SOUTH FORSYTH — Anyone that has ever listened to an Atlanta Braves game on the radio has heard Don Sutton. On Friday, some young fans got to put a face with that voice.
The longtime broadcaster and Hall of Famer joined Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell and pitchers David Hale, Craig Kimbrel, Shae Simmons and Jason Hursh, the organization’s 2014 minor league pitcher of the year, at Academy Sports and Outdoors on Peachtree Parkway. Their appearance was part of the Braves’ winter caravan to meet fans and sign autographs.
“That’s one of my favorite things about being a broadcaster,” Sutton said. “I like being the link between the game and the people at home who can’t be there. I want them to wish they were there, and I hope tomorrow that they remember what happened, not who said what.”
“So what events like this give me a chance to do is meet people face to face that I know I’ve been talking to.”
Sutton, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998, played for several Major League teams. While that didn’t include the Braves, the Alabama native said he always felt a connection to Atlanta.
“Being from the South, the one job I wanted was to come back to TBS, and that’s how I ended up being with the Braves,” Sutton said. “It has been a wonderful 25 years.
“I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. I guess I feel more a part of the Braves than I do any ballclub I ever played for, because I’ve seen so many kids come through here, and they’ve treated me like a part of the organization.”
As much as Sutton and the Braves enjoyed the visit, there was little doubt the fans enjoyed it more. Gehrig Frei, 12, got a bat signed by the players, including Kimbrel, one of his favorites.
“This is probably our sixth caravan that we’ve been to since they started it, and we love it,” said his mother, Teri. “These guys are so gracious. It’s worth waiting in line to see them and we appreciate it.”
Michael Costello, a regional marketing specialist with Academy, said different players appear at the various stops, but that the company was pleased to bring the caravan to Forsyth County.