With about 30 minutes until kick-off against Missouri on Saturday, the crowded Georgia football student section let out an overwhelming roar. Then the sound turned into a song as one of the many honored guests made his grand arrival.
Blooper, the Atlanta Braves’ corded mascot, walked out of the student area and was greeted with cheers and croons. Hairy Dawg joined Blooper, fresh off a Friday parade to celebrate the World Series champions.
The Braves’ mascot jumped around, taking pictures with fans and interacting with Hairy Dawg. He wore his red No. 0 Braves jersey before taking it off to reveal a white Hairy Dawg UGA jersey.
After leaving the field with Hairy Dawg, the two mascots returned to watch former Georgia football coach Mark Richt call the Dawgs and listen to the national anthem play.
During the match, Blooper and Hairy had their picture taken with Uga and hung out around the cheerleaders in front of the student section.
“I saw Blooper,” said Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who attended Game 5 of the World Series in Atlanta. “He kind of put us on the Dawg Walk.”
In the timeout after Georgia’s first touchdown of the day, Braves outfielder Joc Pederson was welcomed at the 10-yard line, who was standing next to Blooper. Pederson joined the Braves in July, hitting several home runs in the Braves’ NLDS wins against the Milwaukee Brewers.
During the Braves playoffs, Pederson wore a pearl necklace and the trend caught on. Throughout the Battery in Atlanta, Braves fans wore pearls and beads to show their support for the hard-hitting outfielder.
The trend continued in Sanford on Saturday.
“All of our water boys had the beads or pearls on,” said UGA head coach Kirby Smart. “My son is a big Joc fan.”
Pederson tagged former UGA running back Todd Gurley, Cincinnati Reds and former UGA shortstop and Kyle Farmer and San Francisco pitcher Kyle Wood, but the Banner-Herald didn’t see them.
Throughout the stadium there were fans wearing various Brave memorabilia. From sweaters with Freddie Freeman’s name on the back, to hats and even the spike squad came with a special set of blue-dyed shoulder pads that Blooper wore most of the afternoon.
Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith is a longtime New York Yankees fan, but he found himself going for the Braves this postseason.
“I wanted (Freddie) Freeman, you know he was one of those guys who stuck with that program,” Smith said. “That’s something you hear. A lot of guys will be on a program for a fifth or six years, but to watch him win and put (the ball) in his back pocket, I’ll never forget that.”
The Braves won their first World Series since 1995 in a Game 6 win over the Houston Houston Astros on Tuesday.
McClain Baxley is a recruiting reporter for the Athens Banner-Herald and the USA TODAY Network. Reach him by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mccalainbaxley.