Finally! It is opening day. This is the last opening day at Turner Field. I have so many fond memories of Turner Field. Hard to believe they are leaving such a great venue. While I don’t live in Atlanta anymore, it would be so cool to see at least one game there this season.
Braves’ Opening Day lineup (and some detail on the newbies)
Ender Inciarte, CF – (born October 29, 1990) is a Venezuelan outfielder He previously played for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014 – 2015. Enciarte began the 2014 season with the Reno Aces of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. He batted .312 with two home runs and seven stolen bases in 109 at-bats before he was promoted to the major leagues. He made his major league debut on May 2, 2014, and recorded a hit in his first major league game. After the 2015 season, Inciarte won the Fielding Bible Award for players who played multiple positions
Erick Aybar, SS – (born January 14, 1984) is a Dominican infielder. He previously played in MLB for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2006 – 2015. He recorded his first Major League hit, in his first start, on May 20, 2006 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a single to right field in the fourth inning off of Brett Tomko. On November 12, 2015, the Angels traded Aybar, Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis and cash to the Atlanta Braves for Andrelton Simmons and Jose Briceno.
Freddie Freeman, 1B – Freddie is a veteran Braves, on the roster since 2010. During a 2014 winter storm, Freeman was stuck in a traffic jam that had no plans of moving. Freeman stayed stuck for hours until, former teammate Chipper Jones arrived on his ATV and rescued Freeman successfully. In January 2016, the Atlanta Braves announced a “Chipper Rescues Freddie” bobblehead night for the upcoming season.
Adonis Garcia, 3B – (born December 4, 1985) is a Cuban third baseman and left fielder. He played in the Cuban National Series from 2004 through 2011, and then defected from Cuba to play in MLB. The Yankees released García on April 1, 2015. He signed with the Atlanta Braves four days later, and was assigned to the Gwinnett Braves of the International League. On May 18, García was called up to the major leagues. He was soon optioned back to Gwinnett, but was recalled on July 25 after the Braves traded Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson.
Nick Markakis, RF – (born November 17, 1983) is a right fielder. He previously played for the Baltimore Orioles from 2006 to 2014. Markakis is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner. On December 3, 2014, Markakis agreed to a four-year $44 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. On June 18, 2015, Markakis passed Darren Lewis for the record of most errorless games by an outfielder in a game against the Boston Red Sox. The streak later ended on June 25, 2015, during a game against the Washington Nationals at 398 games. On July 20, Markakis hit his first home run as a Brave against the Los Angeles Dodgers, off of Brandon Beachy. He hit two more home runs over the course of the season for a career low total of three. His 181 total hits ranked fourth in the National League.
Hector Olivera, LF – (born April 5, 1985) is a Cuban third baseman. He was part of the Cuban team which won a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. On July 30, 2015, in a three-team trade, the Atlanta Braves acquired Olivera, Paco Rodriguez, minor league pitcher Zachary Bird, and a competitive balance draft pick for the 2016 MLB Draft, while the Dodgers acquired Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Bronson Arroyo, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilán, and José Peraza, and the Miami Marlins acquired minor league pitchers Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham, and Kevin Guzman. He was called up to the majors for the first time on September 1, 2015. Six days later, Olivera hit his first major league home run in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
A.J. Pierzynski, C – (born December 30, 1976), previously played with the Minnesota Twins (1998–2003), San Francisco Giants (2004), Chicago White Sox (2005–2012), Texas Rangers (2013), Boston Red Sox (2014) and St. Louis Cardinals (2014). Pierzynski and the Atlanta Braves finalized a one-year deal worth $2 million on January 7, 2015. The Braves had intended to use him as a backup catcher and mentor to Christian Bethancourt. However, Bethencourt struggled defensively and was eventually sent down to Gwinnett in the hope that he would improve, forcing Pierzynski into a starting role. On July 18, 2015, in a game against the Chicago Cubs, Pierzynski broke up Jon Lester’s no hit bid in the eighth inning of the Braves’ 4-0 loss.
Jace Peterson, 2B – (born May 9, 1990) On December 19, 2014, the Padres traded Peterson, Max Fried, Dustin Peterson, and Mallex Smith to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Justin Upton and Aaron Northcraft. Peterson was invited to spring training and made Braves’ Opening Day roster. On May 16, 2015, Peterson came to bat in the top of the second inning against the Miami Marlins with the bases loaded, and hit his first career home run, a grand slam, off Marlins pitcher Mat Latos. The Braves went on to win, 5-3.
Julio Teheran, RHP – (born January 27, 1991) is a Colombian signed by the Atlanta Braves out of his hometown of Cartagena, Colombia as a non-drafted free agent at age of 16. Teherán signed with the Braves on July 3, 2007, and started his professional career in 2008, pitching for the Danville Braves. During that season he started six games and had a 1–2 record with a 6.60 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 15 innings. Teherán signed a 6-year, $32.4 million extension with the Braves on February 14, 2014. Teherán was selected to the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, his first All-Star game selection. However, he was ineligible to due to previously pitching the Sunday before the All-Star break. He was honored as an All-Star in a pregame ceremony. Teherán became the second Colombian to be selected an All-Star, following former Brave Edgar Rentería.
Here is the 25-man roster for the team on opening day.
So, what is going on today?
New Era #CapsOn: The Atlanta Braves and New Era are encouraging all fans to wear their Braves hats on Opening Day, no matter where they are, to kick off the season and show their support for the team.
Pregame performance: Electric Avenue will perform a 60-minute set in Fan Plaza from 2:20-3:20 p.m., followed by a Q&A with the band.
Pregame ceremony: The Braves will celebrate Turner Field’s history with a video presentation narrated by Braves greats Bobby Cox, Chipper Jones, Tom Glavine, John Schuerholz and John Smoltz. Following the video, the 1997 Braves team that opened Turner Field will partake in a parade around the field led by former manager Bobby Cox.
Sheduled to appear*: Mike Bielecki, Paul Byrd, Brad Clontz, Denny Neagle, Javy Lopez, Eddie Perez, Mark Lemke, Chipper Jones, Fred McGriff, Andruw Jones, Keith Lockhart, Mike Mordecai and Chris Brock. *all appearances subject to change.
National anthem: The national anthem will be performed by country star Mark Wills while members of the military hold a giant American flag in the outfield.
Ceremonial flyover: Members of the 187th Fighter Wing Alabama Air National Guard will fly two F-16s over Turner Field at the conclusion of the national anthem.
Braves Country Community Hero presented by Chick-fil-A: Throughout the season, the Atlanta Braves and Chick-fil-A will highlight Atlanta community members for their commitment to giving back and makin difference in the lives of others. On April 4, Philip Ross will be honored for his work as the Founder and Executive Director of Bright Futures Atlanta (BFA). Philip founded Bright Futures Atlanta in 2002 to benefit the youth and single mothers of West Atlanta. BFA is a year round educational program that includes an academy, and after school program and a summer camp.
Final Season at Turner Field home game countdown: Members of the 1997 Braves team that opened Turner Field will kick off the home game countdown by removing “81” during the middle of the fifth inning.
Hometown Hero: The Braves will honor a local military member during the game.
7th inning stretch: Performance of God Bless America by Timothy Miller of the Atlanta Opera.
Atlanta Braves Foundation Silent Auction: From the time gates open until the third inning, the Atlanta Braves Foundation will host a silent auction featuring signed baseballs, bats, hats, photos, and framed pieces. Mystery Brown Bags containing autographed baseballs of former Braves players will be for sale at the Community Clubhouse. The auction will take place in the Plaza, Section 202 and the SunTrust Club.
MLB.com Ballpark app check-in offers:
o The first 1,000 fans to check in will unlock a foam tomahawk.
o The 75th fan to check in will unlock an autographed Jason Grilli baseball.
o The 200th fan to check in will unlock a Tyler Flowers autographed baseball.
o Three random fans who check in will receive an Academy Sports + Outdoors gift card.