Batter batter batter… We recently toured the brand new Atlanta Braves stadium (SunTrust Park), located OTP (outside the perimeter) in Cobb County, a very short drive from where we live. Very cool!
Now this is not Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, but SunTrust Park and The Battery have been built for baseball and making the trip to a game fun (beyond the game itself). The area was developed to provide year-round entertainment, above and beyond when a game is being played (unlike the old Turner Field which was in an area that was a bit sketch “get in, get out” location).
Just outside SunTrust Park is The Battery, which is a mixed-use area that includes business offices, hotels, residential condos, restaurants and shops – even a concert venue called The Roxy.
Before the tour, we spent some time in The Battery, which is the area just outside the park. The Roxy was built as a concert venue and has an all-star list of upcoming concerts from groups such as Gov’t Mule (Warren Haynes), Lil Wayne, Alt-J and others.
While we did not dine at Todd English’s restaurant, he is well known as a celebrity chef, getting his roots with his own restaurant in Cambridge, MA at Michela’s, then in Charlestown at Olives, and then on and on. We will have to go back to dine here for sure.
We had lunch at the Terrapin Taproom and Fox Bros. BBQ; two iconic Atlanta area institutions brought together under one roof. I mean who doesn’t love an Athens-based Terrapin Hopsecutioner (IPA) with some BBQ from Little Five Points-based Fox Bros.! Booyeah.
So about them Braves… As the longest continuously operating major league baseball franchise (it was the Boston Braves back in time before moving to Milwaukee and then Atlanta) there is actually a lot of history that was brought into this new stadium. Many former Atlanta Braves have contributed memorabilia, including Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Hank Aaron (who has placed the original bat and ball from his historic 715th home run at the park – beating Babe Ruth’s old record!). Hank Aaron went on the hit 755 home runs – amazing.
The field itself is beautiful and there are a lot of ways of watching a game here, depending on your interests… and budget. Even the bleacher seats are positioned to have you face primarily toward the mound, and the sections were created to provide a lot of overhang – to reduce the blistering heat from the sun during day games in the summer. While we haven’t been to a game yet, it would seem to me like there wasn’t a bad seat in the house!
From the Lower Chop House (right field) you can view the game behind a chain link fence. The cup holders are chilled so you can keep a beverage chilled while you watch the game. Brilliant.
We got to peak inside the press box (images of Harry Caray and Skip Caray), where we could see where the games are broadcast. There is a lot of space and seating involved in this area (way more than I would have imagined) in order to allow all kinds of correspondents from the press to view and report from the game. Because there was a game shortly, we were not able to get into the broadcast booth itself.
As you might imagine, some of the best views of the game are from the dugout. It was really cool to sit and stand in the dugout, just feet off of the playing field. BTW, NO ONE is allowed to even touch the field except the players. It is manicured not unlike at Augusta National. It does not look like our yard, just saying.
Because there was a game that day, we were not able to see inside the players areas, but otherwise we were able to see a ton that you would not otherwise get to see as a typical fan, such as the suites and VIP lounges for those in the rarified air. But no matter – there are always the bleachers.
Can’t wait to go to a game, but it may be a while – we are already on the road for our next adventure!