Scores of Braves fans celebrated the very second the final out was made Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, securing Atlanta’s first World Series title since 1995.
Count Kerry Goode among them. The former NFL player, a north Alabama resident, is a lifelong Braves fan and attended Games 4 and 5 at Truist Park in Atlanta. This was all courtesy of Major League Baseball and the Braves, who gave Goode tickets to help him check off “attend a Braves World Series game” from his bucket list.
Goode, a running back at the University of Alabama who played for Tampa Bay and Miami in the NFL, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Friends had started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Goode to buy World Series tickets. MLB and the Braves made sure he attended the games free of charge.
“We got some awesome seats. ... I could see everything. It was great,” Goode said via telephone.
MLB heard about Goode’s wish in couple of ways. One was through the father of the late Ice Bucket Challenge co-founder Pat Quinn, Pat Sr., and another was through the league’s contact with the ALS Association.
MLB was able to get tickets for Goode and worked with the Braves to make sure the seats were wheelchair accessible. It was a team effort between MLB and the Braves to make Goode’s wish come true. ALS-related causes are a priority for Commissioner Rob Manfred; in 2021, MLB held its first Lou Gehrig Day, which will be recognized every year on June 2.
Manfred has befriended many in the ALS community, including the Frates family. Pete Frates started the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, and Manfred participated in the challenge with MLB staffers, soon after he was elected Commissioner.
The Braves will have a championship parade in Cobb County on Friday, and Goode said he will be there.
“You might see me riding by it,” Goode said.
Being a Braves fan, Goode has admired Astros manager Dusty Baker dating back to when Baker was a player with Atlanta from 1968-75. So, Goode has mixed feelings about Baker not getting the ultimate prize.
“I’ve been a Dusty Baker fan for a long time,” Goode said. “So I feel happy and sad either way.”
There is one more delightful twist to this story. Because MLB and the Braves ensured Goode’s World Series experience was expense-free, the funds raised through the GoFundMe page will now be put to use another way. Goode will use that money to attend his son’s graduation from law school in Denver.
“It’s coming up and, financially, I wasn’t going to be able to attend because of flights … and all the people it takes to [help me get there],” Goode said. “By giving me the tickets to the game, I’m going to use that money to go to his graduation.”