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.