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:
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 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!
The Atlanta Braves Foundation has been supporting community organizations and programs in Metro Atlanta and surrounding areas since 1992. The efforts of the Braves Foundation range from in-kind donations to the 50/50 raffle to the Grant Program. The numerous activities of the Foundation have generated over $5 million in financial and in-kind assistance to our community.
One of the activities of the Braves Foundation is our Online Auction. Each month, we feature Braves items including autographed paraphernalia and VIP Experiences. Our first auction for the year is now up and running through Friday March 1st at 8:00pm. Visit http://braves.auction.mlb.com/ to bid on a Batting Practice VIP Field Visit, Autographed Jason Heyward jersey, Autographed Chipper Jones Bat and Ball set, and many more items! Thanks for your support of the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
Remember, bidding at http://braves.auction.mlb.com/ on this set of items ends Friday March 1st at 8:00pm!