Growing up in Philadelphia, I went to a ton of Phillies baseball games. On family vacations I even went to San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Toronto Blue Jay games too (along with time spent at Shea and the former Yankee Stadium during our many frequent trips to New York). So you could say that once I became a pre-teen, I was genuinely burnt out from America’s greatest pastime. Once it became “okay” for me to stay at home alone while my parents went to games, I did…gladly.
As an adult I’ve been to a couple of Pirates baseball games but I’m not going to lie, there are still many other ways I would rather pass the time. However, on my recent trip to Atlanta I ended up going to a Braves game and to be honest, I had a pretty nice time.
While the game itself was somewhat dull (well, not for the Braves fans…the Rockies team just never showed up in terms of playing and lost 7-0), it was neat to be at another stadium. Turner Field was originally constructed as the centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Olympics and afterwards it was converted into a baseball park to serve as the new home for the Braves. Sadly, last year it was announced that the team would be moving to a new stadium following the 2016 season, one that will be outside of the city. The announcement stunned many and I have to agree with those who were disappointed/saddened by the news-a professional sporting venue that isn’t actually in a city just seems “wrong” for lack of a better word.
We arrived about an hour before the game started and I just enjoyed walking around. Unlike at PNC Park, on the ground level there were numerous picnic tables where one could eat their food they had gotten from the many delicious smelling concession stands (bbq for starters). I thought this was nice since it’s very awkward to eat certain types of food while balancing the plate on just your lap. There was also a band playing and then what was really cool was seeing the Braves’ own drum line, the Heavy Hitters, perform. A drum line at a baseball game seemed very “Southern.”
I had gotten us seats on the first baseline and was extremely happy to discover that they were undercover which was terrific since a lot of the stadium was in the direct sun (the game started at 5:05 PM and in Atlanta, there’s still plenty of hours of heat and sun to be had).
My only disappointment about Turner Field was that once you went up the first flight of stairs, the concessions options were not at all as unique or varied as what you found on the ground concourse. Pizza, hot dogs/sausage, fries, nachos-all very representative of what you would see at any professional sporting venue across the country. With how long concession lines are and depending on the location of your seat, one could miss multiple innings just to get that special food. But I know that Turner Field isn’t the only venue to do this-many places have their fun and special foods on ground level and have the run of the mill ones on the higher levels. D did get a Georgia Dog (there were copious amounts of slaw and some onion relish involved). I made do with a very messy and cheesy slice of pizza.
All in all, it was a fun time and a great final activity in Atlanta.
Initially, I was unsure on how to get to Turner Field. Walking from the downtown is possible, it will just be a hike. However, after seeing some of the barren streets we passed through, I would probably advise against walking (well, especially at night).
I discovered that the Braves partner with Atlanta’s public transportation system (MARTA) and offer shuttles from the Five Points station to Turner Field. Our hotel was less than a 10 minute walk to the Five Points station and after the game, they had bus after bus waiting to take people back to the Five Points station (once one was full, the next one pulled up). And due the mobs of people congregating to board a bus, you just got on (no need to pay). I thought this was such a nice service, especially to out of town visitors who don’t have a car.
For more information on how to get to Turner Field using the MARTA Braves Shuttle check out MARTA’s website