Heyward Jerseys Soon To Be Ubiquitous At The Ted

You think Braves fans are aware of the top-prospect who made the team's starting lineup out of Spring Training this year? 

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Braves fans eager to commemorate Jason Heyward's major league debut bought up more than 500 new T-shirts and jerseys bearing his name during Monday's opener against the Cubs at Turner Field.

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That's saying something, since the Heyward apparel didn't go on sale until the fifth inning.

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The official count was 108 jerseys and 433 T-shirts, which over four frames was 135 jerseys per inning. Or, for you stat-heads out there, 1217 J/9. Considering the popular stereotype (presumably based on attendance trends) of Braves fans being blasé, the Heyward jersey rush was an impressive show of optimism about a player who had barely played in the majors. Perhaps they were all impulse buys, as Heyward earlier crushed a Carlos Zambrano fastball for a home run in his first-ever plate appearance. 

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The jersey rush (and the player it honored) also represent a great success for the Braves' strategy of drafting huge amounts of talent out of Georgia: 

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"It was awesome," said [Georgia native] Mikulak. "I was so excited to get one."

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"Heyward pitched in high school some," Mikulak said. "He actually struck me out a couple times. It was pretty intense. It was weird to think I'm 21, about to be 22, and he's only 20 years old, playing for the Atlanta Braves. I'm happy for him."

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Being a Georgia prep-star famously gave the Braves an edge in scouting the elusive Heyward, but having almost entirely home-grown, local superstars is a huge marketing advantage, too.

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Hopefully, for these 541 fans and the many yet to buy, #22 is a better investment than #7, the previous local-boy to play rightfield and hit a home run in his first major league game.

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