PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Snitker didn't hear a peep on the Braves' overnight flight from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Philadelphia.Of course, Atlanta's skipper passed out in his seat before the plane had even left the runway on the largest military base in the world. His team had just played a historic
PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Snitker didn't hear a peep on the Braves' overnight flight from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Philadelphia.
Of course, Atlanta's skipper passed out in his seat before the plane had even left the runway on the largest military base in the world. His team had just played a historic game, a 5-2 loss to the Marlins, in front of 12,582 veterans on the Fort Bragg base.
In the hours leading up to the game, current and former Braves players and coaches mingled in the mess hall with active duty military and their family members. Some got a lesson on parachute packing. Others signed autographs and took photos.
"When we were in the mess hall, everybody had a plate of food, and I don't know if anybody ate," Snitker said.
Many called it the coolest experience they've had in baseball. But by the time the team had boarded its flight shortly after the game ended around 11 p.m., the buzz had worn off and a busy day had caught up to them.
The trip to Fort Bragg was just the start of a stretch leading into the All-Star break that will see the Braves play eight games over eight days in five ballparks and four cities. They didn't get into their Philadelphia hotel until 3 a.m. ET. For their 8-2 loss to the Phillies at 4 p.m. on Independance Day at Citizens Bank Park, they were back at the ballpark not 10 hours later.
Consequently, Snitker did not have his team take batting practice before Monday's game.
"As tired as guys probably are today, they wouldn't change a thing," Snitker said. "The experience and what we did yesterday is worth a couple hours' sleep."
After three in Philadelphia, Atlanta will head to Chicago for three against the White Sox.The Braves originally had an off-day in Chicago. That was before their April 30 game against the Cubs was rained out and rescheduled for Thursday. Before the Fort Bragg Game was scheduled, this was a six-game, two-city road trip. Now, it is one of the more arduous road trips in recent baseball memory.
"At the end of this road trip, we're gonna need four days off to recover," Snitker said.
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.