We re less than a month from Opening Day, so it s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Atlanta Braves.
1. • They Defend Our Shores, And Home Plate. In addition to hitting .545 to earn Most Valuable Player honors in the 1914 World Series, Boston Braves catcher Hank Gowdy had the distinction of serving in both World Wars — the only Major Leaguer to have done so.
2. • Chipper Jones Is A Good Tipper. Jones was involved in a scandal in 1997 when he fathered a child by a Hooters waitress he met on the road while still married to his childhood sweetheart, Karin. Jones then divorced Karin and married Sharon Logonov (not the Hooters girl, though she is also named Sharon), but he still supports the child. So it may not surprise you that Jones' at-bat music at Turner Field is the Ozzy Osbourne song Crazy Train.
3. • They're, Uh, A Little Politically Incorrect. Roundly criticized for their ethnic nickname and for selling plastic and foam tomahawks for fans to use in the "tomahawk chop" war cry chant, the Braves point out that the tomahawks are actually produced by Cherokee manufacturers in North Carolina. Their response to the criticism? "As long as they keep buying them, we'll keep making them." At least they don't have Chief Knock-a-Homa anymore.
4. • You Know Larry The Cable Guy Is A Fan. Where else but at Turner Field can you see Jimmy Carter passing a Polish sausage across to RuPaul? Other famous Braves fans are Elton John, Cee-Lo, Ludacris, Lil Jon and Jeff Foxworthy. And speaking of fans, outfielder Jeff Francoeur has a personal rooting section that shows up at every home game. Sitting above the tunnel in right field are three or four fans dressed in hot dog costumes, referring to themselves as "Francoeur's Franks." Not quite as inspiring as serving in two World Wars, but it'll do.
(Tomorrow: The Boston Red Sox)