There’s no doubt that we like the Atlanta Braves. Everyone has their own favorite player. Carter likes Schafer or Heyward, Jill likes Chipper (and so do I). But, just like the Braves themselves, we all like Martin. It was a little disappointing to see him move to the outfield this year and we’ve missed him with his recent stint on the DL. If there was any doubt how important his is to the Braves franchise, their promotional materials for this year should let you know.

The Atlanta Braves filmed several commercials for this season during Spring Training. They debuted one featuring Jason Heyward first and it was especially funny since it dealt with a partially true Spring Training story. Chipper’s commercial was next and the content and attitude embodies Chipper (it’s also one of Jill’s favorites). The third commercial released featured Huddy and Lowe showing off their new pitches – which look like they were developed by Bugs Bunny. The fourth commercial featured Brian McCann in a deadpan performance in his catcher’s gear. I had heard the final commercial featured Prado and was the best of the bunch. After we saw it the first time, there was no denying that it was the best.

Although Chipper is having an outstanding year and I hope he returns for the 2012 season, I would love to see Prado take over 3rd base when Chipper retires. Various outlets have stated that Prado is the heart of the team, so I can’t wait to see how they perform when he returns (hopefully after the All-Star break).

Dan Uggla was super cool to Carter.

This past Saturday (February 5, 2011) the Atlanta Braves Caravan made a stop in Nashville at the Academy Sports and Outdoors in Madison. We were expecting a lot more fans to be there this year since Nashville resident Dan Uggla and All-Star Martin Prado were scheduled to appear. We arrived two hours early and were #210 in line. We felt pretty sure we’d get to say hi and get a few things autographed for Carter’s collection.

It took almost an hour to reach them, but it was well worth the wait. After talking to Uggla and watching him interact with Carter for only few seconds, I’ll have to say I’m a big fan of the Braves newest 2nd baseman. Upon seeing Carter in the line, Uggla immediately perked up and greeted Carter with a “Hey there big guy, how are you doing today?”

Carter decided this year he wanted the Braves to sign the Brian McCann bat he got at a game last year. It’s not a full size bat, but probably little league sized. I will admit, it looks pretty cool with all their signatures on it.

I told Uggla that I was excited to see him with the Braves, since we both grew up in the same small town – Columbia, TN. Based on his demeanor and attitude, you can tell he’s a small town guy. Martin and the rest were equally cool and I didn’t know until the day before that Braves pitcher Mike Minor grew up about 30-minutes from me in Chapel Hill, TN.

There were at least 500 people there this year. That’s a big difference from the 100-200 that were there last year for Jason Heyward and Mike Minor—that was a month or two before most people knew who Heyward was.

With Jill and I tagging along, Carter was able to add 5 more baseballs to his collection and a few autographed cards. Hopefully we can add a few more baseballs over the season at a few games.

Overall, I’m ready for baseball to get started. After watching a few specials/countdowns on the MLB Network and the Braves Caravan, I’m ready for Spring training and the season to get underway. We’ve already looked at the schedule and have an idea of which games we’ll try to hit this year.

With Uggla added to the lineup and Chipper hopefully making a return at 3rd, 2011 looks to be a great year for the Atlanta Braves.

Check out my February 2011 photos for a few more images from the day.

Had an awesome day at the Atlanta Braves game on September 11, 2010. They had a nice tribute to the Fire and Police departments of Atlanta before the game. The game itself was a tense one. Tie score for a few innings and from the 8th inning on, it was tied 3-3 until Alex Gonzales absolutely smashed a 3-run home-run to give the Braves their 26th walk-off win this season (most in the MLB). I managed to get some great photos from our third-base line, left field seats. I especially like the ones with the team celebrating at the end.

You can watch the slideshow above or view the entire gallery on Picasa or using the images on the right.

Say what you will about the Atlanta Braves—good, bad, like or dislike—they are easily the number one sports team in my book. True, I’m not a huge sports fan and baseball is the only sport I try to watch (with my son) on a regular basis.

However, there is one act that has pushed the Braves into a class all by themselves.

My grandmother (Granny) recently passed away. She passed on the day I purchased tickets for myself, my mother, my wife and our oldest son to attend our first ever Braves game at Turner Field. She was a Braves fan and she, in turn, got the rest of the family watching baseball.

Shortly before the game, I fired off a quick email to the Atlanta Braves organization with a note telling them about my grandmother and our upcoming trip. I asked if they could possibly dedicate the game we would be attending in her memory.

I figured nothing would come of it. The game came and went and we had a great time—described here and here. The Monday after we returned, I received a phone call from the Atlanta Braves office. They had read my email and were apologetic they didn’t get to it in time to catch us on our visit. We talked for a few minutes and I gave them my address.

A few days later, this arrived in the mail (Click to enlarge):

Braves-Card-Front Braves-Card-Inside

And that is why the Atlanta Braves are the best team in the MLB—at least to our family.

Be sure to read Part 1 a few posts back to get the full story.

Chipper At Bat

Check out that photo from the game. That’s how great our seats were. Section #113 tickets thanks to StubHub.com. I had a small zoom lens on the camera, but we were directly over the Braves dugout. Every inning  when they came in from the field, Carter would run down to the railing overlooking the dugout, in hopes of catching a ball.

Aside from our great seats, Turner Field is incredibly nice. There’s a great Cartoon Network kids area, a few great restaurants (Bar-B-Q is the best), a kids only merchandise shop, and a Braves museum. The biggest surprise came from the entire staff at Turner Field. They were amazingly friendly.

While walking to our seats, if we passed a concession vendor not waiting on a customer, they would wave as you walked by. Everyone at the ballpark actually made the effort to converse with you. Several times I was asked if I (we) were having a good time or if this was our first game.

The usher to our section offered to answer any question we had. We I asked a question she didn’t know the answer to, she radioed a supervisor and informed me of the answer.

Even the the Braves didn’t win the game, it was a great game nonetheless. The game was full of great plays, close calls and was all-around entertaining.

After the game, we went to the Kids Run the Bases area and Carter got to run the bases on the field (see the photo in the previous Braves post). They even had a photographer on the field and we found Carter’s image online when we returned home and ordered a few photos.

All in all, we had a great time and we definitely plan on returning as soon as our busy schedule allows. We hope to make it in June for Brian McCann bat day, especially now the McCann is back in great form.

Check out the rest of the photos from our first Atlanta Braves game.