Why these five celebrities love the Braves

Actor Michael Kelly is best known for his role as Doug Stamper in the Netflix drama series House of Cards is seen at the stands before the game between the Braves and Cubs at Truist Park on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Atlanta..Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Actor Michael Kelly is best known for his role as Doug Stamper in the Netflix drama series House of Cards is seen at the stands before the game between the Braves and Cubs at Truist Park on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Atlanta..Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

The Braves have one of the biggest fan bases among Major League Baseball teams in part due to media maverick Ted Turner airing Braves games nationwide on TBS, initially dubbed “the Superstation,” starting in 1977.

Although Turner’s corporate successor Time Warner ended Braves telecasts on TBS 30 years later in 2007, fandom still runs deep in 2023. We spoke to five well-known Braves fans in the world of news, music and acting about their loyalty and how they feel about this year’s team before the playoffs begin.

There is a lot of love for Dale Murphy and Chipper Jones, a lucky T-shirt and a boy named Brave.

Nancy Grace wearing her lucky Braves t-shirt in her Atlanta recording studio on Sept. 20, 2023. CONTRIBUTED/NANCY GRACE

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/NANCY GRACE

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED/NANCY GRACE

Nancy Grace

Best known as: Atlanta-based true crime expert formerly on Court TV and HLN, now on Fox Nation and SiriusXM

Growing up: Grace grew up in rural Georgia and said the only two stations her TV could pick up were CBS and TBS. “We would watch the Braves, America’s team and became huge fans way way back then.

Big fan of: Chipper Jones. “I gave my nephew and niece life-size cutouts of Chipper for Christmas years ago. Ordered that online. But I would buy them memorabilia every year because there was a Braves store at CNN Center. I spent more time there than the grocery store!”

Spring training: “We’d drag the twins (her two children) to spring training every year and have them sit in the heat and sweat it out in the nosebleed seats. We go to games at Truist at least seven or eight times a year. I don’t want my twins growing up to be Mets or Yankees fans!”

Never complacent: “I’m always nervous. I was nervous when they got their World Series trophy in 2021. Was that really happening? I’m with the Braves, win or lose.”

But super superstitious: “I have one particular Braves T-shirt I wear. If I wear any other shirt, things go sideways. I wear it when I go to a game or even watch them on TV. If they start doing badly, I change into another Braves shirt. I have five of them but one of them is magic.”

George Wallace at a Braves/Mets game in 2023 in Citi Field in New York City. CONTRIBUTED

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED/

George Wallace

Best known as: stand-up comic going back to the late 1970s

Nirvana at Truist Park: “I’m spoiled. I like to sit behind first base or home plate. I don’t want to sit in the sun. I was there a month ago in the Delta 360 suite where the rich people go. That’s ballin’! That’s having a good time: free food, nine different cuisines, seats right behind home plate. They were throwing food at you!”

The 2023 team: “This is the best team ever. I can’t name a bad player on the team. I’m just afraid that if Philadelphia gets hot again, we could go down because that’s how the playoff system works.”

Favorite current players: “Ronald Acuña of course. Matt Olson is excellent. These guys are breaking all these records. Michael Harris, Austin Riley, the two catchers. Heck, I even like Vaughn Grissom and he isn’t on the roster right now!’

Love for the Battery: “The Braves have their own little world around the park. I love to brag about it. You don’t even have to go to a game to visit the Battery. It’s beautiful!”

Echoing the segregationist governor George Wallace of the same name: “Atlanta Braves today, Atlanta Braves tomorrow, Atlanta Braves forever!”

Ed Roland with his son Lennon at a Braves game. CONTRIBUTED/Ed Roland

Credit: CONTRIBUTED by Ed Roland

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED by Ed Roland

Ed Roland

Best known as: lead singer of pop-rock band Collective Soul

Early memories: “I remember the day Ted Turner managed. I loved Al Hrabosky, the Mad Hungarian. Loved his character. The Braves always meant family to me. They remind me of my dad Ed Roland Sr. He was a minister. We didn’t have a lot of money so we’d go to doubleheaders. I remember seeing Johnny Bench and The Big Red Machine. I saw Tom Seaver pitch. And now I take my son Lennon there all the time.”

Fame connection: “I’ve gotten to know Chipper and Andruw Jones. I’m still trying to get Dale Murphy into the Hall of Fame.”

Convenience: “I was thrilled when the Braves moved to Truist because I live two miles from there. And I have a friend who has an apartment in the Battery. If I enjoyed the game too much, I can just crash at his place instead of driving two miles down the road.”

His read on the Braves this season: “I think it’s theirs to lose. The Braves should win. They have the most talent. And the Braves have their core talent under contract for years. This is a dynasty in the making.”

Favorite Braves: “Ronald Acuña Jr. is unbelievable. He’s fun to watch. I like Spencer Strider. Great look, great style. He looks like Jack the Ripper!”

Actor Michael Kelly shows off his Atlanta Braves fandom on social media in 2018. X

Credit: Twitter/X

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Credit: Twitter/X

Michael Kelly

Best known as: actor on ‘House of Cards” and “Jack Ryan”

Childhood memories: He grew up in Lawrenceville and graduated Brookwood High School. “I found out Dale Murphy was a neighbor before he moved to a nicer neighborhood down the street. He was next door neighbor to a friend of mine. I was playing in his backyard and Murph invited us over to play wiffleball. That I would say is my coolest young memory. Murph and I have since communicated on social media but we haven’t met up. ... He is one of the greatest human beings to ever play the game.”

Larry! Larry!: “I have lived in New York for 25 years surrounded by Mets and Yankees fans. Chipper was more than just a phenomenal player. He owned the Mets. He named his kid Shea for God’s sake! I remember when Chipper was about to retire. My son was just born. He was six months old. My daughter was three. I was living in the lower east side of New York City. I wanted to see his final game at Citi Field and I insisted on bringing the kids. I had to hold my son’s head up toward the plate. He’s now 11 and a huge Braves fan. He can say he was there.”

Attended a 2021 World Series game: “I went to Game 4 with the rocket ship by [Jorge] Soler. It was a non-action game but at the end it was electric.”

The 2023 team: “ If you look at the total package, I think this could be the greatest team the Braves have ever put together. And I’m going back to the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz days. What they were able to do without (Max) Fried and (Kyle) Wright for much of the season was incredible.”

Favorite four: Acuña, Strider, Harris, Olson. “It’s so evident we are a team. You see it in the dugout. I’ve been to Baltimore, Fenway, Citi Field. You just don’t see a team behave the way this team does. You see them want to win for the teammate next to them.”

High anxiety: “When it comes to baseball, I’m a wreck. The irrationality of sitting there watching a baseball game even during the regular season. My heart rate rises. You know every game counts. If I’m watching my son’s baseball games, I’m tracking the game on my phone.”

Omari Hardwick (left) as a Little League Braves player with his friend Marcelius Haynes. CONTRIBUTED/Omari Hardwick

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/Omari Hard

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED/Omari Hard

Actor Omari Hardwick with a Braves cap and his dog Boss Baby on Sept. 29, 2023. CONTRIBUTED/Omari Hardwick

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/Omari Hw

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED/Omari Hw

Omari Hardwick

Best known as: lead actor from the hit Starz drama “Power”

Early Braves dedication: Growing up in Decatur, he played catcher in Little League for a team dubbed the Braves, which only cemented his loyalties. “I loved Bob Horner, Claudell Washington. Ron Gant. And of course Deion Sanders playing for both the Braves and the Falcons. Then the Bobby Cox years with Chipper and those pitchers, (John) Smoltz, (Tom) Glavine, (Steve) Avery. They were phenomenal!”

He named his now eight-year-old son: Brave. “He plays baseball of course. He’s a switch hitter. And my daughter Nova is 10 and she still plays baseball, not softball. I can’t wait to hear them cheer for my hometown team!”

Favorite current players: “There are so many to choose from. Austin Riley, Marcell Ozuna. My wife is from St. Louis and loved Ozzie Smith. Now we have Ozzie Albies. I love what Michael Harris has done.”

This year’s team: “We are a force to be reckoned with. It’s kind of dope how our hitting has become what it is. I feel confident about this team going forward. I hope they work out their pitching kinks because pitching is everything in the playoffs.”

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