Last weekend my wife took me to Atlanta to catch a Braves game as a combination Father's Day / Birthday gift...and what a great time it was. We headed out from the upstate of South Carolina Saturday morning and drove down to the Doraville area just outside the city limits. Now that I've been down there several times I'm starting to figure out the MARTA system and such. We arrived with nearly 3 hours before the 4:05 pm first pitch, so we took our time getting to the stadium. We passed through Underground Atlanta, but you know that place just doesn't do anything for me. So we hopped on the bus bound for Turner Field.
Living in a NFL and NBA city, it felt really nice standing outside a baseball stadium and just taking in the sight. I wouldn't want to live in Atlanta, but I sure do love going there from time to time.
In years past I've always been in a hurry to find my seat so I haven't had the chance to walk around the stadium like I would like to. This time we got there with enough time to walk around, but I left the camera in the car back at the MARTA station and my cell phone's battery was on it's last leg! So unfortunately I didn't get to take near as many pictures as I would have wanted.
Outside the stadium there are several great photo opportunities, but with the crowds the Braves draw it can be difficult snapping a pic without a ton of strangers in the frame. Scattered out in front were little number monuments and plaques of great Braves players.
John Smoltz's number was out there, but I couldn't get a pic with all the people hanging all over his number. I'm sure Chipper Jones will have his number out there very soon.
What stadium is complete without bronze statues out front? Warren Spahn's statue was busy with out picture takers, so I asked Hank if he'd mind posing for a picture. That fat guy in the orange Charlotte O's t-shirt is the same fat guy sitting here at the keyboard. The Braves were playing the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Wrong color t-shirt to wear that day! I would've worn my Braves shirt, but the print on the back of the shirt is heavy and with an afternoon game in the middle of June in Atlanta I thought it may be a wee hot.
We had great seats in the outfield. First row actually. It's been a very long time since I've sat in the outfield. A first for me actually at Turner Field. Last time I sat in seats similar to these, it was at the old Fulton County Stadium with my late dad and grandfather. I couldn't have been more than 13 or 14 years old. The seats my wife bought included access to the 755 Club upstairs. That's the snazzy part of the park where you can walk around in the air condition and eat non-traditional ballpark food like fajitas, pasta and sushi. There were lots of things I wanted to take pictures of, but again my phone was nearly dead by this point.
This was part of a larger two part image on the concourse wall upstairs commemorating the 1995 World Series Braves. Love that photo of the players celebrating in a large pile!
When we walked out from the air conditioned concourse we were back around to the outfield. I looked down over the railing and there was the Braves bullpen. Our seats were actually one section to the right of the bullpen.
If you look down on the warning track you can see all the fathers and their kids walking around the field. Cool Father's Day nod by the Braves.
View point from our seats. That's B.J. Upton there in center field. And no I didn't shave...it was the weekend.
Jason Heyward was right there in front of us. He could hear the fans' cheers and he would turn around and acknowledge them from time to time. When the Giants took the field Hunter Pence was in right field. He too could hear the fan's
cheers heckles, especially this guy behind us that hated Pence from his days with the Phillies.
B.J. Upton hit two home runs during the game, one of which was just a few sections over to our right. The ball actually just cleared the top of the wall and landed in the area behind the wall and seats. We saw the security guy go pick up the ball, but he wouldn't toss it to any of the fans. Bummer.
Just above our section was the FOX Sports post game booth. As we were leaving hosts Jerome Jurenovich and former Braves player, Brian Jordan were getting ready for their show.
I gotta hand it to my wife, she hit a home run with this gift (pun intended). I missed not taking my daughters with us, but it was a blast and I'm already counting the days until I get to attend my next game. Perhaps one day I'll get to visit another MLB ballpark.