MACON, Ga. — On Monday, the Macon Youth Baseball Legends 14U All-Stars made their way to New Orleans for this year's USSA World Series, but before they could get on the road, it was time for quite a sendoff with a very special guest, who knows a thing or two about getting teams to the World Series himself.
Former Atlanta Braves outfielder Otis Nixon was in town to hand over a check for $1,000 to head coach Chris Gray and his 14U All-Stars, to help fund the team's trip and rooming for the next week.
A little pep talk and some autographs rounded out the trip to Central Georgia for the Atlanta great, who played for the Braves from 1991 to 1993, and then again in 1999, helping Atlanta win the National League pennant
But when it came to backing the Legends, this Atlanta legend knew it was a no brainer.
“When you find a team and you can pick them out, you almost instantly know, ‘I want to sponsor these kids,’” Nixon said. “So that's sort of what I did. And when I caught the TV interview with one of the kids, he said, ‘we mentally have to be ready,’ and I said, ‘that kid's got it.’ They need to feed off of that. But every time we can get with a kid, and pour into a kid, because we can lose them out there as quick as we can gain them.”
Many players from this year’s team experienced the USSSA World Series last year in the 12U division but came up just short as runners-up.
This time around, they’re doing everything they can to make sure they bring a trophy back to Central Georgia.
“It’s personal now,” Gray said. “So this trip here with these guys, some of the guys were with me last year. We're trying to go ahead and make a stand this year and to prove ourselves to be champions.”
The Legends begin pool play in New Orleans on Wednesday. Macon Youth Baseball teams in the 8U, 10U and 12U divisions are also competing.