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!
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…
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!
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!
Our Memories at Turner Field… Where do I start? There are too many to count. I truly can’t believe that we are about to go in to the last weekend at this ballpark. I am excited about SunTrust Park and all of the new awesomeness that we are about to experience, but, I am a little sad to say goodbye to a place where we have spent so much time.
My husband and I attended the second game ever at Turner Field in April of 1997. We were only dating at the time. Our first date had been to a Braves game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium just the summer before, now our life together was to continue at Turner Field. Since then, we have gotten engaged, married, and had 2 children, who are now 11 and 15 years old.
Over the years, we have attended MANY MANY games. When we aren’t attending, we are watching the game on TV. We started bringing our children when they were young, but only 2-3 times a year. As they got older, we started attending more and more games and ultimately found ourselves becoming A-List members and attending 20+ games a season.
Our babies attending their first ballgame when each was around 4 months old. They both sat so still and were in awe of everything going on around them. They have loved it from the beginning!
As I look back at the number of years we have attended games, I am amazed of how many friends and family members we have run into there and attended games with.
I think about how many times we have run the bases, both on the field and up in the Coca-Cola Sky Field area, or how many times we have pitched or hit a ball in Scout’s Alley, or how many times my son has played foam baseball in the Children’s Healthcare Family Zone. I wonder how many times my daughter and I have gotten our face painted, how many times we have walked around the warning track, chased foul balls, or have been on our feet cheering our guys on to win.
We have celebrated our wedding anniversaries, our children’s birthdays, graduations, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, large groups from our youth group at church and school, etc.etc.
The list goes on and on……
I think about the number of hotdogs, pizzas, chicken fingers, bags of cotton candy, ice cream cones, and King of Pop popsicles we have eaten. The number of posters that my children have made to support their favorite players, the number of balls we have caught during batting practice, and the number of players that have thrown a baseball to my children, which is an absolutely precious gift.
I think about the time my husband caught a homerun ball, hit by Evan Gattis, in his glove in centerfield on Father’s Day! And the time a homerun ball, hit by Freddie Freeman, bounced on the seat behind me and I reached up and caught it barehanded.
I think about the number of post-game concerts we have stayed for, the number of fireworks displays, and the number of rain delays we have sat through…
But most importantly, the number of hours we have spent watching our favorite game, cheering on our favorite team… together.
My children will remember growing up at this Ballpark.
I’ve always loved it that when we were at a game, my childhood or current friends would send me a message saying, “Hey! We are at the game, are you here?” They knew we would be there, and this has prompted some very fun reunions.
At the start of this season there was so much negativity surrounding how the Braves were playing and attendance has been low, so we have been able to “stretch our legs” a little bit at games this year. But now, I am THRILLED that the team is playing FANTASTIC baseball, winning their last 10 out of 11 games, and there will be a sold out crowd at the Final game this Sunday to celebrate the final game. I’m so proud of our team and always proud to be a Braves Fan!
I feel a little nostalgic to say ‘so long’ to Turner Field, but so excited for the next chapter at SunTrust Park. This team is going to take us very far in the years to come!! Just Wait!
So, Thank you to The Atlanta Braves and Turner Field for making the last several years really fun and enjoyable for our family.
Our Memories are Priceless.
An autographed ball by Fredi Gonzalez and Andrelton Simmons! Andrelton threw a ball to my daughter during batting practice the day before and on this day he signed it! We loved him!
Always on the run? Here is another quick 10 minute meal. This time, yummy Quesadillas! A crowd pleaser for sure!
You will need:
a package of large flour tortillas
1 lb. of ground beef or ground turkey
shredded cheese of your liking. I like Mozzerella, Cheddar, Mexican style
diced tomato, if desired
sour cream, salsa, guacamole, used as dips
Brown ground beef or ground turkey, your choice! As your meat is cooking, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and minced onions.
When your meat is all cooked… drain. While your meat is draining in a separate drainer, wipe the excess grease out of your skillet with a clean cloth or paper towels, careful not to burn yourself.
Spray skillet with non-stick spray. On low/medium heat, add a tortilla in the skillet, spread the cheese FIRST, this will help everything adhere. Top with meat, sprinkle AGAIN with shredded cheese on the other side of the meat, and diced tomato, if desired. Place another tortilla on top of the meat mixture and spray with non-stick spray (for flavor and to keep it from getting too dry). Cook on Low/Medium Heat for 3-4 minutes until all has melded together, pressing with your spatula so everything will stick together. Tortillas should be sticking to the meat mixture, compliments of the cheese.
Remove from skillet and put on a plate…cut quesadillas into quarters or eighths, depending on who you need to feed. If you need to cook more, just repeat steps above.
My family loves these so I will make the first large quesadilla and put in the oven to keep warm while I am cooking the second. This way everything is warm at the same time.
I love to serve this with tortilla chips and sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole for dipping.
You can get super fancy with this and serve with rice, beans, tortilla chips, etc. This is also a very simple, quick, filling way to get some protein into your kids after those practices or during the weekend when you are at home watching your favorite sporting event.
The other night I was craving Mexican food and decided to make something based on what I had in my kitchen. We were short on time so I looked to see what I could throw together. I happened to have the Purdue Carved Chicken Breast strips, shredded mozzarella cheese, green and red salsa and tortillas on hand. The creative juices were flowing…I went to work.
I sprayed my skillet with nonstick cooking spray, turned it on medium heat, and added grilled chicken strips. I used a plastic spatula (if you are using a non-stick pan) and started to cut chicken strips into smaller pieces. I threw in some shredded cheddar, sharp cheddar, and/or some shredded mozzarella cheese in and stirred. I love cheese in case you can’t tell. 🙂 I pulled apart a flour tortilla into small pieces and threw it in, blended and melted it all together. That’s it, I was DONE.
5 minutes!! No joke.
I served this with tortilla chips, desired amount of remaining cheese, green salsa, and red salsa. It was so yummy! My family loved it! On a day when I can plan better, I plan on serving this with guacamole, sour cream, chopped tomato, chives, etc. etc. You can have this wonderful mixture in tortilla and make it a burrito, or put the mixture in a taco, or eat the mixture just by itself. It is so yummy.
This is a great quick dish to make before a baseball/softball practice to give our kids lots of protein and something very filling. This would also be a great “football game” dish when your hanging out at home with your family watching your favorite game on TV.
If you don’t want to do the refrigerated Chicken Breast Strips, you can always put some boneless/skinless chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cook it all day, then add your cooked chicken with the ingredients above to make the mixture.
Last year, we went to Epcot and ate in “Mexico” at the restaurant called, San Angel Inn. I had a wonderful side dish there called, Chilaquiles. It was incredibly good and when I asked the server about it, she told me all about the history of it and how to make it. She just said to mix a corn tortilla (torn up) with shredded cheese and green salsa in a skillet with non-stick spray and blend for a very yummy side dish. It was so tasty.
This dish is definitely inspired by the Chilaquiles! I see several Chilaquiles recipes that are quite complicated, but this is so simple and it takes 5 minutes. I like to get creative in the kitchen, many times making up my own dishes because I like to see how food can work together for the greatest flavor and how simple cooking can actually be. I like to see how quickly a dish can come together. I know many people that spend hours and hours in the kitchen cooking up the perfect masterpiece. But with our schedules and kids, and multiple ball practices/games, music rehearsals, there is NO WAY. I like to find the simplest, quickest, and yummiest way to cook. And this is one of my favorites.
Quick Mexican Chicken Mixture
Purdue Short Cuts Carved Chicken Breast -Original Roasted
Desired amount of shredded Cheese (your preference- I use Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar, and Cheddar)
Flour Tortilla-tear into small pieces
Spray your Skillet with Non-Stick Spray, add Chicken and cook over medium heat, cut up chicken as you are stirring with a plastic spatula. <Multi-tasking!>
Add desired cheese and stir.
Tear Tortilla into small pieces and add to skillet, stir and spray again with non-stick spray to avoid it getting too dry. Add any extra desired cheese.
Continue stirring and melting for another minute or so until well blended.
Serve on a plate with the mixture alone, with a tortilla as a chicken burrito, taco or whatever you desire. Surround with tortilla chips and your favorite toppings (Guacamole, Sour Cream, Salsa, Tomatoes, etc.) and favorite cheeses.