On Sunday, the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves will square off at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, marking a game that is as historic as it is unique.
First announced in March, this initiative by Major League Baseball to honor America’s military will mark the first regular season game by a major sports league to be played on a military base. In recent months, plenty of work has been done to assure that Fort Bragg is ready for the event.
The game will be played in a 12,500-seat ballpark that was built specifically for this event. With construction being overseen by BaAM Productions, the venue built on the former site of a golf course will feature clubhouses, batting cages, and basic fan amenities such as concessions and restrooms.
Perhaps the most unique installation is that of a remote replay booth. Rather than running through MLB’s replay center in New York, all reviews during the game will be conducted at an operations center at Fort Bragg.
The replay center will be one of the many structures that are in place for the game and it, like the others, will be removed for the next phase of this initiative. Following the game, the field will be converted into an outdoor recreational facility for base personnel and their families. Recreational sports—particularly softball and youth sports—are popular base activities, and this project will help Fort Bragg replace fields that were previously removed to make way for other additions to the base.
Some parts of the ballpark will remain after the game. The recreational facility will still feature the playing surface used in the game, as well as the bullpens, foul poles and dugouts.
The construction of the ballpark and the subsequent recreational space is the result of a donation between MLB and the MLB Players Association. All reports indicate that the building process has gone smoothly and that all of the finishing touches should be in place on Sunday night.
“I couldn’t be happier with the progress that the team has made,” MLB field consultant Murray Cook recently told the AP. “We’re right there. We’ve got all our grass in, we’ve got all our seats in,” … “All that’s left is just details.”
Admission to the game is limited to base personnel and their families. There will be an opportunity for the viewing audience to check out the game, as it will air on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. as part of Sunday Night Baseball. This game concludes a four-game series that begins in Atlanta on Thursday, making the Braves the home team for Sunday’s contest.
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