ATLANTA - The Braves are ready to pay homage to our country's service men and women by playing a first-of-its-kind game on Sunday. The team will face the Miami Marlins on a newly constructed field at Fort Bragg, a military base near Fayetteville, North Carolina. It is believed to be the first major professional sports game played on an active military base.
"It's amazing what they do out there for the rest of the country to keep us free," said Braves catcher Tyler Flowers. "We get to play a game because they're out there putting their lives on the line for us. It's pretty neat and pretty humbling."
Flowers, like many Braves and many Americans, can name someone close to him who served in the military -- for him, it's two cousins who are Marines. Second baseman Jace Peterson says one of his grandfathers served in the military.
"I think we're going to get a chance to interact with them, kind of hear some of their stories, see how they go about their daily lives," said Peterson. "It's going to be fun, exciting and I can't wait to shake their hands."
The two baseball teams will do more than just play the game. The Braves arrived in North Carolina Saturday night after a home win against the Marlins. Sunday there's a meal planned where the players can interact with soldiers. There are other opportunities throughout the day before the game -- Flowers says he wanted to get an up-close look at the parachutes Fort Bragg uses to drop heavy equipment out of planes.
"I know the players are all talking about it, what they're going to wear," said Braves interim manager Brian Snitker. "I think they're excited about the event, like on Sunday morning lunch and all that. Guys are really excited about playing for your troops."
First pitch is set for just after 8:00pm. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.