Braves brighten spirits at children's hospital

Braves brighten spirits at children's hospital

Braves brighten spirits at children's hospital

ATLANTA -- It took until about 2:30 a.m. ET before most of the Braves' players had finally left Turner Field on Wednesday morning, following their marathon 4-3 win over the Pirates.

But that didn't stop them from taking care of some equally important business later that morning.

Eight Braves players, three coaches and both of the club's broadcasters made their way over to the Shepherd Center and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Wednesday to participate in a Christmas in July celebration.

"I'm so proud of them. I think our group of guys are great," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "And now, I even hold them in a higher esteem. Here they are 10 hours after playing, and they're out there doing something for the people at Shepherd. It's great. I'm really proud of them."

Those who participated -- which included Martin Prado, Freddie Freeman, Tim Hudson and Craig Kimbrel -- visited with patients in hospital rooms while delivering toys and other gifts.

"Any time you go and visit these kids and you see them, a lot of them battling for their life, if you weren't feeling lucky enough then, that certainly will open up your eyes," Brooks Conrad said. "You look at these kids, and you do anything you can to maybe put a smile on their face and brighten up their day a little bit."

The Braves also joined patients at the Shepherd Center in the rehab gyms, where they played catch and shot hoops. Prado participated in the event just hours after going 0-for-9 in the 4-3 win over the Pirates.

"Everybody in that hospital would love to run down that baseline one time or go 0-for-9," Gonzalez said. "I think they were excited about seeing the Atlanta Braves, and we were excited about being there. I think it put everything in perspective, really."

The patients got the gift of meeting the Braves, but the visitors got their own gift in return.

"[It shows] how important it is not to take anything for granted in your life and to be happy where you are," Conrad said.