03/20/2017 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports

This day was very fun. I didn’t even go inside Champion Stadium to watch any bp or get any autographs. I instead went to the Minor League fields to watch the Florida Fire Frogs and Rome Braves play the Lakeland Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps.

When I got to the back fields, the Gwinnett Braves and the Mississippi Braves were leaving to go to Lakeland to play the Mudhens and Seawolves. I got a handfull of autographs when they walked out. Here are some photos.

Balbino Fuenmayor:

photo 3 (12)

Johan Camargo:

photo 2 (11)

Leudys Baez:

photo 1 (7)

And Adam Brett Walker II

photo 1 (8)

The Braves who were on the big league roster but didn’t take bp inside of Champion Stadium were hitting on one of the back fields. There was quite a bit of action on the path behind the wall. There was a foul ball hit by a right-handed hitter on the Braves (maybe Lane Adams?) which I got. Here it is:

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After that, there were a bunch of home runs that not only cleared the fence on the field that the Braves were hitting on, it cleared the fence that the Rome Braves were taking bp.

Shortly after, a ball rolled to the fence. David Freitas was the one to retrieve it. I didn’t even ask for it, but he flipped it over the fence to me. I thanked him and he said “sure thing.” Nice Guy. Here is a picture of the ball:

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The Braves only took about a 1/2 group of bp, so I’d say 2 balls is pretty good.

Shortly after, a guy who was talking with my dad said that David Justice was watching Minor League bp. He exited the field and I rushed over to get his signature. He signed the Freitas tossup. Here is a picture:

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YES! Justice was wearing the ’95 ring on his finger which was amazing. I’ve never seen a non-replica world series ring up close before.

John Hart was driving his golf cart around and it was really cool to get a few feet away from him.

I waited for the Firefrogs and Rome Braves to start their games for a while and I watched an intersquad game that featured Ronald Acuna. Touki Toussiant sat a few rows in front of me as I watched the game. Here is a picture of Acuna:

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That game was much shorter than I thought it would be as it ended after maybe 5 or 6 innings. I then went over to the Firefrogs game where the Frogs were winning by 2 runs. Afernee Seymour hit a foul ball that I was able to get. I offered it back to players standing on the concourse, but they said that I could keep it. Here it is:

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Ball #1 of the Minor League season before the season has even started. I love it.

I then went to watch the Rome Braves play the Whitecaps. Look how close I got to the coaches:

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For some reason, the Rome Braves were being coached by the Danville Braves coaches. But the cool thing was that their manager for 2017, Randy Ingle was sitting feet away from me. Here he is:

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Excuse the bad picture.

Matt Gonzalez, out of Georgia Tech, hit a foul ball that one of the Braves employees went to get. The employee was nice enough to toss the ball to me for #2 of the year. Here it is:

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I’m off to a great start to the season.

The game ended in a tie, and shortly after, we left the complex. Here is a picture I took on the way out:

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I. love. spring. training. And I might see more. There is a chance that I’ll see the Rockies play the Mariners at Talking Stick on April 1st. Otherwise, I’ll most likely be seeing the Gwinnett Braves play the Durham Bulls on April 9th.

4 balls today in total

3 spring training balls

2 minor league balls in 1 game this season=2 balls per game

19 minor league balls

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