Fans flock downtown for Braves Caravan
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The Atlanta Braves are on the road, but this trip is all about the fans. There's no doubt Chattanooga is Braves country, and the line that wrapped through Jacks Alley down Broad Street, up 4th and down Market Street was proof enough.
Fans arrived as early as 2:30 a.m. to guarantee an autograph from a few Atlanta superstars, headlined by rhea county's Cory Gearrin, and Jason Heyward.
The downtown streets were full of fans ranging from young to those who remember the move from Milwaukee. Age didn't matter, only the love for the Bravos, as the annual Braves Caravan rolled into town.
"I'm a Braves nut, I'm not a fan, I'm coming to get Jason Heyward to sign my jersey that I've been trying to get for three years," said June Bearden who drove from Calhoun, Georgia.
Bearden said she's tried to cross paths with Heyward at Turner Field but he get's there too early and leaves too late. Dedication she calls it. June finally caught up with J-Hey today.
Along with Heyward Chattanooga's stop included more from that amazing 2008 draft class. Rhea County's own Cory Gearrin, and of course fan favorite, Freddie Freeman.
One young fan yelled, "I love freeman! he plays first base, and I play first base! I've got a baseball ready to sign it."
It's more than a bat and a ball to these fans, it's a passion, and in some cases it's a reason to keep hope. Twenty-Eight-year-old Kyle Odom was paralyzed when he was nine. In a coma for 12 days, doctors said they noticed something when the Braves were on in his room.
Odom said, "I was in a coma, every time the Braves scored my heart rate would go up, I've been a Braves fan all my life."
Odom made the trip from Blairsville, he says no matter how old he gets meeting a Brave will always bring out the kid in him.
"It's a kids game, it's a kids game, they play it, we love them. Makes my day so much better watching the braves," said Odom.
The Chattanooga-to-Knoxville swing was the final day of the caravan's 25-city tour, covering more than 3,000 miles.
Atlanta pitchers and catchers will report for spring training in Florida on February 19.