Turner Field hardly warrants a teary farewell

These guys and their fans always seemed to have a very good time at Turner Field. (Butch Dill/Getty Images)

These guys and their fans always seemed to have a very good time at Turner Field. (Butch Dill/Getty Images)

When the Braves put single-game tickets up for sale earlier this month, there was, as reported by Tim Tucker, a run on seats for the last regular season home game at Turner Field.

Why?

All I can figure is that some kind of morbid curiosity must have driven that rush. Or a misplaced sense of obligation. Yeah, that must be it – this is like a deathbed visit with a distant relative who frankly wasn’t all that great to you during his or her prime.

There is no honest, deep reason to show up on Oct. 2 and wish this building an emotional farewell before the move to Cobb. It has earned neither mawkish tribute nor eloquent obituary.

For one thing, Turner Field hasn’t been around long enough to become important (read that: It is being abandoned before its time).

We invest sentiment in buildings that last over generations, structures that hold the collective memories of grandfathers and grandsons, and beyond. Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, even Dodger Stadium – those are the ballparks that have the weight of history behind them. In its baseball configuration, Turner Field has enjoyed a lifespan (20 years) only a bit longer than that of a cockapoo.

For another thing, it’s not like the Braves turned Turner Field into a repository of great sentiment and stirring victory. Those walls and girders do not tremble with echoes of the home team’s triumphs.

The Braves lone World Series championship was won across the way in the parking lot. All of two World Series games were played inside Turner Field in its history – both losses to the Yankees.

The greatest year in its history was 1999 – the aforementioned World Series year – in which Chipper Jones won the MVP and Eddie Perez was the unlikely MVP of the NLCS. Is that enough to make us weepy and poetic?

The Braves won more than they lost at home during the long regular seasons – 921-618 – at home. And they lost more than they won when it mattered – 15-23 at home in the postseason. That never seemed to quite equal out.

Turner Field was the place where someone else always seemed to be celebrating a series-clinching moment: The Giants and Cardinals twice (one of those a wild-card aberration). The Padres and Diamondbacks and Astros all soiled the visitors’ clubhouse with sticky champagne.

It was the place where Jones suffered the final game of a Hall of Fame career. In that wild-card game loss of 2012, he committed a fatal error and went 1-for-5 while watching the Cardinals redefine the infield fly rule and the Braves fans stage a litter riot in protest.

It was the place where Arizona’s Randy Johnson threw his perfect game in May 2004.

It was the place that best served as a stage for celebrating old glories, seemingly unattainable now – see the number-retirement ceremonies for the likes of Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux, Jones and Cox. Which player who spent his entire Braves career inside Turner Field played to such a level? Andruw Jones, perhaps? That’s it.

If the Braves are wrapping up a 70-win season on Oct. 2 – against a stranger, no less, the American League’s Detroit Tigers – can Atlanta really work up a loud, sincere farewell to Turner Field?

The fitting goodbye, sadly, would be a sigh and a shrug.

Reader Comments 0

42 comments
Classof98
Classof98

MLB players have begun a trend of driving a different hundred-thousand dollar car every day to Spring Training.  I was raised in Cobb and don't live too far away from the new stadium.  While I love the sport of baseball, however, Major League Baseball will never see another dime from me until the exorbitant salaries and ticket/concession prices come down. 

J260
J260

No more surly City of Atlanta cops who couldn't figure a way to get cars out of the parking lots after the game, after decades of trying?  Well, OK, they never really tried, but I got the "surly" part right.


No more bums, beggars, panhandlers, and hoodlums?  No more grabbing a burger at the drive-thru on the way to the game, because a hot dog and a Coke were $20 and there was nowhere within five miles of the ballpark to have a pre-game meal without getting shot at?


Wow - Atlanta sure has set the bar high for Cobb!

scottw_
scottw_

I sure won't miss taking my life in my hands just trying to go see a baseball game.

darryl hill
darryl hill

I'll miss the $10.00 Luke warm beers the most.

lvg
lvg

Can't wait for that pristine view of traffic on   285  at rush hour from that new stadium

HeyThere
HeyThere

Displaced Yankees (AKA Tigers fans) bought all the tix

BetterDog
BetterDog

Hopefully the Ty Cobb statue can be moved to Royston, Ga.  His birthplace.  It would bring in more visitors.  Its kinda stupid to judge this man when we did not live in that time.  But we allow and praise Aroldis Chapman for his behavior.  MLB could be seen as condoning such behavior. We live in crazy times. 

BetterDog
BetterDog

During the early nineties this was the place to be.  Anyone who lived through the earlier decades really enjoyed how good our Braves were.  The Braves were the best in Baseball from top to Bottom. 

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Yankees and Bluejays each won 2 WS titles in the 90's so no, the Braves were not the best in baseball during that period.

BetterDog
BetterDog

Any of you out of town guests please do not allow you kids to climb up the ramp under the interstate.  Drug supplies, needles and God know what else. 

BetterDog
BetterDog

Mayor Reed spent too much time on TV getting Obama elected.  Just as he is for Hillary.  Still wants that Federal gig.  Walking under I-75 after a game and you can see how much effort Kasim Reed made to make this a great MLB experience.

dave3467
dave3467

fitting that it should the tigers. The very first game ever played in atl/fulton co stadium was with the tigers. That was before the braves were the Atlanta team. Hosted by the Atlanta crackers. Things seem to go in full circles. Atlanta has never really supported the Braves. had they, Marta would have been run past the area as requested by the then mayor & city leaders. but that was thrown under the bus as a civil rights statement. As stated by others the area around turner field have just been an ever growing area of parking lots

bivwac
bivwac

So what's really going to be interesting is the attempt to get drive to the new park for a 7 PM game, traffic in that area between 4-7 PM is already a nightmare, add in another 4,000 vehicles and many fans will be lucky to get to the game by the 3rd inning.

HeyThere
HeyThere

@bivwac good point. Haven't see this mentioned anywhere else

BobDawg
BobDawg

@bivwac Cub Fans don't seem to have a problem at Wrigleyville…. Just get there earlier and have a drink or 2 at the pubs they will have there.

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

Good column. While I have lots of great memories of going to the Ted with friends and family, I can't forget about all those painful Octobers spent watching other teams celebrate on our field. In the games that have really mattered over the last 20 years, the Braves' home stadium has been a house of horrors.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Braves can't get out of that h-hole fast enough imo. Mistakes started during the conversion from Olympic stadium where the powers that be decided the more seats the better and constructed a baseball stadium with more seats than even a team with a rich history couldnt have sold out. In addition some city of ATL genius decided not to run the Marta train to the stadium which was questioned right up to the end. Sprinkle in zero development around the stadium and a lack of any great postseason memories and you've got a bonafied recipe for a completely forgettable venue. If only we could leave Cox and Scheurputz there as it was their collective genius that prevented us from winning more WS titles at FulCo and TF.

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

@GeorgeJetsen If it weren't for those two, they would have never gotten into contention. Perhaps you forget how wretched the Braves were before they got there? "It's One Wild and Crazy Summer!"

Tim Tinklenutz
Tim Tinklenutz

The reason we are not going to be at "Turner Field" after this year solely rests on Mayor Kasim Reed and his group of incompetent cronies downtown.  They literally ran the Brave out of town (lack of a MARTA train notwithstanding)!  The city of Atlanta was a selfish landlord but here is the real kicker!  The city of Atlanta had a chance to sell Turner Field to the only organization who could really benefit from the property: The Braves.  Instead, they pissed them off to the point to where they never made an offer on the property.  The city of Atlanta could have sold the entire property for about $100MM+?  That money could have benefited the entire city of Atlanta in addition to the fact that the Braves would have been captive to the location.  Instead, the city of Atlanta will get nothing for the property and they lose the Braves to Cobb County.  The Braves literally paid at least 4 times+ the price to leave town.  Kasim Reed is a fool and this should be his legacy.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@Tim Tinklenutz Kasim's choices here...hmmm...assume half the cost and the bulk of the long term financial burden for a seasonal facility in a derelict part of town or invest about the same amount of money for less long term burden for a year-round facility that will consistently bring in major events and raise the city's profile...and you are saying he should have bet on the Braves. Georgia State has purchased Turner Field and is developing a mixed use dorm/sports/commerce center that Liberty Media was never interested in building themselves. Meanwhile, Cobb County was dumb enough to spread its legs for this beggar franchise that's shown no interest in investing in either itself or the surrounding community. I think Kasim's legacy is pretty decent at this point. 

jamesatl
jamesatl

@Tim Tinklenutz Abso-freakin-lutely. The greatest organization in Major League Baseball moving out of one of the most ignorantly run inner city pissholes after years of negotiation is completely the fault of Reed and his gang of idiots. And they're still standing there with their hand held out. I guess they're waiting for it to become official so they can sue.

f22ev
f22ev

Let's discuss what Steve conveniently did not talk about, why do taxpayers have to pay for 2 new temples to a false god when we already had 2 fine stadiums.  Turner Field was fine, Georgia Dome incredible but loud, but good enough.

khd713
khd713

Every year for the past 16, my friends and I have taken a trip to a major league park somewhere. In all, I've been to about 20 ballparks, including most of the new ones, and the classics like the old Yankee Stadium, Wrigley and Fenway. And I have season tickets at Turner. I'd say Turner Field ranks about 15th out of the 20 ballparks I've seen. It has good sight lines, but the seats are a bit too far away from the field. I like the pavilion in center, and the monster screen (of course, they all have those now). The beer selection has gotten better with Taco Mac and Goose Island, as has the specialty food with H-F Burger and Rathbuns, but the regular old concessions are really the worst I've seen anywhere (how hard can it be to sell fresh, tasty popcorn?Obviously too hard for the Turner Field vendor). Overall, though, I'd say Turner just doesn't have much character. It's a very blah, non-descript stadium. Last year a Nationals fan sat next to me. He was in town for a conference and bought his tickets online at the last minute. He said he'd been to all the ballparks and Turner Field was the worst he'd seen. Probably just another jacka$$ Nationals fan, but there's no question that Turner Field is nowhere near the upper tier of parks – like Pittsburgh, San Fran, Seattle and a handful of others. You just can't get past the fact that Turner was not built to be a baseball park first. Yes, I know it underwent a total renovation, but that's not the point. If they had built it as a baseball park from the start, it would not be what it is. Count me among those looking forward to SunTrust Park.

jmccoy1252
jmccoy1252

No sad farewell to Turner Field for me. Too many nightmarish games and seasons.  It's the city of Atlanta's own fault the Braves are moving North.  The ATL did nothing to build up the area around Turner Field.  In essence, it is a dump.  No gathering place before games, no nice hotels around.  Atlanta had 50 years to build up the area, it did nothing.  Additionally, people need to stop acting like the Braves are moving hundreds of miles away.  They are moving 12 miles North people.  That's it.  I've lived in North Cobb for 48 years and driven through all of the crappy Atlanta traffic and construction to get to Braves games, if you're a Braves fan, you can drive an extra 12 miles. 

jamesatl
jamesatl

@jmccoy1252 Farther away? Tell that to the ever growing NOTP crowd. I do feel for our neighbors to the south though. But it's the City of Atlanta's fault.

bowman
bowman

I've enjoyed a lot of baseball games in Turner Field but my fondest memories came during the summer of 1996 when the Olympic Games filled the structure with track & field fans from around the world. Everything since has been rather anticlimactic, particularly the Braves premature departure and corresponding money-grab in Cobb County.

ZAZ
ZAZ

@bowman Professional sports teams are all money grabs.....selling tickets, concessions/parking, and licensed merchandise, as well as broadcast revenue. That's all any of it is; nothing more, nothing less.

CaptainAmerica38
CaptainAmerica38

I was there for the home opener in 1966, the last regular season game in 1996 as well as the Smoltz/Pettitte World Series game that was the actual final game in Atlanta Stadium.

I was there for opening night at Turner Field in 1997. So I figure I might as well keep the string alive by going to the Tigers game on 10/02/2016. But it won't be emotional. Not like the end of that World Series game in 96. The memories of the Braves, and the Falcons for that matter, in that old ballpark were special. Yes I have some great memories that happened at Turner Field. But none like Atlanta Stadium. I've had season tickets since 1981. But I doubt I'll be able to go to Cobb very often. Too far.

Nauti-boy
Nauti-boy

I like the Ted and I don't need you make a list why I shouldn't.

Call him Steve Bah Hummerbug. He would trip the beer vendor and steal the prize from your CrackerJacks. Find a real story.  

Elaine
Elaine

For those on the southside it may be the last season we can attend MLB. When they move to Cobb the effort may be too great to journey that far.

Mulk
Mulk

@Elaine Elaine,


Real Braves fans in S. and N. Carolina, Bama, S. Ga. will not mind driving those extra few miles to avoid the ghetto surrounding Turner Field.

jamesatl
jamesatl

@jmccoy1252 @Elaine Exactly. Leave a little early. Put it on cruise control going up 75 and have dinner somewhere in Mayretta. It will be a far superior experience than having to go down to the ghetto.

jmccoy1252
jmccoy1252

@Elaine If that's you're view, then you're not a Braves fan.  They are moving 12 miles North, not 1000!

Saintjude
Saintjude

Maybe they plan to leave the game on Oct 2 and get in the traffic for the season opener in Cobb. 

Bhorsoft
Bhorsoft

@Saintjude Getting stuck in the traffic to the new Falcons stadium on the way.  Never mind, that would only happen if the Falcons are winning...