Hundreds Turn Out

Newnan first stop of Braves' 2014 Caravan Tour

by Clay Neely - clay@newnan.com

alt

Richard Pillsbury, who was first in line for the first stop of the Braves Country Caravan during Tuesday's visit to Academy Sports in Newnan, hands Atlanta reliever Anthony Vavaro a card to autograph.


More than 300 baseball fans wrapped themselves around the inside of Academy Sports as Newnan hosted the first stop of the 2014 Braves' Country Caravan.

Some arrived as early as 6 a.m., to welcome a group that included the Braves catcher Evan Gattis, relief pitchers Anthony Varvaro and Alex Wood, a former Georgia Bulldog, as well as coach Scott Fletcher and Atlanta general manager Frank Wren.

Braves fan Richard Pillsbury arrived in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, even before the sporting goods store opened to take his place at the front of the line. Others, like Ryen Cates, traveled all the way from Lynchburg, Tenn., following a 3 a.m., wake-up call.

Bryan Boyd and son Robert, left Mableton at 1 p.m. to come secure a place in line by the time the caravan bus arrived by mid afternoon after making a morning stop for an anti-bullying rally at an area middle school.

'We're doing community stops as well,' said Braves public relations coordinator Mackenzie Anderson. 'We'll be surprising some kids tomorrow at a Shriners hospital for children.'

Gattis, who is expected to take over starting catching duties following the departure of All-Star Brian McCann to the Yankees, became a fan favorite as a heralded 26-year-old rookie that at one point had given up baseball while earning the nickname 'El Oso Blanco' playing in the Mexican Leagues while making a comeback.

Wood was a late-season contributor after being called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on July 25 after Tim Hudson was lost for the season to an ankle injury.

'I like 'em all,' said Boyd. 'But Robert is excited about seeing (Evan) Gattis. I'm a Georgia boy so I like Alex Wood.'

Wood, who is expected to compete for a vacancy in the Atlanta's starting rotation left by Hudson in free agency, responded by going 3-1 as a starter the call up before making two relief appearances in the N.L.D.S. against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves Country Caravan will have stops on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Town Center in Kennesaw as well as Feb. 1, at the Academy Sports in McDonough.




More Sports

Local Racing

Morris picks up third Late Models win

Late Model points leader Glenn Morris continued his charge to a second straight championship with this third win of the season at Senoia Rac ... Read More


Strakose returns home to Newnan to begin coaching career

By DOUG GORMAN dgorman@newnan.com Adam Strakose is out to prove you can go home again. The former Newnan High School football All-State li ... Read More


Area Golf Digest

Smith wins Kirby Invitational at NCC

The annual Kirby Invitational at Newnan Country Club may be the oldest such tournament in Georgia. But this year's 36-hole event belonged to ... Read More


College Football/Where Are They Now?

Former prep stars take Mercer into new conference

There's not a lot of rich football history at Mercer University, but there's plenty of enthusiasm as the private school in Macon goes into i ... Read More


Coweta athletes pick up gold, silver at AAU Junior Olympics

DES MOINES - Just two days into this year's AAU Junior Olympics Track & Field Championships, the luggage already plans to be a little he ... Read More

High School Football

Depth in backfield could give Newnan’s offense a push

Aside from financial recourse in terms of facilities and/or salaries, maybe the biggest handicap high school football coaches have com- pare ... Read More