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Braves fans show up to honor team


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Local residents of “Braves Country” were given the opportunity to see the Atlanta Braves 2021 World Series Trophy up close as the trophy tour stopped at Freedom Hall on Friday.

“This is the first time we have done the tour at this scale,” said Jori Palmer, senior marketing and advertising manager for the Braves. “This is the largest with stops in six states in the marketing territory. It was such a fun project! But big and lots of work.”

Palmer added that the tour went from western Mississippi all the way up to western North Carolina. The marketing team plans every single stop at every town and venue, and this tour was assisted in execution by the One Sixty/Ninety agency.

“We will be stopping in 100 cities by the time the tour concludes after Labor Day,” she said.

The tour began in mid-February.

General Manager for Freedom Hall Mark Stone said that the visit to Johnson City came up fairly quickly.

“It’s only been in the works since about two weeks ago,” he said. “We are very blessed to get the turnout we did in such a quick turnaround.”

When the tour rolled into the parking lot of Freedom Hall, the line to get into see the World Series achievement was long, with many attendees wearing the apparel of their favorite Braves player.

“We have been Braves fans a long time. Let’s see, I’m 31. So, 31 years,” said Catherine Frazier. “My favorite player would have
to be Chipper Jones. And it’s hard, because Hank Aaron’s an amazing player. Hank Aaron is historical. But Chipper Jones, that’s the power right there.”

The Braves fans that came also had a connection to, not just the team, but the stadiums that the team plays in.

“That was Catherine’s graduation present. We had VIP tickets to go watch them play and it was fantastic,” said Bobbie Renae Frazier. “And we saw a grand slam. It was awesome. Catherine screamed until she was hoarse and it was the same for the World Series games.”

And the Fraziers said they are planning to go to one or two games this summer.

Terry and Gretchen Hughes have also been Braves fans their whole lives.

“I’ve been a fan since Hank Aaron,” Terry said. “I was at Fulton County and Truist Stadiums, but I missed Turner Field.”

Like Terry, Gretchen has an affection for the players from the past.

“Dale Murphy would have to be my favorite player of all time,” Gretchen said.

Bailey Sheffield, however, prefers more recent catcher Tyler Flowers.

“I was born into it,” Sheffield said. “Grew up watching them every day.”

Other fans that attended the tour have a more personal connection to the team and their history.

“I’ve been a Braves fan since January 15, 1991. The day I was born,” said longtime fan Andy Baker. “I was born into a Braves family. My favorite Braves player in history would be Hank Aaron. In times growing up, Chipper Jones. As of right now, it’s a toss-up between Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies or Max Fried.”

Baker also said he has a special reason for continuing to support the Braves in every facet of his life, including his and his wife’s dog, Chipper.

“Our first-born son Maddox is coming in April,” he added. “And May 19, 2018, my grandfather, who was the Braves fan that made my whole family Braves fans, we got to take him to his one and only major league game and that was very, very special because it was him and the entire family that was able to go.”

Palmer is also a huge fan of the team for whom she works.

“I grew up in Augusta, Georgia and watched games on TBS. So, this is a dream job,” she said. “The goal is always the World Series, so winning in the post-season, we were ecstatic. There was sheer joy within the marketing team.”

Additionally, Palmer says the organization is so happy to be able to focus, not just in Atlanta, but across Braves County with this tour.

“Not everyone can make it to the stadium, so we took it to the fans,” Palmer said. “We asked the fans to come and watch in person with the trophy tour. ‘We are coming to you! Come celebrate with us!’ We wanted to reach everyone, and that’s so impactful to me.

“Johnson City is the type of place we hoped to go. It was a city we were excited to have on the tour,” she continued. “We wanted big prog- ress around personal connections across Braves Country.”

The Braves 2021 World Series trophy will live in Truist Stadium permanently, hopefully for years to come.

For more information about
the trophy tour, visit https://ww- atlanta-braves-announce-stops-of- their-world-champions-trophy-tour- presented-by-truist/