Ashley’s down in Atlanta for the week, so she took her brother to Turner Field to watch the Nats take out the Braves. It was a brutal summer day (official game temp was 101), but with lots of water, ice cream, and a win, the day turned out to be fun.
It’s hard to come into another stadium and be the lone fan cheering for your team. Ashley’s done it before in college, but it’s different when you grew up with the home team and have become a traitor (according to the brother). The tomahawk chop was still going strong, and the Braves uniforms haven’t changed in years. However, Ashley stuck to her guns and cheered when the rest of the crowd booed.
There were a lot of things that made this game great, but what really stuck out to me was how the overall game experience was so much better than going to a game at Nationals Park. Let’s go through a few of them:
1) Parking – it took us less than 30 minutes to get door to door. The Braves stadium is about 3 miles further away from home than Nats Park, but parking is available right at the stadium and there wasn’t crazy traffic. Yes, we went on a Sunday afternoon during a holiday week, but traffic has been so bad in DC on a weekend that we’ve turned around before. Parking was $10 in advance (plus fees) or $15 in cash.
2) Seating – the seats at Turner Field are slightly steeper, which means that you’re closer to the field. We sat in the 200s, which would be like an upper 100s seat. However, because of the way the seats were situated, I felt like we had a better angle on the field. Turner field holds about 49,000 (vs 41,000 for the Nats), but it didn’t feel like the stadium was bigger. Also, our seats were in the shade the entire game (for a 1:35 start).
3) Concessions – the food seemed of better quality (including a lot of local restaurants) and was cheaper. My brother got basic chicken tenders, which were delicious (even on a HOT day) and only cost $7. I grabbed a small cup of ice cream – $3. And my small had two scoops crammed into it. It was also Mayfield, which elevates it to a whole other level.
4) Season Ticket Holder (STH) Perks – wow, this really showed a difference in the two parks. The Braves had a lounge area set aside for STHs, and all STHs get 33% off concessions all year. It made me want to snap up a season pack.
5) Music – when visiting batters step up to the plate, the Braves organist tries to play something special for them. On Sunday we got “Send in the Clowns” for Harper, OUT spelled out in morse code for Morse, and “Never Gonna Give you Up” (by Rick Astley) for Ankiel. If you ever make it to a game in Atlanta (or are watching on TV), you can follow @bravesorganist on Twitter to give suggestions or find out what he’s thinking for our boys.
6) The Big Screen – in between innings, the music and videos definitely had a Southern flare. I had forgotten just how much I like country music in fact. The best thing they did though was show a montage of clips from a game last year where the Braves rallied back from 4 under to tie, and ultimately win, the game. “We did it before, and we can do it again…” was the basic theme, and then led into the tomahawk chop. I think that’s a great way to motivate the fans.
Overall, the game was one of the more fun, relaxed baseball outings I’ve had in a while. I didn’t realize how much Nats games actually stress me out. Dear Nationals, please take a look at this and try to find ways to make your game experience better. I felt like I was there to watch baseball, not there to make money for the owners. Even if the Braves had won, I still would have had a great day.
(Just to be fair, the one thing the Nats do better is cameras. I can bring an 8 inch lens to Nationals Park, but only a 5 inch lens to Turner Field. Hence, no awesome telephoto pics this time.)
Full album is here.