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.