When the Braves left Turner Field for the last time last year, I think a lot of people had doubts about SunTrust Park. The renderings looked nice, and everyone in the Braves organization assured fans that it would be a great ballpark, but how could any stadium ever replace the beloved Turner Field, “The Ted”? SunTrust Park was built to solve the Braves’ attendance problems and move the team to a location which could be built up into a commercial area with consumer-friendly surroundings. The location at the congruence of I-285 and I-75 in Cobb County has been seen as… questionable, to say the least, by most Atlanta residents. Still, the ballpark was built. The question is: how nice is SunTrust Park?
And, as you can probably guess from the title, I think SunTrust is a gorgeous ballpark. The location was not as big of an issue as I’d expected; traffic was slow near the exits for SunTrust but no worse than traffic for Turner Field had been before. The shopping/dining area around the stadium, named “The Battery”, is small but vibrant. The presence of an Antico Pizza is a major plus.
Once inside the ballpark, a few things are clear: 1) this place is nicer than the Ted and 2) it feels like a Braves ballpark. Maybe it’s the drum or the Chick-fil-A cow or the thousands of tomahawk-chopping fans, but there’s no denying that SunTrust Park is the true home of the Atlanta Braves. For the longest continually operating franchise in American sports, nothing short of spectacular could suffice. I’m happy to see SunTrust Park lives up to the legacy.
Maybe the Braves aren’t a playoff team yet, maybe they’re not going to sell out every game, and maybe they are going to rename the nearby G-Braves… but at least the 3-time World Series champion Atlanta Braves have a world class stadium to call home now. I’ve gone twice this season, and I’m sure I’ll be back soon. Get over to catch a game if you’ve not been yet, and go Braves!