Friday, July 29 –Braves 2, Phillies 1
Turner Field is in its last year before the Braves move north of town to a new stadium. It was converted from Olympic use to baseball after the 1996 Games. A games-remaining countdown is underway, so we saw John Smoltz and Tom Glavine tear off the paper “30” sign on the left field wall and reveal that 29 games now remained.
Access: Accompanied by my daughter on summer break from teaching school, we drove to Atlanta and spent some time in town before the game. Parking was easy in a lot adjacent to the stadium, and cost only $10. Exit after the game was typically slow for a bit, eased, then slowed again through a night life district on our way back to a hotel by the Georgia Tech campus.
Seats/pricing: As usual, I went for the upper deck infield seats. No discounts.
View: The field is on the edge of the downtown area, so has the tall-buildings view typical for in-town stadiums, but nothing spectacular.
Food: We had the best food I’ve found so far, by now more than halfway through the 30 parks. It was labeled a steak sandwich, but really was 7 ounces of thick-sliced rib roast that were tender, flavorful, and very high quality. The vendor is Kevin Rathbun, operator of an Atlanta restaurant. The sandwich was well worth it at $15.50. For $28, you could get the 11-ounce version suitable for a football lineman.
Beer: Beer was toward the lower end of the ball park price spectrum with 12-ounce domestic and craft brews for $7.75 and 16-ounce craft for $9.50.
Crowd: 27,732. The Braves were recognizing heroes from years past. Before the game, they signed autographs at tables set up throughout the main concourse, and then were introduced on the field. Smoltz and Glavine drew some of the biggest lines.
Neighborhood: Turner Field is pretty much surrounded by freeways and parking lots, so there’s little immediate neighborhood action. But the plaza behind center field offers activities for kids and even a sit-down restaurant that is open to all, not restricted like the club restaurants at many parks. The plaza includes markers showing the distance from home plate – too far, however, for any realistic expectation of a home run to the spot.
Arts and visuals: A nice assortment of player statutes dot the entry plaza. One of them wasn’t even a former Brave – Ty Cobb, known as the Georgia Peach when he starred for the Detroit Tigers early in the 20th Century, honored in his home state.
Baseball Moment: Atlanta’s veteran Nick Markakis singled home the winning run in the third inning as part of a three-hit, one-walk night that provided most of the evening’s offense and gave Tyrell Jenkins his first victory. Jenkins worked an effective six innings, yielding one unearned run on four hits and four walks. He said after the game he was too nervous to watch the ninth, so retreated to the clubhouse as the Phillies put run runners aboard before a force-out ended the game between teams going nowhere in the race to the playoffs.