ATLANTA -- As the Braves and Marlins make all the necessary preparations to play at Fort Bragg on Sunday night, they are handling the logistical difficulties with a genuine appreciation for what this one game means to the many military members who have spent the past couple months eagerly awaiting
ATLANTA -- As the Braves and Marlins make all the necessary preparations to play at Fort Bragg on Sunday night, they are handling the logistical difficulties with a genuine appreciation for what this one game means to the many military members who have spent the past couple months eagerly awaiting this historic event.
"I don't think anybody looks at it as a hardship," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's going to be fun. I think everybody is really excited about it. I feel more for the clubhouse kids, trainers, video guys because of all that they have to take up there for one day."
Because the Braves are the home team, they are responsible for providing personnel to handle such things as in-game entertainment staff and a crew to handle the makeshift clubhouses, which will essentially consist of tents that will include lockers and portable bathroom facilities (toilets and showers).
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Though the setting will not provide many of the everyday comforts found throughout the regular season, the Braves and Marlins are looking forward to entertaining the military members who will fill a recently completed 12,500-seat stadium. The game, which begins at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN, will be the first regular-season game played on an active military base.
"They've done a phenomenal job of coordinating," Marlins president David Samson said. "The clubhouse guys have had conversations of how it will work. We're spending the night in Fayetteville [N.C.], and we understand how that's going to work. We have a full day scheduled at Fort Bragg with the troops, including lunch with the troops and visiting with the troops."
While the Marlins can simply treat this as a one-day excursion within a nine-game road trip that will end on Wednesday in New York, the Braves have to make preparations to play one neutral site contest ahead of a seven-game road trip that will end the following Sunday in Chicago. Thus, Atlanta's clubhouse staff must pack both home and road uniforms, which includes separate colored batting helmets.
The Braves and Marlins will fly to Fort Bragg following Saturday's game, which begins at 4:10 p.m. ET. Atlanta will place 94 members of its organization on a charter flight and place 38 other employees on a bus that will make the six-hour trek from Atlanta. Miami's charter flight will include the usual travel party (players, coaches and staff) and 23 additional team officials.
Both teams will stay at a hotel near Fort Bragg. Players, coaches and staff members will spend time on Sunday interacting with troops and partaking in special activities, including an opportunity to learn more about the training exercises of Special Ops soldiers.
"I think there is a lot of excitement for MLB, our team and the Marlins," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. "It's always neat to have a special game and be invited to be a part of something like this, especially with the military involvement and building the stadium. It's all pretty neat. [Military members] are going to be able to utilize that stadium after the fact and have some fun as they continue to protect all of us."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.