Monday, September 11, 2017

SunTrust: the Good, Bad, & Ugly

I've tried to be all positive about SunTrust Park. It's a state of the art masterpiece, a great place to watch a game.

People try to run SunTrust Park down but most of their arguments are lame. Downtown is not the center of the universe. Traffic is no worse than at Turner Field. The shops and restaurants in The Battery are unique and remarkably similar to trendy Ponce City Market or Krog Street Market. There are no chains like Chilis or Cheesecake Factory. Hip intowners just don't like mixing with uncool suburbanites.

SunTrust Park was built for millennials, professionals, and corporate types. The older fans are getting squeezed out – young fans too, to a certain extent. The stadium is set up so fans will spend money: a three story Chop House in right field and the Hank Aaron Pavilion in left. The Home Depot Clubhouse in centerfield and the Xfinity Pavilion above the Chop House. Almost all tickets are electronic, which is problematic when thousands of fans try to access their app at the same time. The paper ticket stub is going the way of the dinosaur, not just at SunTrust Park but also all across the country.

Everything is more expensive at SunTrust Park: tickets, food, souvenirs, parking. Parking is further away, unless you're a big-spending season ticket holder paying thousands for season long parking. Middle-class guys like me are getting squeezed. I can no longer afford to go to ten games a year. Walking a mile and a half from my parking space to the stadium has gotten old quick. Long gone are the dollar Skyline tickets.

SunTrust Park may be a great place to see a game. It's much closer to my house than Turner Field. I don't even have to get on the Interstate. But it looks like I can't afford to go to as many games as I used to. Guess I'll be watching more on TV.

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