being lovely hosts, and we look forward to seeing the Home Run Readers at Turner Field….keep reading!!

All Star Teacher Visits the Twin Cities – A Note from Judy Stewart

Major League Baseball, Target and PEOPLE Magazine teamed up for the “Target Presents PEOPLE All-Star Teachers” campaign, which celebrated remarkable current and retired teachers who have made an impact on the lives of their students and communities. Fans were encouraged to nominate outstanding teachers from all 30 MLB cities for the chance to represent their favorite team and be honored during the pre-game ceremony of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis on July 15th.

Braves Country selected a well-deserving educator to represent the Braves at the MLB All Star Game. Judy Stewart of Acworth, GA was the outstanding teacher that got the trip of a lifetime. She was asked to “guest blog” for us and tell us a little bit about what the experience meant to her. Take it away, Judy!

I wanted to let the Braves organization know what an honor it has been to represent the Braves at the All Star game. Everyone has been so kind. The three days we were in Minneapolis were busy but loaded with fun and exciting activities.

On Sunday, after our arrival, we were honored at a reception at Target Commons. We had a chance to meet the other winners from all over the country and Canada. We met with some of the executives from the Target Corporation, People Magazine and MLB. We made pictures of each other and Bullseye, the Target Mascot. The highlight of the night was meeting Cal Ripkin Jr., where he was the keynote speaker. All of the teachers received a Tiffany engraved star, a new I Pad mini and a Target gift card. What an amazing first day.

Monday began with a brunch with fellow teachers and our guests. We were then taken to the All Star Press conference where the coaches and pitchers were introduced. We then had pictures and interview from the press. After a short break of free time, helped conduct a Target service event at the Target Arena. We were able to help put together 10, 000 back to school kits for children in the Minneapolis area. The kits will be distributed through the Kids in Need program. The Home Run Derby was our next destination. We were able to view the Derby from our seats in a very nice suite. We had so much fun getting to know each other and share stories from our home towns. We ended the night at the All Star Gala in the old Mill district.

On Tuesday, we were up and at it very early. We were taken to Target Stadium for breakfast in the Twins dining room. The rehearsal for the pregame show was next. We had been told that they had been practicing for days with stand-ins for us. As we began to practice, we soon realized that Idina Menzel was already there to practice. As she stood directly behind me, I tried to sneak a picture. During a short break, she was gracious enough to allow us to take some pictures. Following the practice we had the biggest surprise of the day, a visit from Dr. Jill Biden. She was so kind and knew every one of our stories. We each had a picture made with her. She even joined us on the trolleys that we rode during the All Star parade. It was a blast to wave and talk to people along the parade route.

Tuesday evening was the big event! As we waited to go on the field, it began to sink in that this was really happening! We watched the crowd file in and the players were announced. Then our big moment arrived. As we walked onto the field, Idina Menzel started to sing. What a feeling!!! Ms. Menzel sang the National Anthem as we watched the huge flag open across the field. There was also a fly over by the Thunderbird Air Corp. As we left the field we walked through rows of children holding American flags and cheering for us.

In the suite, we were honored to find Dr. Jill Biden, sitting next to my husband. We also were visited by Idina Menzel for pictures. Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s daughter, also came by to congratulate us and share some thoughts. It was an incredible night and no one wanted to leave. I have made new friends that I will always remember. This has been a truly amazing adventure for me. Even upon returning home, I have been truly honored by the congratulations and out pouring of love and support. I only wish that every teacher could feel this way every single day.

I look forward to the beginning of the new school year in just a few short days. I am going to incorporate this experience into my classroom and use the All Star theme for my class décor. I am going to encourage my students to be “All Star Students” this year. Thanks again for all you have done during this experience.

The Atlanta Braves would like to congratulate Judy and all of the educators who were honored in Minneapolis. Thank you for making difference in the lives of our youth!

To learn more about all 30 winners, visit mlb.com/allstar-teachers.

Wounded Warrior Classic – Bravest of the Brave Visit Turner Field for VIP Treatment

Last month, as a part of our monthly Braves Care front office staff volunteer initiative, we welcomed the men and women of the Wounded Warrior Project, a veterans service organization for wounded veterans,to Turner Field to show our appreciation for their service and heroism.

The Warriors arrived at the ballpark around 10am for a VIP all-access tour of Turner Field, the Braves Museum the press box and the Braves Clubhouse. At the conclusion of their tour, the Warriors were surprised by our front office staff, who were waiting to have lunch with our special guests of honor. Our team President, John Schuerholz, greeted and thanked the Warriors for serving our country, and posed for a photo with the group.

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Following lunch, our staff distributed Braves goodie bags including sports equipment donated by Mizuno. All of the Warriors received new baseball equipment such as wood bats, baseball gloves, batting gloves and helmets. With new equipment in hand, Braves staff and the Warriors headed down to the field for batting practice.

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As they approached the field, there was one more surprise ….exiting from the Braves dugout in Braves jerseys were our very own Braves alumni players who came to spend the afternoon with the Warriors. Everyone cheered as we welcomed Jim Nash, Charlie Liebrandt, Marty Perez, Alejandro Pena, Greg McMichael, Craig Skok, Terry Harper, and Chris Hammond.

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Each Warrior had an opportunity to take batting practice just like our very own Braves players do before a game. The Warriors took around 5-10 hacks and ran around in the outfield shagging fly balls with Braves staff while mingling with our alumni players. With Sharpies and pens in hand, our Braves players signed autographs for everyone in attendance, and some Warriors opted to have on their new Mizuno equipment signed, even bartering push-ups for autographs!

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Braves Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Mike Plant stopped by during batting practice to meet the Warriors.

At the end of their visit,our special guests gathered by the Braves dugout for a group photo and final remarks. Many Warriors told us that this was one of their favorite Wounded Warrior Project events, some even saying that this was the best day of their lives!

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It was an honor to have these exceptional men and women at Turner Field for a fun day with the Braves Staff! To top off this incredible day, we were on 11alive news that evening! Check out the footage below:

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Over 1,000 People Become U.S. Citizens at Turner Field

Over the 4th of July holiday, the Atlanta Braves were excited to open the doors to Turner Field and witness 1,097 candidates take the Oath of Allegiance, the final step in completing the process of becoming a United States Citizen. Over 120 countries were represented at this ceremony from countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Cameroon, Malaysia, Japan, Jordan and Nigeria.

Naturalization Ceremony

More than 3,500 candidates, family members and friends arrived at Turner Field as early as 6:00 a.m. for this special Naturalization Ceremony. The candidates embarked on a lengthy application process that started the moment they decided to pursue their dream of becoming American citizens. As they walked into Monument Grove, the vibes of nervousness, excitement, and surrealism of completing this milestone in their lives could be felt throughout the ballpark.

Naturalization Ceremony

For many, this was their first time visiting Turner Field and we greeted them with smiles on our faces and congratulatory remarks, as our staff was just as excited to be a part of this memorable day. Our guests of honor visited the Braves Museum and learned about our team’s history, and children who were there to witness their mom, dads, or other family members take the oath, took turns playing the interactive baseball games in Scouts Alley. All 3,5000 guests were entertained by Homer the Mascot and our Heavy Hitters Drumline as they performed in the Fan Plaza to the cheers of the crowd.

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To kick off the ceremony, the Heavy Hitters marched all of the candidates to their seats followed by their family and friends. Atlanta Braves President, John Schuerholz welcomed everyone and congratulated them on accomplishing their goals and realizing their dreams. Ed Jennings, US Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator, gave the keynote address. After the list of countries were read out loud, candidates stood and together recited the Oath of Allegiance and were sworn in as U.S. Citizens by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the government entity responsible for handling Citizenship.

Naturalization Ceremony

At that moment Turner Field was filled with cheers as a message from President Obama was played congratulating the new Citizens. Many could not contain their emotions. As Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the USA” played, tears of joy and excitement were seen in the faces of many as our newest citizens waived their American flags high in the air.

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As part of the celebration, everyone was invited to enjoy American’s favorite pastime, baseball! They received a free ticket to the Braves vs. Mets game that evening with the opportunity to participate in the pregame parade around the field. This was truly an important occasion that will be a lasting memory for these new Braves fans. We spoke with Ariel from Colombia about her experience going through the citizenship process and how it felt to become a citizen at last.

Congratulations to our newest U.S Citizens! We were truly honored to have you at the Home of the Braves.

Jerseys Off Our Back Online Auction

On Saturday, June 14, the Atlanta Braves Foundation hosted the winners of our annual Jerseys Off Our Backs Online Auction. This once in a lifetime experience gives fans an opportunity to win their favorite player’s jersey, RIGHT OFF THEIR BACK! The winners of each game-worn autographed jersey also received two tickets to the game on June 14th and the chance to take part in a post-game ceremony to receive their jersey. The auction was live online at http://www.braves.com/charityauctions from May 12th through June 4th and boy did the bidding war get pretty intense. Some jerseys sold for several thousand dollars!

After a long, hard fought 12-inning game by the home team, auction winners finally experienced the moment they had been waiting for all night. As each player came off the field, they signed their jerseys and the winners were brought onto the field for the post-game ceremony. Winners were presented with their game-worn autographed jerseys by Braves 3rd baseman Chris Johnson and also got to pose for a photo!

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The auction was extremly special to the winner of the Johnson jersey who anxiously waited to meet him after the lengthy night. At the moment of the presentation, the winner approached Johnson with a smile on his face, shook his hand, received his jersey and expressed his excitement to the player. The evening was a memorable one for all winners!

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The auction benefited the Atlanta Braves Foundation, the non-profit charitable arm of the Atlanta Braves. Through the Jerseys Off Our Backs Online Auction, the Braves Foundation annually distributes grants to nonprofit organizations that focuses on youth baseball, health, and children initiatives. We are appreciative and thankful for all of the participants that continue to support the Braves commitment to impact Braves Country.

Be sure to look out for next year’s Jerseys Off Our Backs Auction and don’t miss your opportunity to go on the field and meet your favorite Braves player!

She Can Play 2014

On Wednesday, June 25 we hosted the annual “She Can Play” Fitness Fest at Turner Field. “She Can Play” is a free, health and fitness initiative that focuses on teaching young girls about healthy living, encouraging them to become involved in sports by demonstrating the importance of leading an active lifestyle. More than 400 girls ages 8-12 joined us from organizations including the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Field of Dreams Academy, City of Atlanta Camp Best Friends, Girls on the Run, Brownsmill Softball, Redan Park Softball, and CHOICES.

She Can Play

During the event the girls participated in seven different fitness stations, hosted by local health and fitness groups. From Zumba and hip-hop dance to yoga and kickboxing, the girls enjoyed learning innovative ways to stay active while having fun. They also attended an interactive healthy living workshop hosted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and were provided a Fitness Fest t-shirt and a healthy lunch.

She Can Play

In left field, former Miss Georgia contestant Carly Gill from Daily Dose Fitness along with Amy Santana, wife of Braves pitcher Ervin Santana, taught girls the ins and outs of strength training. Participants did lunges, squats, jumping jacks, sit-ups and much more.

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Torch Fitness kicked it up a notch in center field with kid-friendly kickboxing and agility instruction. Participants learned different types of kicks and punches while others learned agility drills. The girls loved this station as they also learned different exercises they can do at home.

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In right field, Nicole Walters from Bending Branch Yoga stretched it out with the help of Veronica Ramirez, wife of Braves coach Horacio Ramirez. At this station the girls focused on the art of being calm while working out their bodies and their minds.

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You can’t come to a Major League Baseball ballpark and not learn anything about baseball! In the Braves bullpen and Braves batting cage, the girls got to work with former collegiate baseball players to perfect their swings and throwing arms.

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The real fun was at the patio and plaza areas, where the energetic Latin music and today’s Hip-Hop hits were playing and girls got the chance to swing their hips and learn exciting new dance moves. Janet Ackerman’s team from Zumba Atlanta got the girls really moving at the Zumba station while Samantha from Project S.L.I.D.E. taught exciting dance combinations.

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Once the girls rotated through the different stations, they all came together for an interactive healthy living workshop hosted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong 4 Life group. They gave tips such as adding more veggies and fruits to their plates, being active for 60 minutes a day, limiting screen time to one hour, drinking more water and limiting sugary drinks. This workshop capped an exciting day by teaching the girls a number of ways to be healthy by making wise decisions and staying active.

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As you can see we certainly had fun at “She Can Play” this year, and we hope our 400 participants did as well!

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