thomastontimes.com

A New Stadium?

November 17, 2013

Yes, I was as surprised as you were! The announcement that the Atlanta Braves would build a new stadium in Cobb County and move there after the 2016 season was a real shocker. It seems that the Braves had been stealthily planning the move for some time and sprung it on everyone just when no one expected it. Why?


I’m sure that by this time you have heard or read some of the reasons given by the Braves for their move. I just don’t buy some of their reasoning. I think that the Braves have been unhappy with their present situation for some time and have been looking for a way out for several years. The neighborhood where Turner Field is located has never been considered a safe one and the opportunity for expansion is nil.


The Braves’ fans who live south and east of Atlanta are surely not very happy with the move. There are numerous local fans who go to Braves’ games regularly and will now have to travel many more miles to get to see the team play. According to a map produced by the Braves, a large percentage of Braves’ fans live in the north and west sector of the team’s attendance area. I don’t know how they produced this map, and I can’t argue with it, but it is obvious that these areas are where the bigger money people live. There’s the key word! “Money.”


The new stadium will have approximately 10,000 fewer seats than Turner Field. I don’t really understand that but it could easily mean that ticket prices will increase to make up for the fewer seats. The Braves also say that they want to create a “total fan experience” for Braves’ games. This seemingly mean restaurants, clubs, shopping, etc. I always felt that baseball fans went to games to see the game, not to shop or dine or party. I don’t have time to engage in these activities after a game and really don’t want to. What kind of fans do the Braves want?


And then comes the other key word - “traffic”! Have you ever been at the I-75/I-285 intersection in Cobb County at around 5 p.m.? Well, if you have, you will know that the traffic there is horrendous. Imagine how it will be when this stadium opens. I always try to get to the stadium a couple of hours before a game so I will find myself right in the middle of all of this traffic and congestion. And all of this after driving past the present site of Turner Field and going another 30 minutes to get to this site of excess metal driven by unhappy and frustrated commuters and fans. My oh my!


The Braves stated that the fans would have easier access to the games. How? There is no rapid transit in Cobb County. No MARTA. Not even a bus service that can handle this additional infusion of people.


The Braves’ officials seemingly just threw out a bunch of crap and hoped that some of it would stick. Believe what you want to believe. They used enormous amounts of money knowing that the average person really couldn’t conceive of these figures. I can’t understand these outrageous numbers and feel that they were used to confuse us. It may have worked.


Well, it seems that the Braves are gone to the suburbs. Southside fans can enjoy the convenient trip to Turner Field for three more seasons and then we will have to plan a vacation to get to a game. The Braves are going to get what they want and there is no getting around it. We just have to learn to live with it! Or maybe we can become Yankee or Red Sox fans. Ya think?