Opening Weekend 2017 at the New SunTrust Park

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!

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This is the Silver Bullet Bridge overlooks the plaza where there will be pregame and post game activities that will go on.  Love the Braves Sphere!
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What a gorgeous statue!

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Coca Cola Roxy Theatre Pre-Game Party
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Derek Schiller, Terry McGuirk, Rob Manfred, John Schuerholz at the Pre-Game Party at the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre!

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He’s a very kind man.  Every time he meets my family he says, “Hi. I’m John Schuerholz”.  Never assuming they know who he is.
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Inside the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre!  It is beautiful!
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Dancing Chick-Fil-A cows were hanging out near our parking lot!!
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This place was hopping!!
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Beautiful Views!

 

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Flyover during our National Anthem!!  Gave me Chills!

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Timothy Miller has a voice that will melt you!

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One of the many features of The Battery Atlanta!  An awesome place to hang out with your people.  It’s all about the experience.
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Overlooking the other side of the Plaza area where the Fox Sports guys will broadcast from.

 

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For Trivia Purposes:  The First Winner Ever of the Tool Race?  Hammerin’ Hank.
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It’s a beauty.  Don’t ya think?
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We got sit behind visitors’ dugout on this special Opening Night!
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I got this from Dale Murphy’s twitter.  I couldn’t resist!  Several Braves Legends in one shot?  Ok!
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View from our regular seats
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Braves win!  One of many I’m sure!  They had to win the first one!
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We got to enjoy a VIP party before the game but after the game we enjoyed a concert from Cole Swindell.  What an amazing night!
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The Coors Light ‘Below the Chop’

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!

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Creative, huh?  I thought so.

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View from right field!  No heckling Bryce Harper.  LOL

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Plenty of seating with drink coolers (those holes you see in the tables!) to keep your drinks cold on a hot summer day!

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The view from the Coors Light ‘Below the Chop’
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Bar area

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This wall is painted with our famous outfielders throughout the years including Dale Murphy, Hank Aaron, Andrew Jones, and David Justice.  There is a space for our current outfielders to be written on the wall depending on who is playing that day.

 

 

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I hope you get a chance to see a game from this new premium space!  For more go to Braves.com/belowthechop

 

The Kids’ Area at SunTrust Park

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….

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The ‘Hope and Will Climbing Tower’ is a fun climbing tower has a large Braves helmet at the top (seen below)!  I’m sure we’ll be spending a great deal of time here.

 

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You will see here a close up of the “loading dock” for ‘Hope and Will’s Pop Flyer Zip Line’!  It looks like loads of fun!
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This is ‘Hope and Will’s Pop Flyer Zip Line’.  This is the loading area where fans get strapped in and zip line down.  The building behind this is a hotel that will open in 2018.  What a great space!

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This is a great view of the First Base Dash, (where you can time how fast you can run), the Pop Flier Zip Line, and Climbing Tower.  The building you see to the right of this frame is a hotel that will open in 2018!

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Kids have their own Braves Clubhouse Store!
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I loved this game as a kid!  This is Hydration Station.  Players get to race by spraying water in the holes, (which raises the baseball),  to see who gets to the top first.
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Batting Cage, ‘Batter UP!’
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At ‘Strike Zone’, you get to see what it is like to hit a home run at SunTrust Park!
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‘Strike Zone’
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‘Chop A Mole’!!

 

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This is a game called, ‘Pick ‘Em Off’… Players will shoot a ball into the hole and whoever has the most balls go in, wins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kids even get their own snack and dinner spot!  I’m sure we will be spending a great deal of time here, too.

Thanks for letting me show you around the Kids’ area!  It’s going to be a really fun season!

See you there!

Go Braves!

My Tour of SunTrust Park

I had the privilege of touring our new SunTrust Park yesterday.  What an incredible sight!  What was once a field of dirt and just an idea, is now quickly becoming a reality.  Every detail, every design element, every space, seat, feature, club, food venue has been carefully thought out and constructed for us, the Fans!  The players will get a state of the art clubhouse, a separate area to hang out, eat, cook, and rest.  When it comes time for them to bat in a game, they will have a different space to take some swings before stepping onto the batters circle.  I am so proud of Derek Schiller and everyone at the Braves Organization for tirelessly examining every detail possible to make this a nice ballpark for Braves fans and the players.  I have had the pleasure of serving on the Fan Advisory Board for SunTrust Park for the past 2 years and I can tell you that this new ballpark and the adjacent development, The Battery Atlanta, is going to be amazing!  Bring on 2017!  And Let’s Go Braves!

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Our first glimpse of the field as field prep was being done.  This brings me so much excitement for the season to come.
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The field is now behind me and the press box is up at the top of this picture.  This gives an idea of the beautiful thought and architectural design that has gone into this great project.
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This is the lower level of the Coors Light Chop House called, “Below The Chop”.  There will be two rows of wooden bleacher seating here.  The opening to the field will have a vinyl coated fencing and fans will have a field level view, just a few feet from the right fielder position!  Pictured:  Braves President of Business, Derek Schiller, who also assisted in this description.  (Thank you!)
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First Base side seating.  We will be closer to the action in this wonderful, intimate ballpark.
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The Braves will have extra space outside the Braves dugout for players to take some swings before being on deck.
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The Braves Clubhouse–beautifully designed and attention to detail.

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The Braves Batting Tunnel: Pitching machines will be available to give the players the kind of pitch and the speed they choose.
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The Office for the Official Braves manager, Brian Snitker!
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This beautifully designed premiere club, will be located on the terrace level behind Home Plate.  This will showcase many Braves Memorabilia, have exclusive food and drink, as well as many places to enjoy the amazing decor and atmosphere.  This will be available to fans with terrace level seats.
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Photo taken from the Third Base side
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Photo taken from one of the Middle levels looking down.  You see the right field foul pole in front of me.
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The SunTrust Park Scoreboard and the Chick-fil-A Cow!
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Ready to Chop!
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Seeing it close to completion makes me very excited.  The construction workers are working fast and furious getting this done for Opening Day, 2017.  Last I heard, they were ahead of schedule.
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The Iconic ‘A’
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Have I mentioned that I am excited??
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This is the bridge leading to second level of The Battery Atlanta.  It will have specialty shops and restaurants that will be used not just during the Braves baseball season, but year round.
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A look down “main street” of The Battery Atlanta
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What you will see coming in one of the ballpark entrances.  What a great sight this will be, especially if this is the first thing you see!

We can’t wait!  Thank you again to the Braves Organization for all of your hard work!

Go Braves!!

A Boy and His Dog

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.

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Meet Sammy-7 months old and 79lbs.  He’s going to be huge.  His dad is 110 lbs!

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.

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Post Game Water Break
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A Boy and His Dog

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…

So, was all the waiting and searching worth it??

You bet. 🙂

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My Boy and His Dog

Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Coach

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!

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