Fort Bragg Game

The Fort Bragg Game was a Major League Baseball (MLB) game played between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves of MLB's National League at Fort Bragg Stadium in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on July 3, 2016. The game was broadcast on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. The game was the first regular season professional sports event ever held on an active military base, and the first MLB game played in North Carolina. The Marlins defeated the Braves, 5–2. After the game, the grandstands were removed, and the field became a multi-use sporting ground.

Fort Bragg Game
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Atlanta Braves000000002250
DateJuly 3, 2016 (2016-07-03)
VenueFort Bragg Stadium
UmpiresHP: Alfonso Márquez
1B: Larry Vanover
2B: David Rackley
3B: Chris Guccione
Ceremonial first pitchSFC Corey Calkins, US Army[1]
TV announcersESPN:
Dan Shulman (play-by-play)
Aaron Boone (analyst)
Jessica Mendoza (analyst)
Buster Olney (reporter)
RadioESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes Radio


Tony Clark (left), Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend (center), and Rob Manfred (right) at a pregame press conference

In 2015, Major League Baseball (MLB) approached the United States Department of Defense with an idea to host a regular season MLB game at a military base.[1] The following March, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred publicly announced that the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves would play a regular season game at Fort Bragg on July 3, 2016, the day before Independence Day, to honor the nation's military.[2] MLB and the MLB Players Association spent $5 million to convert an unused golf course on the base into a stadium with a capacity of 12,500.[3] Tickets for the game were free to military personnel and their families through a lottery system.[1]

The Fort Bragg Game became the first regular season professional sporting event to ever be held on an active military base,[4] and the first MLB regular season game ever held in the state of North Carolina.[5] The game aired on ESPN as part of their Sunday Night Baseball coverage. Dan Shulman provided play-by-play, while Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone served as analysts and Buster Olney as a game reporter. ESPN also distributed the game on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Deportes Radio.[6]

Before the game, players visited the Womack Army Medical Center. Manfred, Joe Torre, and MLBPA Director Tony Clark visited the local Fisher House.[7] A baseball clinic for over 200 children was held on July 2.[8] After the game, the grounds was converted into a softball field and multipurpose recreational complex for active duty personnel.[9]


MLB allowed each team to carry an additional position player on their active roster; the Braves called up Ronnier Mustelier from the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves, while the Marlins called up Yefri Pérez from the Double-A Jacksonville Suns.[10] Neither player appeared in the game and Mustelier never played in a game in Major League Baseball.


Fort Bragg Stadium was built solely to host the Fort Bragg Game

The Braves served as the home team, while the Marlins were the visitors. Adam Conley was the starting pitcher for Miami, and Matt Wisler started for Atlanta. The game was scoreless through four innings. In the fifth inning, Adeiny Hechavarria hit a triple and scored on a run batted in (RBI) single by J. T. Realmuto. Realmuto scored after singles by Martín Prado and Christian Yelich. The Braves had the bases loaded in the fifth inning, but failed to score.[8]

The Marlins scored three more runs in the final innings; Realmuto scored on an RBI single by Prado in the seventh inning, Giancarlo Stanton hit a triple in the eighth inning and scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Derek Dietrich, and Realmuto hit a home run in the ninth inning. The Braves scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning when Erick Aybar had an RBI double that scored Tyler Flowers, and A. J. Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly that scored Jeff Francoeur, but were unable to narrow the gap further. The win increased Miami's winloss record to 43–39 (.524 winning percentage), 6+12 games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East and 1+12 games out of a wild card slot. The loss dropped the Braves to 28–54 (.341), the worst record in MLB.[8]

Line score

Sgt. 1st Class Alex Burnett (left) and Arodys Vizcaíno (right)
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Atlanta Braves000000002250
WP: Adam Conley (5–5)   LP: Matt Wisler (3–8)
Home runs:
Away: J. T. Realmuto (5)
Home: None

Box score

Zack Hample controversy

Zack Hample, a baseball collector who is not active duty military personnel, sought a ticket to the game on social media, offering to pay up to $1,000 for a ticket.[11] After he came under widespread criticism for taking a ticket to a game that was meant for military personnel, Hample quickly announced that he would donate $100 for every ball he collected to a charity for military veterans.[12] Hample claimed to have caught 11 balls and claimed he would donate $1,100 to AMVETS.[13] He posted a lengthy apology on Twitter, which CBS sportswriter Mike Axisa stated "boils down to 'I'm sorry but I really wanted to go.'"[14][13]

See also

  • List of neutral site regular season Major League Baseball games played in the United States and Canada


  1. Joe Mock, Special for USA TODAY Sports. "Marlins top Braves in unique Fort Bragg Game". USA Today. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  2. "Braves, Marlins to play at Fort Bragg". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  3. "MLB officials busy before Fort Bragg game". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  4. "Marlins, Braves to play first professional game on active military base | MLB". Sporting News. March 8, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  5. "Fort Bragg celebrates history in first Major League Baseball game in North Carolina & Observer". July 3, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  6. Thompson, Gianina (June 27, 2016). "ESPN to Televise the Fort Bragg Game Presented by Chevrolet on Special July 3 Edition of Sunday Night Baseball". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  7. "Fort Bragg game is one to remember for baseball players and fans". ESPN. July 4, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  8. Jaffe, Jay (July 3, 2016). "Marlins top Braves on historic night at Fort Bragg". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  9. "Braves and Marlins to play at Fort Bragg this summer". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  10. Hummer, Steve (July 3, 2016). "Braves, Marlins get extra body for Sunday night game". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  11. Brooks, Drew (July 4, 2016). "Baseball hawker Zack Hample gets into Fort Bragg Game, stirs up social media firestorm – News – The Fayetteville Observer – Fayetteville, NC". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  12. Axisa, Mike (July 4, 2016). "Noted ballhawk donating $100 to charity for each ball caught at Fort Bragg game". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  13. Axisa, Mike (July 4, 2016). "There's a petition to ban notorious ballhawk Zack Hample from MLB ballparks". Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  14. Rodger Mullen Staff. "Baseball collector apologizes for attending Fort Bragg Game – News – The Fayetteville Observer – Fayetteville, NC". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
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