Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011 Braves Family Field Day

Susan, looking at our shirts with this logo: "The reds don't match."
Me: "I was just thinking that. 'Family' is orangey." :)
We spent a long time analyzing the shirts while we waited to start, haha.

Agenda! Sit in stands, clap for players as they were introduced, break into 5 groups, autographs, lunch, tour.

Braves in attendance: Cristhian Martinez (surprise addition!), Jose Constanza, Kris Medlen, Brooks Conrad, Eric O'Flaherty, and Jonny Venters. What a great group!!

Cristhian, Constanza, Brooksy
Meds, Brooks, EO, Jonny
camera guy is all up in Meds' face
bye boys

We were the yellow group, so we went into the Braves' batting cages first. We were going to hit off the tee directly into the net, so it was a little different than last year - no live pitching. Constanza and a Braves employee were running this portion, so Constanza went back and forth between the cages doing a little coaching.

Of course they all took time for pictures.
Constanza's famous knuckle
This kid was so cute. He cheered, "Go Dad!" at the top of his little lungs when his dad took the bat. :)
Susan's hit - look at that great follow-through!
The guy told me to "aim". Um, okay. Like this?
Alison swings!

Station 2: Running the Bases. No Braves here, just staff supervising. They said they were going to clock people running to give out prizes for the fastest, and they had everyone start at second. Let's be honest, we were in the blazing sun and still had 3 stations to go. We weren't running the bases. :D (I've done it before, in the winter at FanFest. That was tolerable.)

Line to run
Have no idea who this little girl was, but I loved the pigtails. ♥
There was another tiny girl in our group with my exact ponytail when I was her age - curly and blonde - I don't think I snagged any pics of her. :(

Station 3: Ground balls with Brooksy and Meds. They gave us a brief tutorial on how to get ready to field grounders, you know, get in front of the ball, etc. I played softball, so I know how to field a grounder, so I didn't crouch when they told us all to. Meds called me out, pointing, "She's not doing it!" Haha, fine. I hopped up and landed in the crouch, and my friends laughed at me. Wait, half the other adults weren't "ready" either. :D Oh well, it was fun.

We had to choose a line, to get grounders from Brooks or Meds. We went to Meds' line because he's awesome (and not because his line was shorter), and he threw a handful of gum at us from the bucket - parade style. "Hey, I gotta get people over here!" Well, that gum was gross. Not helping. :) The grounders were great, though.

It was all pretty rapid-fire.
Our line was much shorter. :)
I have gross pitcher arm in this shot! Wait, which one of you took this. :D I guess that means I was throwing pretty hard? :)
Great throw!
Grounder on its way to Alison...
Yay, my favorite Brave on the DL! Need you pitching again, dude!
My cousin is amused that he has the same face in all 3 of our pics. :D
I'll bet they all practice their "fan smile". CJ Wilson totally has one.

Next we went to the bullpen. Bullpen!! ...I'm fine. It's just my favorite. :) O and JV taught kids how to pitch. This session seemed much shorter than the previous three (and the last session seemed the shortest of all).

34 far away, 39 closest. We were staying in the shade till we figured out how the lines worked? We never figured it out. And we wished there was one of those MEGAGIANTSUPERFANS in there - you know, the huge ones? We were hot.
Susan took my camera for a few minutes and got some beautiful shots.
Coach O
Pigtails did her best. :)
This girl was one of triplets!
Okay, do you guys have any questions?
Cute! Wait, yes, I have a question...

Well, I have a lot of questions. I'm a very curious person! But specific to this situation, they started herding us out, and the guys were taking pictures with fans, but... I wanted to pitch. That's why we're in here, right? Not just to stand around and watch the kids? I walked over to EO and joked, "So there's time for pictures but not time for everyone to throw?" He looked surprised, "You didn't get to go? The kids in my line got to go twice!" Well yeah, the kids. They pushed ahead, the lines weren't clear, and what am I going to say? "No, 3-year-old, get behind me." That would be bad form. Again, this session seemed a lot shorter than the first three, but these guys are cool.

See EO, being awesome, said something along the lines of, "Well, throw now, I'll be your catcher." {Lauren's heart explodes with happiness.} Slightly afraid we'd lose the group, I didn't take him up on it immediately, but we did end up staying and taking our turns anyway. Me: "Get Jonny over here; we need some instruction." ;) We totally weren't going to waste this opportunity! How often do you get to throw in a bullpen, just with your friends and two of your favorite Braves?!

He didn't have to chase down any of Susan's balls. :)
My glove is so huge on Alison's hand.
Also, guys in the back are like, why are these girls still in here.

I think I've mentioned before I come from a ball-playing family. My parents met because my dad played on an adult softball team with one of my uncles. Another uncle was scouted as a pitcher. My brother was a state All-Star pitcher/CF and played with Matt Capps for a couple of years (Matt was insanely good back then too, obviously).

So my family would have mocked my pitches endlessly. I can throw faster and better, but I'm sorry, wouldn't you be a little nervous with this audience too? And no warmup?'s a ball. Pitch.

I was going to ask Jonny to show me a different pitch if there was time, but I felt a little rushed. I asked what I should throw and he kinda laughed, "Fastball." Okay then. Here's my two-seamer. :)

I think Jonny was a little surprised.
(this is one of my favorite pics of the day, haha)
My #39 All-Star shirsey didn't help me. On my last pitch, EO said, "OK, this one for a strike!" He probably thought that was coach-y but it threw me off a little and my last pitch was not a strike. :(
But really...
No complaints. :)

These two were amazing; no wonder they're so popular. Thank you, guys. ♥ A million exclamation points later, we were seriously being shoved out of the bullpen by our group leader. We know, we know. Next group is coming in. Also, ♥♥♥. That's all.

Station 5: Pop ups in right field with Cristhian. He introduced himself to me with, "What up, I'm Cristhian." Yes, we know. ;) But that was still nice. We didn't take pop ups. This was the shortest station, time-wise. I had enough time to tweet about the RF grass, wonder if we had time to run over to the dugout to grab a drink, and ask Cristhian for pics before time to go upstairs to the Right Field Patio.

Cristhian helping a guy
I am so pale.
Susan is adorable.
As is Alison.

Autographs, then lunch and raffle...

I was a little sad EO and JV weren't sitting next to each other. I had some hilarious pictures of them from BP - EO picking on JV - and wanted them to see the pics. 

I did ask O what his thing with the hats is... he said it just gets hot. I don't blame him - do you see my hair? Do I want to put a hat on top of this wool blanket on my head? No. It is hot. I wouldn't want to wear a hat either. (I do love it when they wear their hats funny.) :)

For everyone except Cristhian (who was a last-minute addition and we didn't know he was coming), I took them pictures I'd taken at games. I felt horribly that I ran out of time and wasn't able to go through last year's pics to pull more of Meds -- "Oh, last year, when I was actually doing stuff?" he said when I only gave him two of him in BP this year.

The pic on the right was given to Faye later that evening. She hugged me and told me she loved me about a million times. I love you too, Faye. Then she said it was going on her wall, and she wanted a bigger print. :D I told her I could get her one, but she'd have to get it autographed!
Some autographs are easier to find than others.
Brooksy was NOT being called out. It was just a strike!
Meds waved at this little kid while they all waited to be carted off.

We didn't stay for the tour, but Alison and I did come back for the game that night. Susan had other plans (sad!). There are a few more pictures from the morning in the full album, if you want to see them. The game will be in its own gameday post.

Fun day, Braves! Thank you so much. It was awesome. ♥

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