Saturday, March 25, 2017

SunTrust Park Open House

Today was a beautiful day to explore brand new SunTrust Park.
Driving west across the I-75 bridge, the new park rises high on the hill. Note the new pedestrian bridge on the right and the blue-trimmed Delta parking deck on the left. The deck has at least five levels, as does the orange deck on the other side of the stadium. Below the traffic light rises the huge tail of a retired Delta jet.  
The left field gate is just outside the southern exit of the Delta deck.
The Warren Spahn statue faces east.
 Up a slight hill to the north is the 3rd Base Gate. Had to back up almost to the street to include the tail of the jet in the picture.
 Continued my stroll counterclockwise around the outside of the park.
Ran into my friend Katie outside the 1st Base Gate,
quizzing her poor season ticket agent in the green shirt.
Further down the access was blocked, but you could see the shops and restaurants of The Battery taking shape. To the left are the ticket booths. Some were open. In the foreground Katie (right) chats with our fellow bobblehead addicts Jonathan and Corrine, who I knew from games in Gwinnett last year.
Gates opened at noon. Season ticket holders scrambled to find their seats. This week the media questioned whether the grass could thrive in the shade of the nearby skyscrapers, but the whole time I was there no shade could be seen, except for the occasional cloud.
The new mesh seats were installed down both foul lines. 
Panoramic view from behind the first base dugout.
Getting my picture taken with the 1995 World Championship Trophy
gave me a chance to get down near the field and dugout. 
The dugout. As the AJC reported this week, the protective netting extends much further than it did at Turner Field - almost to the far end of both dugouts. It'll be tougher for players to toss baseballs to kids now.
Panoramic dugout view.
Two old-timers. I had the honor of chatting with iconic Braves legend Walter Banks near his regular perch: the President's box. He said that was where he'd be on Opening Day. He talked football and said he'd attended the recent Super Bowl. Said he only lived ten miles away - closer then me.
View from my company's seats: section 36 row 8 seats 1-4.
Nice, but I'll be lucky to get them this year. 
Obligatory panoramic view from the company seats.
Fans sitting down the foul lines have concessions and restrooms nearby, with an entrance near the foul pole.
The area is not too large, but at least it's close.
Extensive selection at the concession stand.
I was interested in checking out the views from the upper deck. They don't disappoint. My phone camera couldn't capture downtown Atlanta,
which you can see between the Galleria office buildings across 285.
Buckhead skyscrapers rise to the southeast,
with Stone Mountain barely visible behind them through the haze.
Kennesaw Mountain rises to the north.
While I snapped pictures on the upper deck,
Bobby Myers was just below me on the third level taking this picture.
These odd-shaped lights shine different colors
on the underside of the canopy.
My friend Lee's former office building. His old office view is now blocked
by the new Omni Hotel and Comcast building.
Also in the distance: the Galleria and Cumberland Mall.
To the northeast: the new pedestrian bridges in the foreground,
stretching across I-75 where most of the parking will be.
Shuttles will run ferrying fans to the ballpark. Braves officials were on hand to answer questions about parking and traffic,
but I'm sure it will take several series to get things running smoothly.
Looking west. In the right field corner is the new two level Chop House,
with rows of seats in front for patrons. Underneath is the field level "Below the Chop" for groups as large as 120. Behind the Chop House is the rotating A, near an observation deck with a food truck-like concession stand in a converted Gulfstream trailer.
Concession stands were open on the first base side.
I like the high ceiling and banners of Braves Hall of Famers.
Our tickets had five dollars of concessions loaded on them.
The new game worn shop is larger and more centrally located.
A fun place to browse.
The Braves Hall of Fame display is located behind the plate,
with new Cooperstown-like plaques.
The display is large, with gloves and jerseys and touch screen videos describing the history of the team and careers of all the hall of famers.
The main attraction will be the new Hank Aaron statue,
to be unveiled Thursday night.
The six main home jerseys worn in Atlanta.
Similar displays for Boston and Milwaukee.
The Boston end of the "Monument Garden"
View from the Chop Shop. Note the special beer coolers.
View from the Chop Shop.
To the left of the TV is the secret stairway to the Bottom of the Chop.
View from the Chop Shop: the Home Depot Clubhouse, and the centerfield batter's eye, with trees and waterfall inspired by Coors Field in Denver.
The Braves bullpen, in centerfield. How'd those fans get in there?
The visitors bullpen, in far left field.
Note the fans in left field will need long arms to reach out
and grab home runs from the outstretched arms of outfielders.
The Chick-fil-a cow looms behind the upper level
of the Chop House, in front of the championship pennants. 
Kid-friendly activities and food, also behind the Chop House.
Activities include a cage to pitch, climbing wall,
zip line, and run to first base.
The new Omni Hotel rises behind the climbing wall.
Looking east from the upper level of the Chop House
you can see down The Battery all the way to Cobb Parkway.
The Home Depot Clubhouse hosts groups of 20-50.
They're responsible for hanging the K's after every strikeout.
View from the Home Depot Clubhouse.
After leaving the Clubhouse I ran into coworker Chris,
who had joined a stadium tour already in progress (the lines to take the tour were too long). First stop: the Bottom of the Chop.
Along the way we passed this dynamic A formed by beer bottle caps. 
Field level view from the Bottom of the Chop.
 In maroon, Chris poses in front of two rows of dugouts benches.
I almost fell in with the drum team, who performed throughout the park.
I'd seen the green metal Hank Aaron logo on the seats.
What I didn't know was there are two other logos on the seats
closer to the field and behind the plate.
This logo below is on the mesh seats.
The white logo stands out a bit better than the all-green logos.
End seats behind the plate have a silver A logo. Except row 9.
Note the lighter green cushioned seats behind the plate.
The various elevator lobbies were decorated with various uniform eras,
with Mitchell & Ness jerseys from each era (not actual jerseys).
This lobby had jerseys from the late 60's and early 70's.
Like at Turner Field,
the SunTrust Club is underneath the stands behind home plate.
Impressive display of Gold Glove Awards won by Braves players.
One of Greg Maddux's record 17 Gold Glove Awards. 
Fans (or should I say "patrons") in the SunTrust Club
can watch Braves players warming up in the underground batting cage,
and watch manager Brian Snitker's postgame press conferences.
Impressive collection of murals grace the walls of the SunTrust Club,
including Dale Murphy.
Chipper Jones
David Justice, and an umpire with a crazed expression on his face.
Also underneath the stands: the Beer Room.
Someone's red shoes are reflected in the stainless steel.
Back outside in the distance: the Renaissance Waverly,
where Clemson stays before playing Georgia Tech.
Continuing clockwise around the park...
...and the Right Field Gate.
A lot of buzz about this place...
Another Bobby Myers photo...
Can't get enough? More photos here on Sunday's post.

8 comments:

Nem said...

Sadly, I believe the Chick-fil-a cow no longer chops. Instead it holds a new digital display board.

David said...

Good point!

FBlogs said...

Racism is the only reason downtown Atlanta couldn't have seen similar redevelopment, capitalism and this level of fun. How many decades did that area languish because racists refused to spend their money to build, develop, and surround Turner Field similarly. Great photos to reflect the truth.

David said...

I agree. The Braves repeated attempts to develop the community around Turner Field during their 20 year stay were consistently turned down by their landlord - the city of Atlanta. The Braves offered the city 75% of any revenues generated - a generous deal. But the city refused to give up their beloved parking revenues. From a 2013 article in the AJC: "When pursuing such a development for the parking lots surrounding Turner Field, the Braves proposed an arrangement in which they would receive 25 percent of the revenue or a minimum of $10 million per year. Those negotiations with the city of Atlanta ended last month" http://www.myajc.com/news/braves-pitch-mixed-use-project-developers/nMV25d7hn5c7IrNrHyntWI/

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