|Turner Field / Atlanta Braves|
|Touring the Ballpark|
|Quirks, Food/Drink, Kids, Tours|
|Team Ballpark History|
It's not considered a prime example of the retro ballpark at work, but the Atlanta Braves have worked hard over the last 15 years to transform Turner Field from a bland, corporate ballpark to a place where team and regional baseball history are celebrated, and where fans can have a good time watching a game. For the most part, the work has paid off.
Address: 755 Hank Aaron Dr., Atlanta, GA 30315.
Cost: $235 million.
Architect: Atlanta Stadium Design Team (Ellerbe Becket, Heery International, Rosser International, Williams-Russell and Johnson).
Project Manager: Barton Malow.
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti.
General Contractors: Atlanta Stadium Constructors (Beers Construction, CD Moody Construction, HJ Russell Construction).
Owner: City of Atlanta and Fulton County via Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority.
Suites: 58, plus three party suites.
Largest Crowd: 54,296, on Oct. 2, 2012, for Bobby Cox Day.
Dimensions: 335L, 380LC, 400C, 390RC, 330R.
Ticket Lines: 800/326-4000.
Home-Dugout Location: First-base line.
Playing Surface: Prescription Athletic Turf, featuring a hybrid Bermuda grass.
Other Tenants: None.
Nickname: The Ted.
First Game: On April 4, 1997, the Atlanta Braves defeated the Chicago Cubs, 5-4. A sellout crowd of 45,044 was on hand to see reliever Brad Clontz pick up the win with 1.1 innings of scoreless work in relief of Braves starter Denny Neagle; Mark Wohlers picked up the save after Chipper Jones (who earlier had recorded the first hit at Turner Field) singled in Mike Mordecai with the game-winning run. Michael Tucker hit the first home run in Turner Field history in the third inning off Cubs starter Kevin Foster.
Landmark Events: Consider the Braves made the postseason in the first nine years after Turner Field opened, it’s fairly amazing only two World Series games have ever been played there, with the New York Yankees winning both in their 4-0 sweep of the Braves in the 1999 World Series. The 2000 All-Star Game was played at Turner Field, with the American League winning 6-3; Chicago’s James Baldwin, the Human Rain Delay, was the winning pitcher despite giving up a homer to Chipper Jones.
Be warned the Braves use a variable-pricing scheme, partly based on demand. We list the more expensive prices here; the actual price may be lower for a game not in heavy demand. The prices can be all over the place: an outfield pavilion seat can go for $45 on a popular night and $15 for a slow night. So there are deals galore, but be prepared to pay extra if a popular promotion or team is on the agenda.
Best Sections to View a Game: In general, tickets to Atlanta Braves games aren’t hard to acquire, even for the good seats. We’re of the opinion there are two things keeping attendance down at Turner Field: the lack of marketing to the local African-American community and the generic atmosphere at Turner Field. Either way, the lack of demand for tickets gives you plenty of opportunity to score the seats you want. If you’re coming in for a single game, consider a splurge on the Club Level: prices, $65 and $55, are reasonable for a MLB club level. Plus, at the Club Level you’ll have access to some air-conditioned comfort on a muggy night and a clear view of the center-field scoreboard.
Best Cheap Seats: Under the right circumstances, you can get into the ballpark for a buck, as the Braves offer Skyline seats for $1 three hours before gametime. Those sections are in deep center and way down the left-field line. Go for the Skyline seats down the left-field line and then camp out at a Coca-Cola Sky Field table: the view is better. The only drawback: you won’t have a good view of the mondo scoreboard.
Most Overrated Sections: The $45 Field Pavilion seats are merely the outfield bleachers. Those seats provide a decent view of the action, but you won’t have a good view of the scoreboard – and any seat over $20 should have a good view of the scoreboard. (On nights when there is no delay, these seats can go for as little as $15.)
Most Underrated Sections: Upper Box seats are only $15. We hate to hammer home this point, but the center-field videoboard is impressive, and you should select seats that provide a clear view of it.
Turner Field: Good Design, Improved Presentation
We’re not quite sure we’d write off Turner Field as just another retro ballpark, as some fans seem to have done. The Braves even advertise the ballpark as having “the nostalgia and the atmosphere of old-time baseball,” but that’s not totally true: while there are some retro elements in the ballpark, from the seats Turner Field is pure business, a circus and plenty of sideshows surrounding an immaculately groomed playing field and overseen by the largest scoreboard in the majors.
In fact, from the seats Turner really isn’t retro at all. It’s not an exceptionally intimate ballpark unless you’re in the lower seating, and if anything the ballpark is on the modern side, with a high-tech scoreboard looming over the action and plenty of fireworks when a Braves player hits a homer.
Still, for many, retro represents pure nostalgia, and there’s more than enough of it at Turner Field.
Turner Field began life as the main stadium for the 1996 Summer Olympics, constructed next to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. In that configuration, Olympic Stadium stretched out to accommodate a full track; the current grandstand was one end of the oval, while the other end was torn down (you can see the pillars from the original stadium entrance at the Ralph David Abernathy side, with the rest of the old Olympic seating used as the Entry Plaza). After the Olympic games ended, it took eight months to retrofit the stadium to a baseball-only facility.