Fort Bragg trip hits home for Yelich

Marlins left fielder's younger brother is in the Marines

Fort Bragg trip hits home for Yelich

DETROIT -- Playing a game that matters on Sunday at Fort Bragg, N.C., certainly hits home for Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich. The trip carries special meaning because the 24-year-old's brother, Cameron, is in the Marines.

"For me personally, it's going to be awesome," Yelich said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

The Marlins and Braves will make history by becoming the first teams in any major professional sports league to play a regular-season game on an active U.S. military base. The Fort Bragg Game will be televised nationally on ESPN, which adds to the overall experience.

"As soon as we found out about it in Spring Training, I was kind of excited for this date," Yelich said. "I've been waiting for it to come along. Hopefully, the service men and women enjoy the game, and enjoy the day as well. I hope they're excited."

Braves, Marlins on Fort Bragg

When Cameron is overseas, he touches base with Christian any way possible. Sometimes it's in the form of a brief text message that may take days or even weeks for a response.

But Cameron recently surprised his older brother by sending a short video.

"He sent me a video of me striking out the other night, so he watched the game somewhere," Yelich said. "I don't know where. He said his friend's house. He's back in the United States right now. So he can watch some games. I don't think he follows them overseas. We stay in contact as much as we can."

There is another family tie for Yelich for the series with the Braves. His other younger brother, Collin, is currently a catcher in the Braves' system, on the Rookie-level Danville Braves.

The Marlins have been among the more active professional teams who support the military. In Spring Training, a number of players, including Yelich, spent an afternoon meeting with veterans in the military appreciation pavilion at the Honda Classic golf tournament.

"We try to do as much as we can, for the military, for our veterans," Yelich said. "Just to give back for all they've given us. It's special. It's something a lot of the guys in here appreciate."

Going to Fort Bragg is a trip the 2014 National League Gold Glove Award-winning left fielder has looked forward to for a while.

"I'm excited," he said. "It's a Sunday Night Baseball Game on ESPN on a military base. It's never been done before.

"I don't really know what to expect. I've seen pictures of the field and try to imagine what it's going to be like, the atmosphere. Playing there, I'm sure it's going to be unbelievable, and something we remember for a long time."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.