Lawrenceville man is G-Braves' 1M fan

Photo by Ben Beitzel

Photo by Ben Beitzel

LAWRENCEVILLE — When Richard Zolecki arrived at Coolray Field with his wife Annette for Monday night’s Gwinnett Braves game against the Louisville Bats, he wasn’t ready to just walk in to the ballpark.

Attending the game as part of a group of fellow retirees from the now closed General Motors plant in Doraville, the Lawrenceville resident offered to lend a helping hand to the people handing out tickets to the rest of the group.

“We had 32 people that came out in this group (Monday) night — all GM retirees,” Zolecki said. “I was talking to the two guys out front that were giving out tickets to the people as they came up. I tried to relieve one of them. I said, ‘You know, It’s hot out here. I’ll do this. Do you want to go in?’ He said, ‘Oh no, you go in. … Then I said to one of the guys I was going to relieve, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody in our group won that thing?’”

That “thing’ was becoming the one millionth fan in the G-Braves’ brief history, and it was a distinction that soon belonged to Zolecki.

“(G-Braves general manager North) Johnson grabs me and says, ‘Sir, can you come over here,’” Zolecki said. “I’m thinking, ‘What did I do wrong?’ Then he says, ‘You’re the millionth fan,’ and the confetti flies and all this stuff is going on, and I said, ‘Oh my goodness.’”

Aside from the moment in history, the Zoleckis also received several other benefits, including two tickets to the Sun Trust Club area for an upcoming Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field, season tickets to the G-Braves the rest of this season and next, parking, a personalized jersey autographs and $100 in G-Braves bucks.

“We come out here, not all the time, but we’ve been here six times this year,” Zolecki said. “It’s just been a great night.”