Today is the 40th anniversary of the day that will go down in history as one of the biggest moments in not just baseball but sports history as well. 40 years ago on this date during the bottom of the 4th inning against Al Downing, Hank Aaron hit a 1-0 pitch into the left field bullpen to (inconsequentially) tie the game at 3, but more importantly, break Babe Ruth's record of career HRs. How does Aaron feel about his place in history?
"It means an awful lot to me," Aaron said. "I'm not one to go around bragging about certain things. I played the game because I loved the game. It was a great challenge to me. I'm quite thrilled that people, for the first time, have seen fit that whatever [I] did should be appreciated. It makes me feel good."
Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 7, 2014
Tomorrow's the home opener for the Braves, and with plenty of festivities going on for the occasion (including celebration of Hank Aaron's big anniversary), the Braves are urging fans to get to the ballpark early and to be in their seats by at least 6:30 PM EST. We've got a great idea for a place for you to kill time before then, though.
According to a study done by Brand Keys, the Atlanta Braves have the 4th most loyal fans in all of baseball. They came to this conclusion by mixing together "Pure Entertainment, Authenticity, Fan Bonding, History, and Tradition" with on-field results, merchandise sales, tv ratings, and other factors. The title of Most Loyal Fanbase went to the St. Louis Cardinals. This goes down as another ringing endorsement for their fans.
It's a new year, so there are a few changes to Turner Field as we head into the final stages of the clearly old and decrepit stadium's lifespan. The new additions to the stadium include Sweetwater Brewing taking over the beer island in the fan plaza, charging stations for your phone, and brand new displays in the Braves museum. To top it all off, there will be a commemorative wall banner on the left field wall at a "comparative spot" to where Hank Aaron hit #715 back at Fulton County Stadium.
League Wide News
Former Braves (and most recently Texas Rangers) pitcher Tommy Hanson has latched on with another Major League team, and this time it's the Chicago White Sox. Hanson signed a minor league deal with the White Sox, and it's pretty clear that this is solely a depth move. Hard to believe that Hanson is now considered "depth" for one team when there was a point where he was an extremely bright spot in the Braves organization.
In a trade that will probably float under the radar, the Minnesota Twins traded left-handed pitching prospect Miguel Sulbaran to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Eduardo Nunez. Nunez will be used as a bench player for the Twins, in all likelihood.
After 3B Will Middlebrooks was sent to the DL with a calf injury, the Red Sox were in need of help at that position. Help has come in the form of former Tampa Bay Rays 3B Ryan Roberts, as Roberts has signed a Major League deal with the Red Sox worth $1 MM. Roberts hit .247/.295/.377 with 5 HRs and 97 wRC+ in 60 appearances in 2013 with the Rays, which was good enough to basically be considered a replacement-level player.
The thumb that was giving Brewers OF Ryan Braun problems before he did his time for being a PED cheat is bothering him again, this time causing numbness. The nerve injury could cause the former NL MVP to undergo surgery and if that happens, then Braun is probably going to spend most of this season on the sidelines after he spent the final 65 games of last season on the sidelines.
In a very unfortunate scene last night, current Royal and former Brave Omar Infante took a Heath Bell fastball to the face, and although Infante did get up almost immediately, it was clear that he was in a great deal of pain. The Royals also fear that Infante may have sustained a concussion during the incident. This is a pretty sour start to a 4-year contract that he signed with the Royals after spending last season with the Detroit Tigers.