I purchased my parking passes online through the Braves before the game as I read that parking at the ball park could be tricky. On Saturday we ended up in a parking garage on the otherside of I-285. It was only a 10 minute walk at best. The above shots were taken as we were walking up on the stadium.
We were there for games 2 and 3 of the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks...which we ended up sweeping! On the cover of the program is the Freeze. If you don't know the backstory, the Freeze is part of Atlanta's grounds crew, but it's also a Olympic medal winning track star. Nigel Talton is his name, but this superhero like character has been a big hit in Atlanta. He races fans from foul pole to foul pole, but will give his competition a healthy lead. He has been beaten once in Atlanta and of course on his largest stage, the 2017 All-Star game in Atlanta. He raced at Saturday's game, but took the afternoon off on Sunday.
For Saturday's game, my brother-in-law's tickets were up in the Coca-Cola section which was above left field. These were $12 tickets, but the view was amazing. There were a few times where it was hard to see the action, but for the most part these were not bad seats at all. Being that we were in the Coca-Cola section, we also got a free 20 oz. bottle of Coke! The scoreboard was massive and looked fantastic. It was off to our left so we didn't have the best straight on view, but we could still follow the action.
The Coca-Cola section was pretty cool. The whole concourse area was covered in astro turf and there were a few props to take pictures with, such as this oversized baseball. Here you can see my beautiful wife and some ugly slug.
The first order of business after finding out seats was to see what there was to eat. Chip Carey on the Fox Sports telecasts has often bragged on how good the food was at SunTrust Park so we had to see for ourselves. My wife found a street taco place once we made it back down to the main concourse and ordered herself 3 tacos. You're looking at $12 there. Add in her bottle of water and my wallet was $18 lighter. On a good note she said the tacos were really good. I ended up with a plan jumbo brat and a bag of peanuts. After all, I'm at the ballpark so it just felt natural to eat "baseball food".
As we walked around the park Saturday evening, we made it over to the kids area. Wow, this place had everything. Speed pitch, a climbing wall, a zip line and several booths that housed different carnival style games. It appeared that you bought tokens to play these different games. Everytime we went through this area, it was packed. In the evening it looked even cooler w/ the lights strung across the top.
Outside of the main Customer Service area there were these glass plaques of various baseball players that have played for the Braves organization since 1871. You may recoginize a few of these guys...
There were a lot of these glass plaques, displayed 3 (or was it 4?) vertically in rows. A very impressive sight, however there would be more Braves history to look at just around the corner it turns out. The Braves Monument Garden contained a lot of Braves history and was laid out in a very cool way. The path started out with various Braves jerseys from over the years...
I tried to get close enough so you could read the little plate inside the glass case that told you a little about the jersey. I don't know about you, but I really liked those powder blue jerseys they wore in the 80's.
On the opposite side of the jerseys the walk way took you various awards won by Braves players such as the MVP, Cy Young, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove and Rookie of the Year. Below each award was a list of the players and the year Braves players won the award.
All along the sides of the walk way were these cool translucent "walls" that contained images and history from the Braves organization. In person it was much more beautiful than what I have pictured.
At the top of the arched walk way was a big memorial and bronze statue of none other than Henry "Hank" Aaron. The large screen was looping a video about the legendary player and his accomplishments both on and off the field. Underneath the screen was a large 755 made out of Louisville Slugger baseball bats. Across from the bat display was a large bronze statue that overlooked a little waterfall.
As you walked down the path on the opposite side of the Hank Aaron memorial there were different artifacts for your viewing pleasure.
An autographed champagne bottle by Tom Glavine used in one of their post game celebrations and
the knee brace wore by Sid Bream during that moment we Braves fans call "the slide".
Game used baseball bat and ball from Bob Horner's 4 HR game and a Hank Aaron jersey
1957 World Series ring
By the time we made it all the way through the Monument Garden, it wasn't long before the first pitch so we made our way back to our seats. However on Sunday I got visit the other items on display which you'll see below.
Fireworks are shot from behind the Coca-Cola area after a HR is hit or when the Braves win. Late in the game, bottom of the 8th if I'm remembering correctly, Jace Peterson came into the game to pinch hit for the pitcher and hit a first pitch HR. I quickly turned around and snapped a picture of the fireworks celebration.
After the game, we made our way outside the stadium along with the other 41K people in attendance (the Braves set a new home game attendance record that night) and while in the massive crowed, I turned around to snap one last picture. Have no fear though as I was coming back in less than 24 hours to catch another game!
For Sunday's game we got to park in Lot 9, which was right outside the Battery. The Battery if you don't know is a large multi-use area just outside SunTrust Park. While it's still being built up, there are businesses, restuarants, shops, a movie theatre and even condos where people live above all the action. These large murals were on the outside of one of the Battery parking decks.
I knew that Sunday was Braves Alumni, but what I didn't know until I looked up from my phone was that we were walking in right behind Braves legend, Dale Murphy!
These images were taken from the Battery just outside the main gates. When I say this area was absolutely awesome, you have no idea. There was music playing, games being played for the kids, lots of restaurants to hang out in before (and after) the game...it was an amazing place. By this time it was about 11:30 AM so we still had plenty of time before the first pitch. We opted to have lunch at the Terrapin Tavern which also served Fox Bros. BBQ.
My wife settled for the Frito pie appetizer, but I went for the pulled pork sandwich with mac & cheese. Oh. My. Goodness. This was some of the best pork BBQ I've had, period. Fantastic atmosphere, fantastic lunch. Only $22 too for the two of us. Oh and I can't forget to mention the sweet tea...or as my wife called it, sugar water. Oh soooooo good!
After lunch we went ahead into the stadium and made our way over to the team store. The line on Saturday was longer than I wanted to wait...and sadly by the time we got there on Sunday it was just as long. I remember seeing a smaller New Era team store around the corner so I opted to go there. I wanted to buy a new hat anyways so that was the perfect shop. After I picked out a new hat, we continued to walk around the main concourse and back to the Monument Garden. This time I took pictures of the trophies and rings that were showcased on the opposite side of the garden walk way.
Beautiful stuff here.
We had great seats for Sundays game. We were in the first row in left center field. We were right behind centerfielder, Ender Inciarte. However after the game was over, we made our way over to the first base side, lower level and grabbed some very nice seats for the free post game concert featuring South Carolina's own Needtobreathe. This is why my wife picked this game in the first place!
SunTrust Park is a beautiful baseball stadium and I think any baseball fan would be hard pressed not to find something there that they wouldn't like or enjoy. Granted the only other parks I have to compare it against are the Braves old homes (Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field), I think it truly is amazing. Not sure when I'll get back down there, but I'm very thankful for the chance to see two games there already. My wife and I both had an absolute blast.
Oh, one last thing. On Sunday when we got to the ballpark, I tweeted that I wanted to meet Fox Sports South reporter Kelsey Wingert. While I didn't get to meet her, I did get a "like" from her official Twitter account!