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On Sunday, the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins will finish their four-game series at Turner Field by playing a game somewhere that is not Turner Field. The game is going to be played at Fort Bragg, an Army base and the largest military base in the world. (It has over 50,000 active duty personnel.) This is a history-making game: it will be the first time any professional sport has played a regular season game on a military base. The only people who will have tickets to the game will be active-duty soldiers, their families and personnel from the U.S. Department of Defense — with special seating reserved for disabled veterans. Tickets to this game are non-transferable and cannot be sold, something which Fort Bragg officials had to remind people recently, so the general public will only be able to see this game on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
The stadium that they’re playing in at Fort Bragg wasn’t even a stadium when the project was announced in March. It was, well, nothing. In four months, Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, BaAM Productions and many groundskeepers built a temporary stadium that will hold 12,500 people on a field of newly planted Bermuda turf. And it’s more than just four walls, some seats and a diamond. This stadium has a fully functioning press box, tunnels, locker rooms for the players, air conditioned tents for "dignitaries" and trailers for operations staff — plus one with showers for the players to use after the game.
This game has a lot of significance for a lot of people. Christian Yelich is honored to take part in the game and pay tribute to his younger brother, Cameron, a Marine who is currently serving in Japan. Fort Bragg officials have arranged a pre-game meet-and-greet for 97-year-old Hubert Edwards, a WWII veteran and lifelong Braves fan who has loved baseball since his battery commander overseas let him and his fellow soldiers listen to the World Series broadcast on their radios one night. There’s even a special exhibit about baseball and the military at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. MLB and the MLBPA may have spent $5 million constructing the stadium and putting on the game, but it seems like it’s going to be well worth it. Hopefully there are more games like this in baseball, and all professional sports, in the future.
- The Braves officially signed top international prospect Kevin Maitan, and Talking Chop wanted everyone to get to know him better.
- Jake Arrieta is very naked on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue.
- Joey Votto, master troller, denied fans in Washington a souvenir baseball. I think he’s enjoying his role as MLB’s best villain, don’t you?
- Mike Trout used a skywriter to propose to his girlfriend, which is absolutely adorable.
- Rajai Davis hit for the cycle, but the Indians lost anyway, ending their 14-game win streak.
- The Angels dropped a thorough, historic beating on the Red Sox last night, beating them 21-2. No, that is not a football score.
- The Twins also put a massive hurting on the Rangers, beating them 17-5, and Eduardo Nunez fell on his backside trying to hit a knuckleball pitched by the Twins’ backup catcher. It was that kind of night in baseball.
- When he first met Sandy Koufax, Vin Scully apparently thought he had "no chance" of making it in the majors. Stick to broadcasting, Vin! (Just kidding! We love you!)
- If you have any idea what exactly Clint Hurdle is doing with his arms in the dugout, please let me know, because I have no earthly idea.