A first, slightly skewed, glimpse at Braves new world

At SunTrust Park there is plenty of room to display Braves pennants dating to the 19th Century – and plenty of room to add more in the future. (Steve Hummer, shummer@ajc.com)

First of all, to those who, beginning Friday, will enjoy SunTrust Park for the next 20 years until it is replaced by a floating live-work-play biodome suspended over Johns Creek: You’re welcome.

We Cobb County taxpayers will accept the Braves fans’ obvious gratitude in lieu of any new public parks, I guess. What other choice do we have?

Took a quick walk-through the joint Wednesday, wrestling internally with the debate between hosed taxpayer and spoiled sportswriter assessing a new and exciting landscape. I didn’t really want to help pay for this place, but as long as it’s here, at least I hoped it had a good media dining room. (It seemed quite sufficient, for the record. Glass walls will allow some of the more privileged fans to watch as we feed in our natural habitat – quite the primitive frenzy.)

Traffic getting in wasn’t so awful, honestly. Just be sure to arrive 58 hours before first pitch.

Couldn’t help but notice there were still a lot workmen scurrying about the place, performing an assortment of finishing chores. If you are coming to Friday’s exhibition, you may want to bring your tool belt and screw down a sign or hang a door before settling in for the baseball. As long as all tools fit in a gallon-sized plastic bag.

The big picture is one of a shiny new building without even the first mustard stain, with more than enough electronic bells, whistles, flashing things and a newly digitized Chick-fil-A cow to overload the senses. The only way to catch a glimpse of the gold Capitol dome, though, is through satellite imagery.

Just a couple of observations on the smaller details, the kind that make a house a home:

The home-team clubhouse resembles a rich guy’s library, only without all those ponderous books cluttering up the place. A lot of wood and leather. The Falcons had their ping-pong tables. This has a pool table dominating the middle of the room. We have been told these basement games are important in turning grass-stained millionaires into a family.

On their way from the clubhouse to the field, Braves players will pass a couple of curious trinkets from the team’s past. There by the indoor batting cage is one of Tom Glavine’s silver-slugger awards. And in the hallway leading to the dugout is a Greg Maddux Gold Glove award. I hear those two were pretty good pitchers, too.

And beyond the outfield, hanging from a pair of light structures, is the array of pennants won by the Braves franchise through the years. The way they were displayed at the old place – Turner Field, I believe it was called – it seemed they had all but run out of room on the overhang for any future championship banners. But, pointedly, there is plenty of blank space to add to here at SunTrust Park.

That emphasizes the point that all this place lacks are a few good memories.

Reader Comments 0

8 comments
Atlanta Doc
Atlanta Doc

No Hall of Fame at SunTrust....Cobb taxpayers drew the line on funding for dead people.

CarolT.Keller
CarolT.Keller

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ChessMaster
ChessMaster

We've got our tickets for opening night and can't wait to see the new park. I won't miss the old neighborhood and will enjoy avoiding the Grady Connector. I also expect a few issues the first few games as it is a new stadium, and things happen. 


The pictures of the Hank Aaron status are awesome but long term the we need results on the field. The newness will wear off and we will be left with the games. That is also I am looking forward to with our farm system. 

BTC
BTC

With all the accoutrements available to those in attendance, will anyone bother to watch what is taking place between the foul lines?

bravesfan15
bravesfan15

Outside of the obvious bias of this article and apparent disdain for a new stadium, I'd like to give my perspective as someone who recently toured the new park and is excited about its opening. 


I loved Turner Field too. There was nothing wrong with it. Yes, I understand the outcry of yet another private sports team getting public money. Teams across the country do that every year. Two wrongs don't make a right, but as long as SunTrust Park is our new reality, here is what we have to look forward to.


First, the park is noticeably smaller than Tuner Field, which is a good thing. It has a significantly more intimate feel. The sight-lines are great and seats from almost every areas of the park feel closer. The sight-lines are even good from the concourses, which by the way, seem to have more bathrooms than Turner Field.


Second, I'm not sure if there is an official museum in the new park, but they brought the museum into the public areas. Monument Garden provides a stunning place to walk through the history of the Braves. They feature all of the pictures, jerseys, awards and other pieces of history that make the Braves special. They also scatter pieces of history throughout the park.


Next, there are many more things for fans and families to do. There are places to tailgate, a bigger kids area in the park, a larger Chop House and even a waterfall. Hasn't baseball been accused of being boring. If you spend your hard earned money to come out to a game, at least you'll have a more enjoyable and entertaining place to take it in.


One impression of the new digs are that it feels like there are even more corporate signs and logos than before. While it's easy to get turned off by this, just think, the companies that are featured (Delta, SunTrust, Home Depot, Chik Fil A, Gas South, etc.) are local companies that provide real jobs and real money that goes into our communities. We should want those companies to do well.


Last, the park will be surrounded by green space, restaurants, shops, hotels, apartments, offices, etc. that will drastically improve the fan experience and again...provide real jobs and real money for the community. It will be night and day better between the nothingness around Turner Field and what will be around SunTrust Park.


While none of us have seen the first pitch in the new stadium, don't be like the old curmudgeon who wrote this piece. Give the new place a try. You won't be disappointed. 

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

Sounds great! So when are they tearing this dump down and building a new one? Maybe 2020?

ajc8
ajc8

An answer to your question fineousMcDirtyBird: There will be a monument garden featuring various salutes to history (lower level behind home plate) as well as displays scattered about the park.-- Steve Hummer

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Steve, you bring up something that the AJC photo montage made me curious about. Is there no Braves Hall of Fame at SunTrust?