ATLANTA -- Before Wednesday's game against the Rockies, several Braves players hosted 40 kids from the Charles R. Drew Charter School in east Atlanta and the Gresham Park Baseball and Softball Association.
The event is part of "Buses for Baseball," a program initiated by the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the players' charitable foundation.
Several Braves players, including Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Bennett, Mike Gonzalez and David Ross met with the youngsters, signed autographs and took pictures before the Braves took on the Rockies at Turner Field.
Ross was anxious to provide an opportunity for the children that he would have loved to have when he was growing up.
"It would have been awesome," Ross said of the chance to meet Major Leaguers. "Nobody else will be allowed in the stadium yet, so they get that one-on-one opportunity. Guys will stop by and just say hello. Just to say hello to a guy like Chipper Jones or Jeff Francoeur, faces of the franchise, would have been really cool."
The kids were provided round-trip transportation to the game, a chance to meet the players and received free tickets, food and beverages and souvenirs.
For Ross, the opportunity to host such a memorable day for the children was an easy decision to make.
"I like being involved in stuff the union does," Ross said. "This is one of them, with the Players Trust charity. I just think anything we can be involved in helps out. A lot of kids want to meet Major Leaguers and talk with them. I feel like it doesn't take a lot of effort for us to go and talk with them so they can have a good time."
As Francoeur and Ross started walking over to where the youngsters were seated, the kids began grinning and shouting the players' names.
"It was really cool, because I've seen them on TV and now I get to talk to them," said Kentavious Rhodes, a fifth-grader at the Drew School. "Now when I watch them, I'll know their personality, too."
Adam Rosenberg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.