Results tagged ‘ dave lezotte ’

Spring Training Q&A with Todd Cunningham

Much like David Hale, outfielder Todd Cunningham has seen quite a shift in his expectations this spring.  A year ago, he entered Major League camp as the reigning Atlanta Braves Minor League Player of the Year, an award that earned him a spot as a non-roster invitee.  He played in 22 Grapefruit League games before ultimately opening the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, where he went on to hit .265 with 60 runs scored an 20 stolen bases.  This spring, Cunningham is a member of the 40-man roster with a taste of the Majors under his belt (he hit .250 in eight games for Atlanta last year), vying for a return trip to Turner Field.  Gwinnett Braves Media Relations Manager Dave Lezotte caught up with him today at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Todd Cunningham (center) has hit .250 with a home run and three RBIs in eight games for the Atlanta Braves thus far this spring. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Todd Cunningham (center) has hit .250 with a home run and three RBIs in eight games for the Atlanta Braves thus far this spring. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

DL:  Last year, you were a non-roster invitee to Braves Spring Training.  This year, you’re on the 40-man roster.  How does this spring compare to last year?

TC: Every year, you’re just trying to get ready for Spring Training.  Wherever you settle in the lineup or whatever team you end up on, it kind of works itself out.  It’s all about getting ready for the season and being ready to go for game one.

DL: You’re competing for a roster spot with Atlanta, going up against some former Gwinnett teammates like Jose Constanza and Joey Terdoslavich.  What’s that competition like?

TC: We all get along so well, there’s no bad blood among us.  It’s all about the competition.  We go out and we play hard, all of us enjoy the game of baseball.  We have that connection, that bond, regardless of what happens.  It’s all about going out there and playing hard.

DL: Obviously you still root for those guys when they’re at the plate.

TC: Yeah, they’re your teammates.  You’ve come up with them and played with them, so you want everyone to do well.

DL: Last year with Gwinnett, you hit two home runs all year.  In your third game this spring, you homered.  What was it like showing some power in a Major League Spring Training game?

TC: It feels good.  Hopefully that works itself into my swing; it’s something that I’ve tried to incorporate a little bit.  Hopefully that shows up throughout the whole season.

DL: As a G-Brave in 2013, you were the everyday centerfielder.  This spring, you’ve been playing a lot of left field.  Are you still working towards being in center, or is it left field now?

TC: The whole goal is to be able to play as many (positions) as possible.  You start looking at the levels above you, the big league level and who they have, and there’s a lot of contracts out there.  For me and my position, trying to find a way to get in there, you have to be able to play more than one.  The more positions I can play, the better, but obviously the longer I can stay in the middle of the field, the better, too.

DL: Is there different preparation involved for playing the corner outfield spots as opposed to center?

TC: Balls just don’t stay true on the corners, you get all the slices and hooks and top-spin.  It’s a lot about first-step reads.

DL: Last season with Gwinnett, you hit .265 and stole 20 bases.  Is there an area of your game that you’re working on improving for this year?

TC: Just being able to drive the ball consistently.  I’d kind of go through stretches last year where I’d get behind some balls.  To be able to do it throughout the whole year, would obviously improve (my) game.

DL: Last year, you got the opportunity to make your Major League debut with the Braves.  It was a limited stint, but certainly an eye-opening experience for you.  How important is that experience for you heading into this season?

TC: It’s great.  It put me in position to come in as a roster invitee. It was just a really cool experience, to kind of get (my) feet wet.  Especially when we were on that 14-game winning streak, it was a lot of fun to be in that atmosphere.

DL: Brian Snitker is the manager in Gwinnett this year.  You got a chance to work with him at the Major League level last season, what are your thoughts on Snit?

TC: I’m excited to have his experience transferred down to the Triple-A level.  He’s been around the game for a long time, so I’m sure there are things that everyone can pick up from him.

DL: The Gwinnett roster obviously will take shape once the Atlanta roster works itself out, but there should be a veteran presence on the club this year.   I know you guys aren’t thinking about Triple-A just yet, but what’s your early feeling about the Gwinnett club?

TC: The whole goal, like I said, is to get to the big leagues, but also be ready for game one.  I think everyone is going to be on the same page there and be ready in case the opportunity presents itself to be in Atlanta.  As far as how the Triple-A team is going to shape up, I think it’s going to be a lot of guys all with the same goal in mind, which is really cool when you get that many guys on the same page.  It should be an exciting year, wherever I end up.

DL: If you do end up back in Gwinnett at some point this season, how do you handle that?

TC: Just the same as I’ve always handled it.  It’s baseball, I’m trying to get better, I have things that I’m working on.  Keep the big picture in mind, trying to get back to Atlanta, and just keep working.

Spring Training Q&A with David Hale

This time last year, right-hander David Hale was working on adding a sinker to his repertoire and preparing for his first Triple-A season with Gwinnett.  A year later, the Marietta, GA native finds himself competing for an Opening Day roster spot with the Atlanta Braves, having already made his Major League season and postseason debuts last fall.  Gwinnett Braves Media Relations Manager Dave Lezotte caught up with Hale today at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Image

Hale, Atlanta’s third-round pick in 2009 out of Princeton University, went 6-9 with a 3.22 ERA in 22 games, 20 starts for Gwinnett last year. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

DL: Last year, you made your Triple-A debut, battled back from a right shoulder strain and made your Major League debut by season’s end.  A lot of things happened to you in one season.  What did you learn from those experiences?

DH: Just to stick with it, and to improve on the stuff that I have.  I added another pitch last year, my sinker.  It gave me a lot of confidence in pitching, and I could focus more on the art of pitching instead of just trying to overpower people.  I could actually go at them with a pitch that I could come in on them and then go away on them.  It’s more of an art to me now, to focus on pitching like that.

DL: September 13, 2013, you made your Major League debut for the Atlanta Braves.  Being from Marietta, growing up a Braves fan and getting a chance to make a debut in front of your family and friends, what was that like?

DH: It was incredible, I had so many people there that I haven’t seen in years.  To have all them come out and support me, it means a lot, it really does.

DL: You worked 5.0 scoreless, four-hit innings and struck out nine in that game.  You didn’t have more than nine strikeouts in any Triple-A start all season.  Did your performance surprise you that night?

DH: I think it did.  It was good for me because it gave me some confidence; let me know that I can perform at that level.  I couldn’t have asked for a better outing, just to do that in front of my family and friends, and like I said, to give myself some confidence.

DL: You got a win the next time out on September 26 vs. Philadelphia, and not long after, you were named to the Braves’ postseason roster.  How shocking was that?

DH: You know, I really wasn’t expecting that.  When it came down to it, I guess they were looking for a long relief kind of guy, and I was able to fill that spot.  It was a blast; it’s something that I certainly won’t ever forget.

DL: You pitched in Game 3 of the NLDS at Los Angeles, a tough 13-6 loss for the Braves.  Still, it was a huge personal moment for you at the end of that game.  What was it like stepping on the mound in the playoffs, at Dodger Stadium of all places?

DH: It was pretty cool to be on the mound during the playoff atmosphere.  Like you said, L.A., that place is enormous; I didn’t realize it was the largest stadium in the league.  It was a little daunting, but we were down a little bit, so that took away (some) of the nerves because it was out of our hands.  But still, my heart was racing and it was fun to be there.

DL: When we talked last season, one of the things we focused on was your use of video as preparation at the Triple-A level.  You have access to even more of that at the Major League level, what is your preparation like here?

DH: I kind of do the same thing.  We have a lot of the same video stuff in the big leagues as in Triple-A, so I always like watching that.  I get a feel for the hitter before I ever see him, so it’s like I’ve faced him before.  It’s being comfortable through knowledge, I guess.

DL: This year at Spring Training, you’re competing for a Major League roster spot.  What is that competition process like?

DH: It’s pretty stiff.  We have a lot of good starting pitching, so I’m just doing the best I can and hopefully putting the ball in the decision-makers’ courts.

DL: What are you working on the most this spring?

DH: Consistency, that’s something I’ll say for the rest of my career.  Working on that sinker, just being consistent with it, as well as my off-speed pitches.

DL: Do you have a good feel for that sinker so far this year?

DH: Yeah, it actually is feeling really good right now.  I’ve got to get that off-speed stuff going again, but it’s early obviously, and that’s why we have Spring Training.  Just getting the feel back.

DL: You’ve been a starter and a reliever in your minor league career.  Would you accept either role in the Majors?

DH: I’ll catch if they want me to.  Whatever they want me to do to be on this roster, I’ll do it.

DL: This is a young pitching staff, both the rotation and the bullpen.  Who do the young guys look up to on the staff?

DH: Like you said, it’s a pretty young staff.  (Kris) Medlen has taken on a big leadership role.  Then you have Freddy (Garcia), he’s been around forever, so we all look up to him.

DL: If you end up back in Gwinnett at some point this season, how do you handle that?

DH: Just stick with it and just keep getting better through practice.  I don’t think any team has ever had 25 men on it for the entire season.  I just need to put myself in position to take a spot if one opens up.

G-Braves Introduce Manager Brian Snitker

Manager Brian Snitker and GM North Johnson.  Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden. (For full press conference video-click photo.)

Manager Brian Snitker and GM North Johnson.
Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden.

The Gwinnett Braves held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to introduce their new Field Manager Brian Snitker.

In front of local media, VIP guests and front office staff, Snitker officially took over as the new skipper of the Gwinnett Braves. He replaces Randy Ready, who left the organization after one season with the Braves. Snitker will serve as the third manager in Gwinnett Braves’ franchise history.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” said Snitker. “I live 14 miles from here. I have raised my kids here in Lilburn and Brookwood High School. My mom lives five minutes from here. This couldn’t be any better for me.”

Snitker, who last served as the third base coach for the Atlanta Braves, has plenty of managerial experience, spending 17 seasons with the Atlanta Braves organization. He posted a career 1140-1145 record while leading ten different affiliates from 1982 through 2006. In 1999 and 2000, he led the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to consecutive Carolina League Championships. After the 2006 season, Snitker joined the Atlanta Braves as their third base coach and served under Hall of Fame Manager Bobby Cox and current Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez.

“I got to work with two of the better managers in the game of baseball, Bobby Cox and Fredi Gonzalez,” said Snitker. “They were practically the same guy on how they handled situations, players and the adversity that people don’t see on an everyday basis.”

Atlanta Braves prospects from left to right: Aaron Northcraft, J.R. Graham, Gus Schlosser, Kyle Kubitza and Lucas Sims. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

Atlanta Braves prospects from left to right: Aaron Northcraft, J.R. Graham, Gus Schlosser, Kyle Kubitza and Lucas Sims. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

The thirty minute conference was lighthearted and fun, as Snitker was joined by General Manager North Johnson, Media Relations Manager Dave Lezotte and Atlanta Braves prospects Lucas Sims, Kyle Kubitza, J.R. Graham, Gus Schlosser and Aaron Northcraft. Snitker and the prospects fielded questions from the local media as well as Gwinnett Braves season ticket holders. Snitker will head to Spring Training as soon as pitchers and catchers report to Lake Buena Vista, FL at the beginning of February.

Season ticket holders and G-Braves staff. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

Season ticket holders and G-Braves staff. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

All in all, it was a great day to be at Coolray Field. With the beginning of the season approaching, Snitker is up for the job. Gwinnett kicks off the home schedule at Coolray Field on Friday, April 11th at 7:05 p.m. against the Durham Bulls. For more information on the G-Braves and Coolray Field, visit Gwinnettbraves.com, as well as our social media outlets at facebook.com/GwinnettBraves1 and twitter.com/GwinnettBraves!

-Juan Dorado

New on the 40: Ryan Buchter

Yesterday, I delved a bit into the background of right-hander Wirfin Obispo, the hard-throwing Gwinnett Braves closer who was just added to the Atlanta Braves’ 40-man roster last Friday.  Today, it’s time to do the same for the other newest 40-man addition, left-hander Ryan Buchter.

The 26-year-old Buchter emerged as a bullpen force for the G-Braves last season, compiling a 4-0 record and a 2.76 ERA in 51 relief appearances.  In addition to converting all five of his save chances, the southpaw also ranked among International League relief leaders in strikeouts per 9.0 IP ratio (1st, 14.95) and lowest opponent batting average (3rd, .168).  Buchter’s most impressive work came down the stretch as he posted a 0.00 ERA over his final 14 appearances in August and September.

Much like Obispo, Buchter’s “breakout” season in 2013 came after a well-traveled start to his career.  Originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, the New Jersey native has already been traded twice.  The Nationals dealt him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery in 2008, and the Cubs moved him to Atlanta in a deal for right-hander Rodrigo Lopez in 2011.  Amid the ever-changing scenery, including stops in eight different leagues, Buchter put together All-Star seasons in the Class-A Midwest League in 2009 and the Double-A Southern League in 2010.

Buchter’s travels and subsequent learning experiences were featured in a story I wrote for the final regular-season issue of Tomahawk Talk last year.  In it, he reflected on his unlikely discovery by the Nationals, the benefits of being traded, his confidence gained from the 2012 Arizona Fall League, his “rollercoaster” 2013 season in Gwinnett and more.

Ryan Buchter, photo by Karl Moore / Gwinnett Braves.

Ryan Buchter, photo by Karl Moore / Gwinnett Braves.

Buchter Breaks Out

Left-hander Ryan Buchter has emerged as a go-to arm out of the Gwinnett Braves bullpen in 2013

by Dave Lezotte (published in Tomahawk Talk, August 26, 2013)

He may not qualify as the biggest prospect arm on the Gwinnett Braves’ roster, but what left-hander Ryan Buchter has been able to do in his first full Triple-A season is nothing short of impressive.  The New Jersey native has held International League hitters to a .178 batting average, striking out 83 over 51 innings in 42 outings this year.

Buchter’s professional career, including stops with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs organizations, has always been a bit under-the-radar.  Even his signing by Washington came about almost on accident.

“It was a mistake,” said Buchter about his discovery by the Nationals.  “I ended up pitching against somebody who was being scouted already.  I kind of outpitched him, and it all started from there.”

The pitcher being scouted by both the Nationals and the Cubs was Winslow Township High School right-hander Chris Rollins.  The Nationals passed on Rollins in the 2005 First Year Player Draft, but took Buchter in the 33rd round out of Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, NJ.

A draft-and-follow selection, Buchter attended Gloucester County Community College in nearby Sewell, NJ before starting his professional career in 2006 at age 19.  His first two seasons as a Nationals’ farmhand were anything but successful.  In his first year in the Gulf Coast League, he went 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA in 11 games, one start.  The next year, he went 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA at Short-A Vermont.  He finally showed some promise in 2008, going 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 games between the GCL and Class-A Hagerstown, but was traded away after the season.

The Nationals dealt Buchter to the Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery on November 3, 2008.  The change of scenery proved to be a turning point in his career.

“Getting traded kind of jump-started me,” said Buchter about the move to the Cubs.  “It made me take a different path in my career.  I started to work a little harder that off-season and it started to show right away.  From there, I kept building and building.  I attribute (my success) to being traded and not wanting to let the new team down.”

With his career refreshed in a new organization, Buchter put together two award-winning seasons in the Cubs’ system.  In 2009, he made his first professional All-Star Game, going 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and five saves in 38 games for the Peoria Chiefs of the Class-A Midwest League.  A year later, he was an All-Star again in the Double-A Southern League, going 7-2 with a 4.65 ERA in 47 games for the Tennessee Smokies.  His third campaign as a Cub began with mixed results as he split time between Tennessee and Advanced-A Daytona, but another shakeup was imminent.

On May 26, 2011, Buchter was traded for the second time.  The Cubs sent him to Atlanta in exchange for 35-year-old right-hander Rodrigo Lopez.

“I was just sent down to High-A to iron out some kinks,” reflected Buchter on the time of the trade.  “I started throwing well in Daytona with the intention of (moving back up) to Double-A or Triple-A.  When I got traded, (Daytona manager Buddy Bailey) pulled me aside and said ‘I have good news and bad news for you.  The good news is, you’ve been traded.  The bad news is, you’re going back to High-A.’  That was a difficult thing to handle.”

Buchter started his Atlanta Braves’ career with Advanced-A Lynchburg, going 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA and a career-high 15 savs in 2011.  In 2012, he moved on to Double-A Mississippi, returning to the Southern League for the first time since pitching with Tennessee.  Facing familiar competition, he boasted a 3-1 record, 1.31 ERA and four saves in 35 relief outings for the M-Braves.

“I just went out and did what I knew I could do,” said Buchter about his success.  “Just give me an opportunity and I’ll pitch and throw well, especially late in the game.  I embraced the role I was being used in, seventh, eighth, sometimes ninth (inning) and it worked out.”

His stint with Mississippi worked out for a late-season promotion to Gwinnett for his Triple-A debut.  Buchter went 0-2 with a 10.12 ERA in nine outings for the G-Braves, indicating that he still needed some refinement.  A trip to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League and an extended look in Braves’ Major League camp during the spring helped him regain confidence.

“It helped me iron out some bad habits that I created when I came up here (to Gwinnett),” said Buchter about his fall and spring assignments.  “It made me realize that I can get anybody out.  I can get the prospects out; I can get the big league guys out.  Once you realize that, I don’t want to say the game becomes easier, but you start to have a little more faith in yourself.”

Buchter began his 2013 season on Gwinnett’s Opening Day roster and was nearly unhittable early, postin a 1.00 ERA in nine April outings.  He came back down to earth in the summer months, going 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 28 games from May through July, but found his best stuff in August.  Through his first seven games, he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and one save.

“It’s been a pretty fun rollercoaster,” said Buchter about 2013.  “With pitching, it’s easy to be a perfectionist and want to go out and pick yourself apart for giving up a walk or giving up a hit.  Sometimes the hardest thing is to realize that if you throw up a zero (no runs), it’s actually a good inning no matter what else happens.”

He’s had plenty of those good innings lately for Gwinnett, most of them in pivotal spots.  With the departure of closer Cory Rasmus to the Los Angeles Angels in a July trade, Buchter has been given more opportunities to pitch with late leads and in save situations.  Pitching in tight ballgames is something he relishes.

“The game’s a little more fun when you’re out there and you’re up by one, down by one and you know your team needs you to throw up a zero,” said Buchter.  “It’s something that I’ve learned to embrace and I look forward to a one-run game.  I get a little antsy in the bullpen hoping they’ll call down and say my name, that way I get a chance to come in.”

Buchter has climbed to the top of the league in relief strikeouts thanks to a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s and a willingness to challenge hitters with it.  For the left-hander, getting ahead in the count quickly is the key to his prolific strikeout numbers.

“If I get ahead, a lot of times my success rate is a lot higher than a lot of guys,” said Buchter.  “Get strike one, and then I try to pitch to one side of the plate for righties and lefties.  If I get two strikes on a guy, then I’ll try to put him away.  It’s a very simple game plan.  A lot of fastballs; then I’ll mix the cutter in and then try to put them away with the breaking ball.”

Buchter’s professional career started with an unlikely discovery, progressed with three different organizations and has resulted in a 2013 season that has him closer than ever to the Major Leagues.  While he waits for a shot at Atlanta’s bullpen, he remains optimistic and focused.

“Obviously, you’re waiting for your turn, and for a lot of bullpen guys, it’s luck,” said Buchter.  “It’s luck and what the team has planned for you.  They may have a plan for you, they might not, but you’ve got to continue to stay focused on the task at hand down here (in Gwinnett).  It’s good to just keep your mind on things down here and do your job every day.  If you don’t do your job here, they’re not going to be looking for you anyway.”

The Atlanta Braves will certainly be giving Buchter a long look when Spring Training starts up in February.  For the first time in his career, he has the stability that comes from being on a Major League 40-man roster.

-DL

G-Braves, Paw Sox Game Postponed Tuesday

Steady rain resulting from a changing weather pattern forced the postponement of Tuesday’s scheduled 2:05 PM game between the Gwinnett Braves and Pawtucket Red Sox at Coolray Field. The game will be made up as a single nine-inning contest on Wednesday, August 29 beginning at 1:05 PM. All tickets for Wednesday’s game will be free to the public.

As a result of the rapidly changing weather ahead of Hurricane Isaac, Wednesday’s game was originally postponed with a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday, August 30 starting at 5:05 PM. That doubleheader is on as planned. With Wednesday now serving as the make-up date for Tuesday’s postponed game, the Gwinnett Braves have decided to make all admission for the 1:05 PM game free of charge. Thursday’s games will still feature regularly-priced tickets.

Fans are advised to continue checking in at gwinnettbraves.com for updated details on the remaining games of this final homestand. For tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340.

By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte

Christmas in July on Wednesday at Coolray Field

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Christmas comes early at Coolray Field on Wednesday, July 25 as the Gwinnett Braves celebrate “Christmas in July” during a 7:05 PM game against Durham. The G-Braves will host a toy drive with all toys collected going to North Atlanta Toys for Tots. The night will also include an appearance by Santa, a Christmas Ornament giveaway, numerous holiday-themed contests and more.

The toy drive aims to collect new, unwrapped toys for needy children ages 0-12. Each donor will receive a buy-one, get-one ticket coupon for the remainder of the G-Braves’ 2012 regular season.

Coolray Field will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with festive decorations around the ballpark and holiday attire worn by stadium staff. Fans are encouraged to join in and dress up in their favorite Christmas wear, including tacky holiday sweaters. There will be a tacky sweater contest held, as well as other contests and giveaways throughout the evening.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

The first 1,500 fans through the gates will receive a Gwinnett Braves Christmas Ornament. All in attendance will have the opportunity to win one of nine Christmas prizes, including a Coca-Cola hot dog toaster, Keurig coffee brewer, cotton candy maker, homemade ice cream maker, remote-controlled helicopter, bicycle, Nintendo WII system, Sony 5.1 surround sound system and a 32″ Toshiba HDTV.

Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase a pre-game picnic with Santa himself, including a game ticket plus a meal and cupcake decorating for $20. To secure your spot in the picnic, call the Coolray Field Box Office at 678-277-0340. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte

G-Braves, Knights Suspended by Rain Tuesday

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Rain has forced the suspension of Tuesday night’s series finale between the Gwinnett Braves and Charlotte Knights at Coolray Field. The game was scoreless when a storm stopped the action heading into the bottom of the second inning. The game will be resumed at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, SC on Thursday, July 5 at 5:15 p.m. A seven-inning contest will follow the continued game.

Tickets for Tuesday’s game can be exchanged for tickets to any remaining 2012 regular-season game by visiting the Coolray Field Box Office.

Julio Teheran made the start for Gwinnett on Tuesday prior to the rain. The right-hander worked a scoreless first inning before the weather cut short play in the second inning. Unfortunately for the G-Braves ace, his next start is now TBA.

The G-Braves (39-47) and Knights (48-38) will play a regularly-scheduled nine-inning game at Knights Stadium on Wednesday night, first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM. Left-hander Jose Lugo (1-4, 5.77) is expected to start for Gwinnett against right-hander Deunte Heath (4-2, 1.70) of Charlotte. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

The Gwinnett Braves return to Coolray Field on Friday, July 6 as they open a three-game series against the Durham Bulls. Tickets for all remaining home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte

Corey Smith Coming to Coolray Field July 14

PURCHASE TICKETS NOW

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. – Coolray Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves Triple-A affiliate Gwinnett Braves, will host Georgia native Corey Smith for a special one-night-only concert on Saturday, July 14. Smith, singer of the recent country hit “Twenty-One,” will be joined by opening acts Dustin LynchThe Farm, and Tyler Reeve. Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 27.

Click this link to visit the Corey Smith page in conjunction with the Gwinnett Braves for facts, info, fun and a special YouTube music video named “The Baseball Song” dedicated to the Atlanta Braves and baseball performed by Corey Smith.

Smith, born in Jefferson, GA, has been releasing country albums since 2003, when he debuted with Undertones. Rising to prominence through the legendary Athens music scene, he’s gone on to release In the Mood (2004), The Good Life (2005), Hard-Headed Fool (2007) and Keeping Up with the Joneses (2009). His latest effort is The Broken Record (2011), which featured the singles “Twenty-One” and “Maybe Next Year.”

Gates will open at 5:00 PM for the music festival which will be followed by the Red Clay Jamboree Fireworks Spectacular to cap off the day’s events.

Tickets range from $22.50 to $29 and will be available online and via the Coolray Field Box Office beginning at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 27. Seating options include Reserved Tickets in the Coolray Field seating bowl as well as General Admission Field Tickets and Pit Tickets. Suites are also available for up to 20 people and can be purchased through the Coolray Field Box Office.

For more information on the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, call (678) 277-0300 or visit gwinnettbraves.com. For more information on Corey Smith, visit coreysmith.com.

PURCHASE TICKETS NOW

By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte

The G-Blog Graces MLB.com’s Top 50 MLBlogs

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Myself (Tony Piraro), Dave Lezotte and Tony Schiavone can not thank you, the fans and supporters, enough for the support and commitment to not only your Gwinnett Braves, but to our G-Blog as well. Thank you, everyone! The G-Blog just made Major League Baseball’s Top 50 MLB Blogs at the No. 31 spot on the list. For the month of May alone, “The G-Blog” had nearly 5,000 views and our viewership is growing daily.

If you’d like to check out the Top 50 MLB blogs or MLBlogs.com please click this link

No matter what, we couldn’t do it without our Gwinnett Braves. The International League South leading G-Braves have done most of the heavy lifting for us this season, as their impressive peripherals speak volumes. Regardless, we have had a great deal of action here at Coolray Field in the last two months, since the season began on April 3, with the highly anticipated Exhibition Game between the Braves Top Prospects and the Atlanta Braves.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

It has been a whirlwind ever since the Braves All-Star Game with so many new and exciting events around every corner. Tim Hudson graced the Gwinnett faithful with his presence twice, as he started in front of a frenzied Coolray Field crowd for two victories. John Smoltz stopped by for his book signing of Starting and Closing and then sat down with me for a lengthy 3-part interview. We have seen five G-Braves make their accession to the next level with the Atlanta Braves or another Major League organization. We witnessed the incredible “Memorial Day Miracle” where the G-Braves scored six runs in their final at-bat to win 9-8 on Memorial Day against Lehigh Valley among other countless memories…

The great part is that the baseball season still has three months left, and then some. With the talent that the G-Braves possess, we could be in for a very exciting finish. Either way, all of us here with the G-Braves couldn’t do it without you, the fans. We appreciate your time and commitment to us, it never goes unnoticed. Thank you again for your support and we are striving to make The G-Blog better with each passing day. Stay tuned all season long for every piece of information on your Gwinnett Braves.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Game Postponed Until Monday

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

You would expect it to be a beautiful, sunny afternoon for a Mother’s Day game between your first place Gwinnett Braves and the Toledo Mud Hens. However, mother nature had other intentions, as the fourth game of the five-game series has been postponed until Monday. The G-Braves will be seeking their fifth straight victory when they next take the field. Gwinnett will also be looking to stay unbeaten against Toledo, as they are 6-0 versus the Mud Hens in 2012 heading into Monday’s twinbill.

Now, the G-Braves will end their current 11-game homestand with a doubleheader on the final day of it. First pitch for the first of two games is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. on Monday from Coolray Field. The second game of the double-dip will begin approximately 30 minutes after the first game ends.

Photo courtesy of Dave Lezotte

Both games are scheduled to last seven innings. The International League South Division-leading G-Braves (23-13) will likely start right-hander Eric Junge (3-3, 3.09) in game one and left-hander Yohan Flande (1-2, 2.93) in game two. Toledo is slated to start the Detroit Tigers No. 1 prospect in the form of right-hander Jacob Turner (0-0, 0.00) alongside left-hander Casey Crosby (3-2, 4.55). Both games will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Sunday’s Mother’s Day Diamond Dig has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 27, following Gwinnett’s 2:05 PM game against Rochester.

Monday is another Kids Eat Free night at Coolray Field, where all kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, a bag of chips and a small soda.

Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

By: Tony Piraro

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