The Gwinnett Braves will reach back to their Richmond roots as they open their fourth season at Coolray Field against Durham on April 12.
The team will re-retire the uniform number of the late Richmond player and manager Tommie Aaron, whose No. 23 will be unveiled on the outfield wall before the 7:05 p.m. game.
Aaron, the younger brother of Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, died in 1984 at age 45 of leukemia while an Atlanta coach. He was the International League most valuable player with Richmond in 1967 and managed the team in 1977 and 1978.
Aaron played with the Braves in both Milwaukee and Atlanta, making his major league debut in 1962. He is part of the record for most homers in the majors by brothers, but hit just 13 of the 768.
The first 2,000 fans at the home opener, which is on a Thursday, will receive a G-Braves T-shirt featuring the 2012 schedule.
The second game of the opening home series against the Bulls will feature the first of 11 fireworks shows scheduled for the season, most on Fridays. There will be a fleece blanket giveaway for the third game and Jackie Robinson Day festivities for the series finale.
Giveaways during the season include a Brian McCann bobblehead on May 12 for the first 2,000 fans. As part of fan appreciation night on Aug. 30 for the season home finale, the first 1,000 fans will receive replica G-Braves jerseys.
Daily promotions for 2012 include kids eat free on Mondays, 2-for-1 tickets on Tuesdays and $3 berm seating on Thursdays after opening night. Kids will continue to be able to run the bases after Sunday games and there will be a pregame catch.
Season tickets are on sale at the Coolray Field Box Office and by calling 678-277-0340. Single-game tickets will go on sale Monday.CSS to carry
25 games againThe home opener against Durham on April 12 will be the first of 25 games televised on CSS, with Mike Morgan and former major leaguer Brian Jordan returning as the broadcast team.
All the games carried will be from Coolray Field and 23 of the 25 will be shown live. Two midweek day games will be shown on tape delay in the evening.
CSS has done 25 games each of the past three seasons.Minor leaguers
still not in campAlthough Atlanta's first Grapefruit League game is Saturday, Braves minor leaguers don't report to Florida until the end of next week and the first exhibition games aren't until March 17.
Of course, 21 players got invitations to major league camp and others destined for the minors are part of the 40-man Atlanta roster.
Gwinnett's Dave Brundage and other minor league managers and coaches help out with the major league team until the minor league squads are assembled.Eight G-Braves
on Top 30 listBaseball America's list of Atlanta's Top 30 prospects includes eight who were with Gwinnett at least part of last season.
Pitchers Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado are in the top three spots, with shortstop Tyler Pastornicky ranked seventh. The others on the list are pitchers J.J. Hoover at 12th, Billy Bullock at 24th, Eric Cordier at 26th and Cory Gearrin at 29th.
Hoover was converted from a starter to a reliever last season and the same is likely to happen with Cordier this year.