On Saturday, May 18th the Atlanta Braves honored the United States Military and Armed Forces as they took on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The day included a pregame, VIP tour for a group of wounded military veterans and pregame ceremonies. For those not participating in the on-field and pregame activities, a ticket special was also offered to all of those who had a valid military ID.
As far as pregame ceremonies go, this one definitely gave those in attendance goosebumps. The Braves had over 100 military members holding an American flag across the outfield and lining the base paths with players from both the Braves and Dodgers for the National Anthem. Atlanta Braves game day staff that had served in the military held special stars representing each branch.
Along with providing these experiences, the Braves have partnered with Emory University to create BraveHeart. BraveHeart offers veterans and veteran families free mental health services including anonymous online screenings, educational outreach, and clinical care coordination for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These services have been made available for those in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. These representatives were on site for Saturday’s game.
For more information on BraveHeart, check out the interview with Executive Director Dr. Barbara Rothbaum below or visit their website here!
Every year around Mother’s Day, Major League Baseball celebrates baseball fans that have been affected by breast cancer and are determined to defeat the disease. Joan Dumas, the Atlanta Braves Honorary Bat Girl, was recognized at the game on Friday, May 17th.
Joan was nominated by her best friend, Mollie Morris, for her unfailing faith and determination to conquer cancer. She eloquently described Joan’s strength through not one, but two separate battles with breast cancer. Joan never gave up and this past Mother’s Day she was able to celebrate her last radiation therapy and being cancer free once again.
As the Atlanta Braves Honorary Bat Girl, Joan was given a personalized jersey and the opportunity to be the Honorary Team Captain for that night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Honorary Team Captain goes out onto the field for the pregame lineup card exchange with both team managers and umpires. Joan was joined by her two sons, her best friend Mollie, and two of her grandchildren.
To learn more about Joan, please watch the interview below with Fox Sports’ Elizabeth Moreau:
The Atlanta Braves have teamed up with Daniel H. Stanton Elementary school for a long-term partnership to help improve reading performance, decrease absenteeism, increase parent participation and encourage physical activity among students.
On Friday, May 10, we welcomed D.H. Stanton’s 5th grade class to Turner Field for their “senior trip.” The visit was an opportunity to celebrate an outstanding school year and congratulate the students as they head off to middle school. The students were treated to a special behind-the-scenes tour of the entire stadium, created Mother’s Day cards, took group pictures and then enjoyed a picnic lunch at Sky Field.
During their tour, the students had a chance to see inside a luxury suite, sit in the press box, and peek into the Braves clubhouse. After the students saw into the clubhouse, they walked down the same tunnel as the umpires and sat in the visitors’ dugout. After spending a little over an hour on the tour (and walking a little over a mile!), the students visited the Atlanta Braves Museum and Hall of Fame – exploring all of the exhibits and watching historical film.
Following the tour and museum visit, they trekked back up to Sky Field, which is located at the very top of the stadium, to create home-made cards for their moms. After an half an hour of arts and crafts, lunch was served and the kids headed back to school – just in time for dismissal.
The Atlanta Braves are proud to partner with D.H. Stanton Elementary and hope to see many more fifth graders on their way to middle school!
On Saturday, May 4th, it was raining so hard that the game between the Mets and Braves had to be postponed, but that did not stop 40 Jr. Braves coaches from The Boys & Girls Clubs, RBI, LEAD, and the YMCA. The session was led by Will Jackson of the Positive Coaching Alliance. Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is a national non-profit with the mission to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.
Jackson is a graduate of Davidson College and served as a teacher, coach, and athletic director at Atlanta area high schools, both public and private, for over 40 years. His coaching emphasis was in baseball and football, with four state championships on the diamond and two state championships on the gridiron. He taught various levels of psychology before becoming involved with the Positive Coaching Alliance in 2005.
The presentation was very impressive. Will Jackson stressed that the moral isn’t that winning isn’t important, because winning is important, but that you can’t win every game. The purpose of positive coaching is to take a loss or a mistake and find a way to use that to improve for the next game. The aspect of his presentation that stood out most, was that your ratio of encouragement to criticisms should be 5:1 – and even that one criticism should be constructive.
Everyone has a coach who stands out and has made an incredibly positive and lasting impression on their lives. Several members of our department had coaches that made a difference in our lives:
“Coach Mike Jolly was my first ever lacrosse coach. I had recently been cut from the high school baseball team and he told me to try lacrosse. He took me into the gym and taught me the basics of throwing and catching. That day completely changed my life. Not only did he work with me on lacrosse but he taught me life lessons and how to handle different situations the next 4 years of high school. I first met him in 2001 and he has been helping me ever since including a difficult time in 2010. I think the fact that after 2005 he has had no responsibility to me whatsoever and he still calls to check in to see how I am doing really sets him apart from every coach out there.” Steve Timmreck – Community Affairs Coordinator
“Most of the time, when you hear about the coach who was hardest on you or who you didn’t enjoy playing for, it’s your parent. Parents tend to be harder on their own kids so that everyone else doesn’t scream favoritism, and they always want their kids to do well. My father was hands down the best coach I ever had. He worked nights – so he would take off work in order to coach my softball (and briefly basketball…) teams. It meant the world to me, because I always knew he was being hard on me so that I would be better and it was something that we had in common so I always knew that I would get to spend time with him during games or practice.” Kasey Decker – Community Affairs Trainee (and blogger!)
For more information on the Positive Coaching Alliance, please visit their website here or check out their mini-documentary below.
You have no doubt noticed the strength of the Atlanta Braves pitching staff, striking batters out every game, but they are also helping us with a different kind of strike out. The Braves and Kroger are partnering with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to help Strike Out Hunger. Before every Friday home game, if you donate 20 cans or $20 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, you have the opportunity to have one item autographed by an Atlanta Braves pitcher.
Our very first Strike Out Hunger, on Friday, April 6th, was incredibly successful – we collected 230 lbs. of food and $820 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank in exchange for Tim Hudson’s autograph. The line started forming before the gates even opened for that evening’s matchup against the Chicago Cubs. Check out the video below to hear our Community Affairs Manager, Janet Sevilla, discuss this initiative.
Our next collection is coming up on Friday May 3rd prior to the Braves vs. Mets game. We will have bullpen stud Jonny Venters signing autographs in Monument Grove from 6:35 – 7:00 pm, so don’t forget your donations for the Atlanta Community Food Bank! For more information, and to see the rest of our scheduled collection dates, visit www.braves.com/hunger.
On Thursday, April 25th members of the Atlanta Braves front office staff visited PAWS Atlanta, a private, not-for-profit animal welfare organization founded in 1966. PAWS Atlanta is a no-kill shelter, meaning they do not euthanize animals based on need for space; the focus is on finding these loving animals a forever home.
PAWS Atlanta is a staff favorite Braves Care project, so we had excellent participation! We worked on a range of projects to help the shelter. One group changed the marquee signs, then organized spare cages and other supplies before taking the dogs out on a walk. They did an outstanding job organizing a space that the staff had not had a chance to care to.
The next group organized the entire food shed – which stores not only the food for the shelter, but food for those who may not be able to afford to feed their pets for a short amount of time. This shed also housed important documents for the organization, and our volunteers took it a step further and completely reorganized the shed.
The third group cleaned windows and visited kittens in the Cat Cottage. The last two groups shredded donated newspaper for the kennels and the other prepared dogs for baths. Then we all helped bring all of the dogs in for lunch and walk them afterwards!
After all of the work was done, it was time for a miniature photo shoot with the entire group and a handful of puppies. Many of us, myself included, fought the urge to take one or all of them home! If you’re looking for a new family pet, you should absolutely consider rescuing a dog or cat! To learn more about P.A.W.S. Atlanta, visit their website here!
Jackie Robinson’s legacy has impacted the game of baseball at all levels and for all people. From kids running around bases and playing until the sun goes down (and sometimes even after) to Major Leaguers who are watched by millions of fans on a daily basis, Jackie Robinson made an impact on each and every one of their lives.
The Atlanta Braves have decided to take the Major League Baseball’s celebration of his legacy to another level by inviting youth baseball teams to participate in a day long, free tournament in honor of this great man. The 2nd Annual Atlanta Braves Jackie Robinson Baseball Invitational presented by Delta Airlines was held at the Villages of Carver Family YMCA on Saturday, April 13th.
Sixteen teams ranging in ages from 5 to 12 years old participated in a double elimination tournament with a focus on sportsmanship and celebration of the 66th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the MLB. Teams traveled from all parts of Georgia including Stone Mountain, Decatur, Newnan, Smyrna, and some were right at home in Atlanta. This tournament was a fun filled day, to say the very least, for volunteers, Braves employees, parents, coaches, and especially the players.
Not only were these young men and women given the opportunity to play on this day, they were also given the unique opportunity of taking a team photo with former Braves outfielder Brian Jordan. After the photo, Jordan shared with the players how Jackie Robinson has impacted his career and the importance of education, sports, sportsmanship, and following your dreams. Each kid sat in the infield listening intently to the words of wisdom of a man who represented many of their dreams and goals. There was a declared winner in each age division; however, every player and every team there was a winner because of their willingness to come together on one accord in honor of the man that wore jersey number “42″.
On Tuesday, April 16th, the Braves continued to celebrate the career and legacy of Jackie Robinson at Turner Field. Players and coaches from the Braves and Royals wore the number 42 as a representation of the unity and respect for his legacy. Additionally, each of the participating tournament teams selected one player who represented the characteristics of Jackie Robinson to be recognized on the field before the Braves game. This opportunity was an experience that will be cherished by these youth and a memory that will never fade, much like the legacy of Jackie Robinson.
On Thursday, April 4th, we hosted our annual Lead-Off Luncheon in the 755 Club. This highly popular annual event raises money for the Atlanta Braves Foundation and allows fans and sponsors a chance to have lunch with a player or executive from the Atlanta Braves roster. Our luncheon also boasts an incredible silent auction where guests have an opportunity to bid on Atlanta Braves autographed memorabilia.
This year’s program featured a warm welcome from Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, as well as discussions with this year’s outstanding outfield and starting rotation. Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was presented with the first Golden Glove award of his career and then took the stage to discuss our exciting new outfield.
Braves broadcaster and Hall of Famer Don Sutton facilitated the conversation between the starting rotation, which showcased Tim Hudson’s sense of humor and touched on the excitement for the 2013 season. The outstanding outfield conversation, which also spoke to the excitement for this season, was facilitated by none other than Chip Caray. General Manager Frank Wren and Manager Fredi Gonzalez also spoke to the “State of the Atlanta Braves” where they too discussed how exciting the roster is this year and all of the possibilities ahead.
The silent auction raised over $16,095 for the Atlanta Braves Foundation, the food was delicious, the speakers were engaging, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house – needless to say, this event was a very successful fundraiser for the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
On Tuesday, April 2nd, the Atlanta Braves hosted an advance screening of the JACKIE ROBINSON biopic “42 – The True Story of an American Legend”.
“42” tells the story of two men—the great Jackie Robinson and trailblazing Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey—whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball.
A pre-screening reception was held at Strip Atlantic Station and the movie was shown across the street at the Regal Theatre Atlantic Station. Over 350 guests including Braves players, coaches, alumni, community leaders, and dignitaries were greeted by the Braves Heavy Hitters drum line, Tomahawk Team, Homer, and baseball players from Sandtown Little League.
Following the reception, the guests made their way into the theatre to hear Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz present the opening remarks before the movie aired. Schuerholz spoke about the historical significance of Jackie Robinson breaking the Color Barrier and the Inaugural Atlanta Braves Heritage Weekend which will take place May 31 – June 1 during the Braves series with the Washington Nationals.
Following the screening, 11 Alive anchor Karyn Greer facilitated a conversation with Hank Aaron and former Braves outfielder Brian Jordan. They touched on Hank Aaron’s friendship with the late Jackie Robinson, the importance of Robinson’s legacy in baseball today, and their efforts to involve more African-American children in baseball.
As we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day at Turner Field, on Tuesday, April 16th we will honor his legacy and we hope that you will support “42 – The True Story of an American Legend.”
“42 – The True Story of an American Legend”. The film opens nationwide on Friday, April 12th.
For more pictures from the event, visit the gallery here!
On Friday, March 22nd, 45 of the brightest Boys and Girls Club members from across the country made a special visit to Turner Field for a specialized tour and panel of talented speakers. These kids came from California, Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, and even one from as far as Germany.
We greeted two buses full of kids at 11:15 am and they were off running from there. They took a specialized tour of the ballpark that focused on pursuing a career in the world of sports. Following their tour of the ballpark, they explored the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame before heading up to the 755 Club for lunch and trivia.
Trivia was particularly competitive, as raffle tickets for autographed items were on the line! Through trivia, we learned some interesting facts about the Boys and Girls Club as well as the participants (including that one was born the same year the Braves started playing at Turner Field!)
Following trivia and lunch, the kids moved to a different portion of the 755 club for an executive panel with the brightest minds the Atlanta Braves had to offer. The questions presented by the Keystone members and Boys and Girls Club staff members allowed our executive panel to open up about how they entered the world of professional baseball and even how they overcame personal challenges to become successful.
The best advice, in my opinion, was given by Sherry Millette – our IT wiz. She told these kids “find something you love and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve it or can’t get it.” It’s a common cliché that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your entire life. Which prompted responses about how we are fortunate enough to work at Turner Field, we spend every work day in a baseball stadium, a place people pay to be at.
Overall, it was an incredible event. We were pleasantly surprised at the teens’ level of interest in the organization itself as well as a career in any type of sport. It was a pleasure working with the best and the brightest of the Boys and Girls Club.