A Bond Over Bacon
By Hannah Jett Moore
Photography by Christopher Smith
The Macon Bacon are more than just a name-grabbing athletic organization. They are a place for opportunity, growth and a sizzling good time. Part of a wooden bat league for college baseball players who are looking to develop their skills during the summer, notable alumni include Justin Verlander and Russell Wilson.
Macon’s adoration for baseball is in full swing for the second season, and for top returning players such as the University of Georgia Utility Player Riley King, and Mercer University Catcher Alex Crotty.
Bacon Manager Danny Higginbotham said this experience is incredible for college athletes, but it’s also great for the community. Players are not paid, and stay with host families during their time in Macon.
“We have so many games that it is a great indicator to a professional scout if the player can handle the grind of games every night,” Higginbotham said. “Our players can have a tremendous impact on those looking up to them. We have a high expectation of the type of character we expect of them. … The amount of kids after a game leaning over a dugout to give an autograph was incredibly awesome to see. To those kids, getting autographs makes it special. It makes it special for the players, too. It’s amazing to watch.”
Jeff Batcher knows a thing or two about the impact youth sports can have. The Macon philanthropist was a two-sport Stratford Academy standout in baseball and football and went on to letter in both sports at the University of Utah. He also is responsible for the inception of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program in Macon.
“Baseball and softball are expensive sports to participate in. The RBI program, supported by Major League Baseball, lets any boy or a girl who wants to play baseball or softball play, making sure that they have the equipment they need and minimizing or donating the registration fees,” he said. “We’ve been averaging 325 boys and girls over the last four years in the RBI program – most who would not have had the opportunity to play.”
The recipe isn’t hard: Support our youth; support our restaurants; support our teams. Grab a slice of Bacon spirit and come together. Let’s reach across the table and the dugout. So, whether we’re watching our own local big league or the back-yard ball game, let’s go to bat for one another, Macon. Bond over Bacon, shall we?