It’s finally here! We have waited a long time for this day! April 14, 2017!! Three years ago when we got the announcement that we were getting a new ballpark, I had no idea how much progress, vision, and creativity could be carried out so well, so beautifully and so quickly!!
What an honor to serve on the Braves Fan Advisory Board for the new SunTrust Park for 2-1/2 years, working with some of the nicest people, and it is really amazing to see Braves’ vision (and what we have been talking about for so long) finally come to LIFE!!
There was so much excitement Opening night, throughout opening weekend, and so much energy in and around SunTrust Park. There is so much to do and see at SunTrust Park and in The Battery Atlanta. We attended the games Friday and Saturday night of Opening Weekend and still didn’t get to experience everything there is to offer. I can’t wait to go back (which will be soon), and try several new food items by Delaware North in SunTrust Park, and enjoy all the cool places to eat in The Battery Atlanta. There is so much thought and creativity that has gone into this ballpark. It is amazing!! I will let the pictures tell the story.
I was so happy to be a part of this project, even if in a small way. I am proud to call this ball park, HOME! Go Braves!
An amazing feature of our new SunTrust Park is the area called, the Coors Light ‘Below the Chop’. As you can probably figure out, the new Coors Light ‘Chop House’ is above this, and this ‘Below the Chop’ area is field level, and out in right field. This is a nice sized space for fans for a premium cost, and for private parties. As you can imagine, it’s very popular already. This area has a bar, food buffet area, and 2 rows of bleachers that have drink coolers that will keep your drinks cold on a hot day. There are also restrooms so you don’t have to go far away from the action. Everything you need is close by. The Coors Light sign you see here is designed with baseballs. Of course, the tables you see here are appropriately themed as well! Take a look to see what else this area includes!
Plenty of seating with drink coolers (those holes you see in the tables!) to keep your drinks cold on a hot summer day!
I wanted to pass on some important information from the Braves about how to get to and from SunTrust Park on game day!
The Atlanta Braves have put great thought and detail into how to make getting to SunTrust Park the best experience for you! The Braves have joined in partnership with Uber, Waze, and Cobb County to help get you to the ballpark easier and help manage the traffic during game days. They are excited to pilot new technology with the Uber app, and the updated MLB.com Ballpark App, to help make the entire process easier from purchasing your tickets, and planning your trip to and from the ballpark.
New Partnership with Uber:
“Uber announced the pilot of new technology that will make the pick-up experience fast and more efficient at SunTrust Park.”
“Riders leaving SunTrust park will be directed to the Uber Zone, which is located steps from the ballpark along Windy Ridge Parkway, through in-app messaging and physical signage. At the Uber Zone, fans will open their Uber app, set their destination and request a car as usual. Instead of having to navigate to find a specific car and driver, riders will see a personalized PIN cole in their app and can simply give it to the next available driver in the Uber Zone.”
For game day travel, you are encouraged to make a plan in advance of your trip to SunTrust Park. This can be done in 3 easy steps, and can be completed through the updated MLB.com Ballpark app.
What You Need to Know:
Buy your ticket in advance!The Braves have transitioned completely to PAPERLESS TICKETS. Tickets can be purchased through the MLB.com Ballpark app where you will receive a barcode that will be scanned on your phone as you enter the gates. You can also purchase tickets at Braves.com, or calling the Braves ticket office at 404-577-9100.
Buy your parking in advance! When you purchase your game tickets, please also select and purchase your parking! This will give you better choices of where to park and ultimately save you money. There are 14,000 spaces around the ballpark, but purchasing before you arrive will give you customized directions and a pre-purchase discount. Many lots will require a pre-payment, although some will accept credit cards at the site. Plus, if you have bought your parking in advance, you will have the added benefit of the Waze app to help you get there.
Use the Waze App! Because they are partnering with the Braves, Waze will be receiving real-time traffic information and updates from Cobb County to help spread out traffic in such a large area and help you maneuver around and find the best way to your parking lot (another reason to buy parking in advance). Cobb County and Waze will be able to get you around trouble spots, much more than a smartphone map app, because it is customized to help you get to a Braves event.
To also help reduce congestion, The Cobb County DOT is assisting with traffic manageability by offering The Cumberland Circulator. This transit system will have new routes to help you on game day, make daily traffic a bit more manageable, with enhanced mobility and frequency.
There are 14 access points to get in and out of the ballpark area, minimizing impact on everyday commuters. There are 14,000 parking spaces available around SunTrust Park. 5,000 more parking spaces than at Turner Field…. for a ballpark with 8,000 less seats!
I’m ready for new season in our awesome new ballpark!! Let’s Play Ball!
The Braves have worked very hard to include a fun space for our kids! As with the rest of the ballpark, this area has been well thought out and carefully designed. Now when your kids come to a game, they will get to enjoy so many amenities that SunTrust Park has to offer. The Braves, in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, have come up with a fabulous kids’ zone called ‘Hope and Will’s Sandlot’. It is located behind sections 151-155!
As always, there is a Braves Kids Club membership so your kids can be a part of the team! A premium membership is $25 (per membership) or there is a free membership option as well. When you buy a Premium Membership, there are several really great benefits and prizes that include a Dansby Swanson jersey and much much more. Check out all the info at Braves.com/kids.
And be on the lookout about how you can reserve your times in advance for all the fun games and activities you will see here.
In the meantime, let me show you around….
Thanks for letting me show you around the Kids’ area! It’s going to be a really fun season!
I am in awe of the effect dogs have on people. You see the joy, the smiles, and the stress just melt away when a dog is around. Whenever I am at the ballpark with our dog, Sammy, people will often approach to say hello. He is very sociable, loves everyone, and enjoys the attention. He’s like a “people magnet”. 🙂
The road to finding our Sammy wasn’t easy. Over the past couple of years, our son had been experiencing some anxiety and was having a hard time with friends in school. He had also fallen in love the with the Disney ‘Air Bud’ movies, starring Buddy, the Golden Retriever, ultimately falling in love with breed. My son has watched the ‘Air Bud’ movies so much, that he started to want a dog. Not just any dog, but a Male Golden Retriever.
We also had a friend with a white English Buttercream Retriever that was so calm and wonderful. That dog would put his head in my son’s lap. He loved it! It was priceless and further drove the point home that my son wanted this type of dog.
It became clear to us that a Golden Retriever would be perfect for our son since we knew that these were great companion dogs, can ease stress and anxiety, and could possibly one day end up serving as a therapy dog, something I had always been interested in. We knew that Goldens can sense distress in people and care about you with a heart of GOLD. But seriously, having this kind of dog might help ease my son’s anxiety.
So, we began searching. We searched high and low, specifically for a male Golden Retriever. We searched every rescue place in town. We paid application fees, we had home visits, we tried everything. I think we tried 5 or 6 rescue organizations, as well as the Humane Society. We found nothing. Even the rescue volunteers we telling us that with the dogs they had, who had a lot of problems, they didn’t have a dog with the right fit for us.
This went on for 9 months…
It was heart wrenching…
We were SO ready for this dog. And not just ANY DOG, but the RIGHT DOG. We had started to give up hope.
Out of desperation, one night I posted on Facebook that we were looking for a male Golden Retriever and if anyone knew of anyone that knew of anyone that had one, I would be forever grateful.
Within hours, My friend replied that she had a friend with a male Golden puppy that was available…. WHAT??? Seriously???
That friend owned a Male and Female Golden, and they had delivered 9 puppies, 4 months ago. We were so thrilled!
We were able to visit and take home our 4 month old puppy, Sammy, like the same day!!! It was awesome because we also got to meet Sammy’s mom and dad. I was reminded that timing is everything. If we, or the dog’s owner had been in a different place in our lives, then we would have missed this wonderful opportunity. It was truly meant to be.
We have had Sammy now for 3 months and he has been so much fun! My son, who is now 11 years old, has been wonderful with him. Our boy is more responsible than I have ever seen him. He takes Sammy outside to go to the bathroom, he feeds him, makes sure he has his water. He will take him outside to play ball and run around. At the same time, this dog will put his head in my son’s lap and rest. Just what he’s always wanted. We have taught Sammy to fetch, catch a ball in his mouth, shake hands, walk on the leash, etc. When my son comes home from school, he will say with excitement, “SAMMY!” and then say, “Oh… Hi Mom!” 🙂
I see so much more happiness, and less anxiety, in my kid because of this sweet, insightful, dog. There is a bond there, a love for each other. I will bring Sammy to my son’s baseball games and Sammy totally knows which one he is on the field. Sammy is so loyal and wants to be with his people. I see the excitement in my son now and I think about all the months that we searched, tried, cried, and wanted to love on this wonderful creature.
And…I am touched at what sweet, intuitive, dogs they are. Just today, I brought Sammy with me to see my son’s game. There were several kids that came up to Sammy to say hello, which of course I encourage. But, there was a special needs child in a stroller that showed interest in Sammy. I told them it was okay to say hello and brought Sammy over. This child started squealing and flailing his arms out of pure excitement of seeing this dog. Sammy was so wonderful and gentle with him, letting this child touch his face and rub him. Then Sammy, sensing how much joy this child had, layed down, rolled over, and wanted this child to rub his belly. He had not done that with any of the other children that came up to say hello. It was positively precious.
I will say that with Goldens, training is absolutely essential. I heard an awful story of a Golden that was turned over to a rescue organization because he was too wild for the kids. This dog had been banished to the basement and was never allowed to join the family. Basically, all he needed was some training.
They can be strong and they are big. If they are not taught correctly, they can be difficult.
I know having a dog with babies and small kids can be challenging, but if proper dog training is done and practiced each day, you can have a DREAM DOG. We have been through puppy training with Sammy and will continue on as he gets older. These dogs are so smart and pick it up super quick. It is so important to teach them the appropriate way to act. Just like we do with our children…
It’s hard to imagine that our baseball coaches are simply volunteers. There is a great deal of love, passion, and time that goes into a season. My husband loves being able to coach. I love being able to help. One of my many responsibilities as a Team Mom is that I get to run drills with the boys on the field, I also do administrative stuff for my hubby/coach since he has a full time job, but I think my most important job is that I run the dugout. For every game.
A lot happens in the dugout. It is a very adventurous place. Our son is now 11 years old, but when he and his teammaues were 9/10 and younger, I found it was important to be in the dugout. I end up being the batting order coordinator, counselor, cheerleader, photographer, motivational speaker, nurse, aka boo boo fixer, monitor of boys climbing the fence, and trying to make sure none of the players swings a bat in the dugout. I also am a “bat runner” or “bat girl” if you prefer. It is fun but you have to stay on your toes. I have to be prepared.
I make sure I have these important items in my trusty Team Mom Bag:
First Aid Kit
Pens for my husband/Coach who always tends to forget his
Game Schedule/Snack Schedule
I will always have a first aid kit with me for those moments where anything can happen. Blisters, cuts, scrapes, bumps, and bruises. This is also why I will bring a few ice packs. (Summer Baseball is an entirely different situation… more on this later.)
Our park has asked our players to fill out medical forms in case of emergency. I will always have those with me in a folder or notebook.
I will always bring a few extra water bottles and snack bars in case someone is starving in the dugout, or forgot to bring their water bottle. Especially those who are running from somewhere else or forgot to eat breakfast. Keeping in mind food allergies.
I always have a copy of the game schedule either in writing or on my phone because someone will almost always ask me about an upcoming game or when they are supposed to bring snack.
But, like I said I help out in the dugout, every game. As the coach’s wife, he puts me to the task and trusts I will handle it.
The first couple of games are the funniest because the boys are still bonding as a team, and learning so much. Some are climbing on everything, and some are throwing balls and/or swinging bats. This is my job to monitor (prevent) all of this.
As the “batting order coordinator” so I have to have those boys ready to go on deck or up to bat. No matter what. It takes a game or two to get them to understand the timing of all of this. When the boys were younger, sometimes it took 2 of us in the dugout… 1 for crowd control and 1 for batting order.
The first couple of games, our players can get so nervous. I teach them to cheer each other on. Sometimes things on the field don’t always go their way and this is an important lesson to learn. If one of our players strikes out, I will teach they boys that as that player comes back to the dugout, that are met by their team with pats on the back and a “it’s ok, man!” or to give them a High Five. Lift them up when they are down. And to do that throughout the game no matter what. Sometimes just hearing a “you can do it!” from another player can mean so much.
This is so much a part of the game. Lifting each other up when GOOD things happen and lifting each other up when BAD things happen.
Things on the field will not go their way every single time.
Just like life…
When things don’t go our way, it’s always nice to have a teammate, friend, family member to pat us on the back and say, “it’s ok, man!” or give us a high five for at least trying and getting out there and giving good effort.
By the end of the season, the boys are usually connected, they are teammates and friends. They know what is expected of them in the dugout. I don’t have to watch for swinging bats as much…or balls flying through the air, but I will see them give pats on the back and hear them give words of encouragement to their teammate when things didn’t go their way on the field.
Do you have an amazing coach that has given your kids a great experience at their favorite sport? As we all know, a good coach is hard to find. These guys are volunteers and choose to spend their time teaching and helping our kids. I know we all want a meaningful way to show our appreciation.
I love the idea of going in together as a Team and doing something nice for your favorite coach. There are many ideas circulating but these are my favorite.
The parents on our team usually collected money for a very nice gift card to various restaurants or sporting goods stores and present it to the Coaches at the End of the Season Party. This is such a great idea. They do this on their own. They know as a team mom, I am working on a gift from the players to the coaches, and I have something special I give to our players….See my post on Team Mom: End of Season Gifts for Coaches and Players.
A meaningful gift for a coach from their players, is a team picture, surrounded by a mat, in a nice frame that the players have signed. I’ve had several coaches tell me they really appreciated this. My husband loves seeing pictures of every team he has coached on a special wall in our home. See my post on Team Mom: End of Season Gifts for Coaches and Players.
Another great idea I heard about was from my friend, Donna. A coach she had worked with had really done an outstanding job with her kids. She also knew he was a HUGE Boston Red Sox fan. She emailed them telling them how excellent this coach was and that she wanted to do something nice for him.
They sent her a bottle of field dirt…to some, it might not mean that much, but to him, it meant the WORLD. It contained actual MLB Authenticated game-used dirt from Fenway Park. You can actually go to an authentication database and enter the hologram number which is displayed on the bottle. This validates that this is actually game-used field dirt. A very thoughtful gift, and something very meaningful to a true fan.
So, if you are looking for a meaningful gift for an important person or favorite Coach…. find out what their favorite team, or player, and try sending that email to that professional organization to see what they may send you or see what you can find online.
Everyone appreciates a good coach and we want to properly show our gratitude!
As a Coach of 9 and 10 year olds, my husband has always monitored the pitch count of our pitchers in a game. He never lets them go too long. He is always trying to prevent injury and keep those young arms healthy.
In October, our son, a 10 year old pitcher, was pitching in a game. He said there was that “one pitch” that “hurt his elbow”. Hmmm
Of course, we took this seriously, iced it, and kept an eye on it. After a few days, the pain was still there. Not good.
After my husband did some research on the internet, we knew something was up, and took him to a pediatric orthopedist.
He had ‘Little League Elbow’.
‘Little League’ What? What in the world???
‘Little League Elbow’ is something that most commonly occurs between the ages of 8-15 in children that do a lot of OVERHAND THROWING. It is an injury caused by OVERUSE of REPETITIVE THROWING motion. The overuse puts too much pressure on the growth plate of inner side of elbow, where the ligament attaches to the growth plate.
HealthyChildren.org says, “Growing Bones are easily injured because the growth plate is much weaker than the ligaments and muscles that attach to it.”
We explained to the doctor that we were NOT crazy aggressive coaches but that we always kept a count of his pitches, etc. etc.
He was happy to hear that but explained to us that it’s not only PITCHING in a game but can include playing CATCHER in a game and all of the warm-up before the game and in between innings. If a kid throws 50 pitches in a game, then plays catcher in the next few innings, this quickly adds up to 100 THROWS in a day…or more!
He also explained to us that it is not only pitching and catching in a day/game but the OTHER THROWING that we don’t think about.
How many times does he throw in PE? How about the Fitness Program before school? What about Recess? How many throws happen when he’s throwing a ball up against the house in the driveway?
It all adds up. This is why I wanted to spread the word…
It’s not all about pitching, or catching, or outfield throwing, or just baseball…it is the accumulation of it all and being young, active boys.
The doctor said to rest the arm for 3-4 weeks. For our son, it took a little bit longer. We were fortunate that our Fall season was getting ready wrap up so he would have a long off season to heal. He had to wear a sling for a couple of weeks to remind him not to use his arm. He was not very happy. After the pain stopped, he had to do some strengthening exercises that the doctor sent us. The doctor also said that it was ok to play basketball, or something else that uses other muscles besides the “throwing muscles”. But, also no Frisbee, or push-ups for a while… it would put too much stress on the elbow.
It is essential to have “normal rest” after pitching which includes NO THROWING during days off and during normal play activities. Our son has learned to use his non-dominant left arm for throwing in PE at school, etc.
Every league has different rules on resting between days they pitch but “common sense” rules for 9/10 year olds include:
Throws more than 25 pitches, good idea to rest 1 day
Throws more than 50 pitches, 2 days rest between appearances
Throws more than 70 pitches, 3-4 days rest between appearances
Do NOT throw more than 70 pitches in a day!
My husband is extra careful not to let pitchers-catch and catchers-pitch in the same day if at all possible. Recently, we had a double header and were quickly running out of pitchers so some had to double up for some quick innings. Again, the total THROW count was low.
So, please keep an eye on the number of throws your boys do in a day. Add in PE, Fitness Club, Recess, outside play at home.
My son used to throw a ball against the wall in the basement before this happened. It’s hard being such an active boy. Again, he has learned to throw with his non-dominant left arm and has actually gotten pretty good at it. In every challenge, you can find success….
For more information, please check out these important links about ‘Little League Elbow’
What a fun and meaningful day. It was a bittersweet day. We are excited for things to come but sad to say Goodbye to a place where we have spent so much time.
I’m really proud of the Braves Organization for working so hard to make this day so special for all of us, as we are life long Braves fans.
I loved seeing the alums during pre-game like Javy Lopez, Chipper Jones, Marcus Giles, Rafael Furcal, Adam LaRoche, Andruw Jones, Brian Jordan, and Gary Sheffield. We all loved the moment when Greg Maddox, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine walked in together from Centerfield to throw out the first pitch. To have Timothy Miller sing the National Anthem as well as ‘God Bless America’ was a special treat.
I’m so happy that our Braves are playing strong baseball, winning their last 12 out of 14, and ended the season well.
And of course, how perfect that Hank Aaron would throw out the final pitch to Bobby Cox in a great closing ceremony!
Thank you to the Atlanta Braves, for a very proper tribute.
So now we say, so long Turner Field! A new chapter begins at SunTrust Park! Go Braves!
As our baseball and softball season is wrapping up, it’s time to start thinking about the End of Season Coaches’ Gifts. Our Coaches put so much time, effort, energy, and hard work into our seasons, we want them to know how MUCH they are APPRECIATED!
My husband and I are on our 12th season of coaching/managing a team. We usually work with 1 or 2 assistant coaches. We never forget any kid that has been on one of our teams. Once you play a game together, there is a bond that never goes away. We’ve seen these players struggle and have seen them succeed. We have lost games together and won games together. Some kids stay with us for several seasons, some age out or try other sports. Either way. They will always be special to us.
I am the one with the camera. I take A TON of pictures throughout our seasons. I present these pictures AT THE END of our seasons for our boys and the coaches. For the boys, I will choose 4 or 5 of the BEST pictures of them in action on the field…catching a ball, throwing, hitting, sliding into base…and put them on a spiral notebook (with scrapbook adhesive) and laminate the cover so they will have a keepsake of our season. They can use this spiral notebook as a journal over the summer or as a notebook in school. Some boys like to show it to their friends. Others like to display it in their room. Either way, I feel it is a proper way to “give back” to these boys and parents for playing on our team and want them to remember a great baseball or softball experience.
For the coaches’ gift, I will take a team picture and put it in a frame and have the players from our team sign it. We have a wall in our basement (a room in which we occupy often) and it shows every season that we have coached. It has every kid that has ever played on our team. I think this gift means a lot to my husband and our coaches because of the investment, memories, and energy involved in a season. Every season has a story. Every season has great memories.
I found these frames at Michael’s and I buy the same one every time. Recently, they were selling these for 70% off (I could not believe my eyes!) so I bought all of them. They are normally $8.99ish but I got them for $2!!!!! T w o dollars!
Since this is a gift from the boys and me to the coaches, the parents will usually collect money on their own and present gift cards to the coaches. This is not something that I as the team mom usually do since I am usually coaching, too (and doing the picture gifts) and I feel weird collecting money for my husband. 🙂 We love what we do.
I will upload the pictures that I have taken to Walgreens and send out the link so the parents can order any extra pictures that they like. Also, it gives them an opportunity to forward on to family members.
I hope you all have a great end to your Spring Season.
And again, a special Thank You to our coaches for EVERYTHING!