Braves close in on Turner Field farewell, future bright in Cobb

The Southerner

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By Alex Langan

With the Atlanta Braves saying farewell to Turner Field after 20 seasons, SunTrust Park, in nearby suburb Cobb County, will soon replace the stadium that has hosted Braves baseball since the 1997 season, one year after it was the main stadium in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

While many intown fans are furious at the decision  moving the Braves just a few miles outside of city limits, this move makes sense for the rebuilding National League club. “The Ted”, as the current park is affectionately called by fans, is aging quickly, which is evident by a poor infield and puddles throughout the stadium when a rainstorm is overhead. SunTrust Park will also be in a safer area with less crime, and also moves closer to Braves season ticket holding fans. There will be restaurants and shops around the new stadium as well, a stark contrast to the rough area around Turner Field.

With the new luxury suites and amenities around SunTrust Park, there will not only be an increase in revenue and attendance, but will also help the Braves’ chances in landing a future All-Star game.  SunTrust Park will be smaller in seating capacity, which will make the stadium easier to maintain and not look as empty as Turner Field does with the 2016 average attendance being just over 23,000 fans. The new park is a good bet to increase that figure, but sellouts still may only occur once every blue moon after the hype dies down after the first homestand.

This isn’t the perfect place to locate the ballpark, however, as traffic will be an obvious issue with Cobb County already having problems with the busy Atlanta interstates. Public transportation is still not ready for Opening Day next spring, with bus rides nearing the 90 minute mark, even on days with light traffic. However, I am confident that the county and the Braves will come up with a good plan to get fans to the game.

The Ted’s days are waning, but a newer, brighter future comes with it and the new suburban stadium. The opening season of the new park will also coincide with the Braves’ milestone in their roster rebuilding process, the first season the Braves will likely be predicted to finish over .500 since winning the NL East Title in 2013. While Braves Country will miss Turner Field and having the games in the heart of downtown Atlanta, SunTrust Park looks to be a turning point in the franchise history of the Braves.

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