Young fans in search of autographs flock to spring training

Writer: Sylvie Sparks
Published: Updated:

Some say baseball is no longer America’s favorite pastime. Try telling that to the kids who came from New England to North Port for Braves spring practice.

On Tuesday, seats were crawling with fans from different cities and different teams all with the same goal: getting autographs from their favorite players.

The Harron and the Olivas brothers look forward to visiting their grandparents in Florida every year, but it’s not exactly grandma’s cooking that piques their interest.

It’s seeing their favorite baseball players in action.

“I’m trying to get a bunch of autographs from them, and the most person that I want to get is Ozzie Albies,” said Nolan Harron.

The Harrons live north of Boston, but the boys are loyal Braves fans.

That’s why last year they adopted a new family tradition, visiting the Braves spring training.

“We had so much fun we came back three times last year. They feel like they can connect with the players and roam around the stadium and have a lot of fun,” said Nick Harron, father.

The Olivas from New York aren’t even Braves fans; they just love baseball.

“We love watching players play, and it’s really exciting. We want some autographs,” said Nicholas Oliva.

So, with balls in hand, the boys spent the morning trying to collect as many signatures as they could.

“We kind of yell his name out, and we scream like Ronald Acuna for signatures,” Nicholas said.

The Harrons didn’t luck out on the Acuna and Albies front like the Olivas, but they’re still headed back to Boston with plenty of signatures to show off at school, and they’re excited to try again next year.

The boys have a whole year to work on their signature-getting strategy for next spring.

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