I don’t think when I posted a spiel about Braves baseball at the beginning of this past season that they would have an offseason like this. I’m amazed that all of this happened so quietly, not a peep was given in the press, and everyone seemed surprised. The Atlanta Braves are now moving to a new stadium 10 miles away from my house. I’m conflicted.
On one hand, I’m one of those people. The very people that ITP’ers sneer at and the very people that the Braves want in their games. I live in the northern suburbs and I have no interest in driving downtown on a weeknight to go to a Braves game. I’m one of the people in the dark red part of this map that shows a red dot for every Braves ticket purchased last year. I wouldn’t go downtown for a Tuesday night game, but Cumberland? Well, that’s a different story, I can be there in 20 minutes and home from a game before 11:00 PM. I’ve read some complaints about how the Braves are leaving a stadium only 17 years old, but this isn’t about the stadium, this is all about where it is located.
On the other hand, I’m not sure how a congested area is going to handle additional traffic. Atlanta has terrible public transportation, the reasons are many and varied, and it was terrible at Turner Field and it will be terrible at the new location in Cumberland. I don’t understand how it’s going to be easy to get to or get out of a game. I also don’t know how a feel about pulling part of the soul of the city out of downtown and moving it out. Yes, it’s only 13 miles up I-75, but there was something special about that view looking out on the skyline from behind home plate. At the new stadium? Maybe you’ll see the skyline off in the distance? I am very concerned about the area around Turner Field, which was pretty impoverished already. I assume they will tear down Turner Field, which is useless now, but what fills the vacuum in an area that no one already wants to go to?
Objectively, the whole thing makes a lot of sense for the Atlanta Braves. Baseball has, for better or worse, become an increasingly suburban sport so it makes sense to go to the suburbs where the fans are. The Braves are leaving a lot of money on the table when they have a nearly empty stadium on a Tuesday night in August. Also, for the large part of the Braves fanbase, nothing really changes. For the people that live all across the southeast and come to one game a year I don’t know that it makes much of a difference if they travel to Cumberland or Midtown. Despite all of this though, I can’t shake the feeling that it is going to be an awful experience traveling on I-285 during rush hour on a Tuesday night in August (it’s already terrible.)
A couple things I do know for sure. One, I’ve been saying for a couple years that we need to take the girls to a game at Turner Field and now I absolutely must do it before time runs out. Two, you can bet that I’ll check out a game at this new stadium. This whole thing is ridiculous, but sports are as a whole ridiculous. I’m just along for the ride. Along with the ridiculous stadium that the Atlanta Falcons are getting, why not add a ridiculous stadium for the Braves? We don’t really do “old”, “historic”, or “traditions” here anyways.