MLB

Marlins-Braves Preview

ATLANTA -- Having to make an extra trip to play a midseason game at a neutral site would normally by cause for grumbling.

That's not the case, however, with the historic game Sunday night at Fort Bragg, N.C., between the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.

"Everybody looking at it as an honor," Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. "It will be an honor to go play for them, give them a little something back. See those guys. Have lunch with them."

The game, announced in March, will be the first major professional sporting event at an active United States military base, and a 12,500-seat temporary stadium was constructed for the event.

All tickets will go to military personal and their dependents. Others will have to watch on ESPN at 8:05 p.m. ET.

"It won't be a big stadium but it will be a big game, on ESPN and everything," Braves starter Matt Wisler said. "It should be a pretty exciting night."

The teams were to stay Saturday night in Fayetteville, N.C., after flying in from Atlanta, then spend a full day on the massive Army base Sunday before heading out for their next games.

The Braves (28-53) play in Philadelphia on July 4, while the Marlins (42-39) will head on to New York to play the Mets.

Atlanta has won two of the first three games in the series against Miami and is 8-3 this year against the Marlins.

Miami reliever Mike Dunn was part of a group of major leaguers who spent a few days embedded with the troops at Fort Bragg in 2014.

"I've always appreciated our service men and women, but going there and spending time with them one-on-one really gave me a different outlook on it," Dunn said.

"To visit there was unforgettable, and I think this game will be unforgettable, too."

Said Marlins manager Don Mattingly: "It really is an honor to be able to go. I'm excited about it. From our standpoint, it should be an appreciation.

"It seems like not only baseball but all sports and the nation itself have been a lot better lately about honoring our military and respecting what they do for us."

It is the finale of a four-game series between the Braves and Marlins that began Thursday at Turner Field, and figures to be the most memorable of the 19 the teams play this season.

"These military guys that we're going to be around are the real heroes who give us an opportunity to do what we do every day," Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.

Left-hander Adam Conley (4-5, 3.90 ERA) will start for the Marlins and try to stay unbeaten against Braves. He is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two starts this year and 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA in four career outings.

Right-hander Wisler (3-7, 4.14 ERA) has pitched only twice against the Marlins, getting a save in his only relief appearance this season.

The attention won't be on the starting pitchers, though. They will be far secondary to the event itself.

"I feel like the energy is going to be great," Mattingly said.

Added left fielder Christian Yelish of the Marlins: "For me personally, it's going to be awesome, who has a brother in the Marines. "As soon as we found out about it in spring training, I've been waiting for it to come along."

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