Monday, September 15, 2008

Deathtour~!: Turner Field, Atlanta

It’s the beginning of a new road trip, a short 3 game stretch covering the three southeast teams in baseball - Atlanta, Florida and Tampa Bay – beginning at Turner Field in Atlanta. I’m really looking forward to this game. Well, not so much the game, but for the first non-Bay Area game since Milwaukee I’ll be joined by another friend of mine and it’s always nice to see long distance friends.

Conveniently, my hotel is right across the street from Turner Field so I walk over about 30 minutes before game time and stroll through Monument Grove to the ticket window. Monument Grove is Turner Field’s version of the various statue parks throughout the league, paying tribute to Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Phil Niekro and others. There’s also the Braves Hall of Fame and Museum but I don’t have the time to see it.

My buddy JABSEN has scored us club level seats but he was running a little late so I bought the cheapest ticket available ($6 for Upper Pavilion in right field) and went through the gate. Throughout the lower level are standing room areas behind the first level of seating, complete with ample counter space so you can stand and enjoy the game without the complication of awkwardly scribbling in that 6-4-3 double play while balancing that half eaten Georgia Dog on your lap as you rub elbows with the guy next to you. There’s plenty of room at the counter.

After Jabsen arrives we make our way up to the club level. From here I have a much better view of the rest of the stadium. Atlanta has a reputation of being a fairly lousy sports city and this crowd is evidence of that. True, the franchise’s success has waned recently, but even when they were winning division titles every year for over a decade they had trouble filling seats.

Those division titles are all listed in left field. I still can’t believe they only won one World Series in all those seasons with one of the greatest pitching rotations ever. Maddox, Glavine and Smoltz are all Hall of Fame pitchers. How cool would it be if they all retired at the same time and went to Cooperstown in the same class?

Speaking of Smoltz, sadly, he’s been injured for a majority of the season. About the only contribution he’s made this year are those 30 second promo spots between innings on community events and designated driving. Without a doubt, Smoltz is my favorite non Giants player ever.

Brian McCann’s 3 run home run has the Braves up 4-0 over the Marlins, who I’ll be watching tomorrow night as well in Miami.

Chick-fil-a, which has no presence in the Bay Area what-so-ever, is one of the Braves’ chief corporate sponsors. They even have a giant mechanical cow that does the chop. On a completely unrelated note, does anyone remember Rusty? Yeah, me neither.

Turner Field is also home to the second best coca-cola bottle in baseball. I shouldn’t have to say where the best is.

There’s a lot of entertainment here including a pair of restaurants, an alley of interactive fun, a stage and Tooner Field, a Cartoon Network invention for the kids.

Braves closer, Mike Gonzalez, strikes out the side to end a quick 2 and a half hour game. It was fun while it lasted but I feel short changed on the amount of time I got to spend with Jabby but such has been the case with many of these quick stops.

1 comment:

smokinblues said...

I've only been to a few parks, but really liked Turner field. Awesome that you got to hang with Jabsen. And being a Smoltz fan makes you 100x cooler than I thought you were :)