This past weekend I was in Alabama working Talledega and we stayed about an hour outside of Atlanta. I managed to not only get my Dale Yeah on but made a visit to SunTrust Park which opened this season. Though I knew rain was in the forecast, I couldn’t pass up $5 tickets and the chance to see a new ballpark. My coworker Julie who grew up in Atlanta joined me to support her hometown team. They were playing the Mets, so the Braves seemed like the natural choice for me that evening.
Julie and I were sharing our car with coworkers, so got a late start to the game and arrived in the bottom of the first inning. Rather than waste time looking for parking, we parked in one of the lots near the stadium for $20. I know in my ballparks on a budget heart, I could’ve found a better deal if we weren’t pressed for time. In all, we spent $30 on this excursion, so I think we did pretty well!
Walking up to the stadium, I was bursting with excitement. Poor Julie and really anyone who attends a baseball game with me had to hear pretty much every baseball nugget of knowledge I knew about the Atlanta Braves. She’s a kind person and listened to it all. We did a semi-circle around the outside of the ballpark to see the new digs. I can vouch, this area is a lot nicer than the area around Turner Field. But, what is it lacking? Hank Aaron’s wall for starters and honestly character which was brought up when the Braves first released their design a couple years earlier.
We entered the ballpark and stopped at a bar in right field so Julie could get a beer. I asked the bartender what he thought of his new workspace and he answered me honestly, “it’s really nice, but it’s not home.” After fully exploring the ballpark in the rain while waiting for play to resume, I completely understand.
I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking. Despite my weather app showing 100% rain in the forecast, I thought, eh it’ll skip us. It did not. In fact, it didn’t just rain, it poured on us in the third inning. We hadn’t even made it to our seats. Thank God Julie was a great sport about the rain delay and didn’t make me leave immediately. She enjoyed her beer and tagged along as I fully investigated the Braves new home.
The highlights for me are the wide open concourses, the team shops and this really neat jersey personalization station, the very deserving “shrine” to Hank Aaron and mini baseball museum in the concourse behind home plate, the outfield concourse that is very reminiscent of Turner Field, the new location and area surrounding the ballpark- you actually want to hang out around the park, and all the top rate amenities you get from a new and modern ballpark.
Now the negatives and these shouldn’t surprise you. The new park lacks charm and character. There seemed to be a ton of advertisements. SunTrust, Delta, Coca-Cola signs are your outfield view (not very picturesque like Pittsburg or SF). Hoping these “eyesores” paid for the ballpark, but I highly doubt it. THEY TOOK AWAY THE TOMAHAWKING COW! Cows are my favorite animal and though they do have a Chick-fil-A cow in right field, he doesn’t chop anymore. I imagine they’re trying to phase out the chant as society becomes more PC. Lastly, if I’m getting super nitpicky, I’d say despite thinking the museum area behind home plate is great for sharing the Braves extensive MLB history, it feels a little isolated from the ballpark. The area behind home plate isn’t open which is my personal preference. But that’s because I like walking around and appreciate standing room.
Julie and I tried to hang in there, hoping the weather would clear up and play would resume, but mother nature was a baseball block and the game was called. I was unable to tomahawk chop and judge the ingame production. That’s ok, I’m sure I’ll be back for another game in the future!