After visits to Comiskey Park, Milwaukee County Stadium, and Wrigley Field, the final stop on our 2007 ballpark tour was at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves. The stadium that would become Turner Field was built for the 2006 Summer Olympic Games, after which it was converted into a baseball stadium in time for the 2007 season, which was the Braves’ first season playing there.
Turner Field is named after Braves owner Ted Turner, who likes to name things after himself – you know, Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), Turner Network Television (TNT), Turner Classic Movies. I’m not a fan of Ted Turner, what with that whole colorizing of classic movies thing, but anyway.
Turner Field is situated next to the site of the old Fulton County Stadium. During our visit, the carcass of it was still visible from Turner Field – this area eventually became a parking lot.
We were in Atlanta for two games, August 23 and 24, 1997, against the Cincinnati Reds. Both were day games. Let’s just say that it is really hot in Atlanta in August, hence the nickname “Hotlanta”.
Prior to the first game we walked around the ballpark to check it out. Here is a look at the field during pre-game warmups:
On the very upper concourse in left field is a giant Coke bottle made of all sorts of baseball equipment. Coca-cola is headquartered in Atlanta, and of course is a big sponsor.
Fun non-baseball thing to do in Atlanta: visit The World of Coca-Cola, and learn all about the history of Coke, and taste the various products Coca-Cola markets throughout the world. The first tasting room on the self-guided tour lets you sample all the usual products – Coke, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, etc. Then you go into a room with all the international products. There are way too many to try them all, so we randomly picked a few. The Latin American products tended to be incredibly sweet. Then there was one from Italy, called Bitter Aperitif (the name itself should have been a red flag), that was so bitter that I had to run back into the prior room to cleanse my palate with classic Coke! Not sure why anyone would willingly drink this stuff – I’m guessing it’s an acquired taste.
The first game pitted the Braves’ Denny Neagle against the Reds’ Brett Tomko (or as She-Fan, Jane Heller, likes to call him, Bombko). Tomko only gave up one bomb-ko this day, a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first to Kenny Lofton. Neagle would get the win, and Tomko the loss, as the Braves won this one, 10-3.
Starting pitchers for the second game were John Smoltz for the Braves, and Mike Morgan for the Reds. The game started off much the same way, with Kenny Lofton again hitting a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first. The outcome, however, was much different, with the Braves losing 6-4 in 10 innings. Jeff Shaw got the win and Stan Belinda the save for the Reds, with Chad Fox charged with the loss for the Braves.
Our seats for both games were down the left field line in foul territory, with a view into the Reds’ bullpen:
Not too much shade in there!
After this trip, there would be no new stadiums visited until 2000. There would end up being a three year hiatus for the birth of kid number one, the one who was sick yesterday. He’s much better today, by the way, back to picking on his sister.
Up next time, the quest resumes at Yankee Stadium.
(all photos mine)