Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association jointly announced on Tuesday afternoon the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins will be the first professional teams to play a regular-season game on an active U.S. military base. The game will be played on Sunday, July 3, at a specially constructed, 12,500-capacity field on the Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina.
Fort Bragg is the largest military base in the United States and is home to over 250,000 service men, women, and families. The nationally televised event will be featured on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and MLB.TV and also will air on ESPN radio.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA were understandably excited to announce such a special event to be played over Independence Day weekend. Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a release stating, “Major League Baseball’s boundless gratitude to our military has led us to a unique event that will benefit the men and women of Fort Bragg and their families for many years. I thank the Braves and the Marlins for their participation and all of our clubs and players for contributing to this gesture, which will stand as a fitting new chapter in the national pastime’s proud and distinguished military history.”
Echoing the sentiments of commissioner Manfred, MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark remarked, “As the son of a Navy officer, I am extremely proud to stand with all players and Major League Baseball as we honor our nation’s military and our country, through the playing of a regular season game in historic Fort Bragg on Fourth of July weekend.”
The Braves will serve as the home team for the game and all 12,500 tickets will be available exclusively to military families at Fort Bragg. MLB and MLBPA also announced the field will be permanently retrofitted as a softball facility for those who live and work at Fort Bragg. Col. Brett Funck, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander, expressed his gratitude in saying, “We’re extremely grateful to Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association for their support to our service members and families. This historic event and the converted multipurpose facility will have enduring benefits for our entire Fort Bragg community for years to come.”