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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How To Get to SunTrust Park: Important Things You Need To Know

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!

For more information, go to Braves.com/transportation

 

 

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!

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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The Final Game at Turner Field

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!

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Our Memories at Turner Field

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.

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Always a Great Fireworks Show!
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We got to meet Steve Avery!!
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We were chosen to be a part of a pre-game parade and Matt Wisler was warming up!
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Paul Byrd stopped to take a picture with me. He is the nicest guy! He does a great job reporting about the Braves.
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The Braves treat their season ticket holders very well and gave us a ‘Play Day’ at Turner Field.  They fed us, let us play catch on the field, and gave us a tour of the ballpark.  This is the Braves dugout (in the rain)
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In 2015, our son was chosen to be the Honorary Team Captain for the game that night which meant he got to go to home plate and meet the umpires and both managers! He was so happy.

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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!

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This was our son’s birthday/last day of school/5th grade graduation day, so, of course, we were headed to the Braves game that night!  He was so excited!  The Braves found out it was his birthday/5th grade graduation so they upgraded our seats to 4th row by the Braves on-deck circle.  It was such a special treat!
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I’ve always thought this was supercool!
Batting Practice
Batting Practice

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My family. 🙂  We were at the Lead-off Luncheon at Turner Field with the Braves players and coaches back at the beginning of this season.  A really fun day!

 

Opening Week of Braves Baseball

Opening SeriesThis time last Monday, we woke up with such excitement over Opening Day of Atlanta Braves Baseball.

Finally…after five L O N G months!

For us, it was Spring Break and we were happy!  My husband was off from work and kids were out of school.  Perfect.  The game was at 4:00 and it was a beautiful weather day.

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They were not the most beautiful, but they were fun and tasty.

I was so excited that I made baseball pancakes.  🙂

They were not the most beautiful, but they were fun and tasty.

As we were making our way downtown to the ballpark, we were met with many other cars on the highway in the middle of the afternoon!  Apparently, many other people were headed to Turner Field, too!  Awesome!  There was such an excitement in the air of the season to come.  It turned out to be a sold out crowd that night.  Excellent!

We usually go early for batting practice so maybe the kids can catch a homerun ball or maybe the players on the field will throw them one.  We save every ball.  I hope the players realize how much it means to our kids when they throw them a ball.  I especially love it when the players interact and can be funny.  With a simple friendly gesture, they quickly become our kids’ heroes.

Batting Practice
Batting Practice game 2
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These guys are the best at throwing balls to the crowd

We ended up going to 3 games this week and the Lead-off Luncheon.  It was so much fun.  The Lead-off Luncheon involves the players and coaches.  One player or coach sits at every table.  This year we were able to sit with Alexi Ogondo, relief pitcher.  Williams Perez sat at the table next to us, and Jose Ramirez sat at the table on the other side of us.  I was also able to see some friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, so it was a very memorable day.  I was very proud of my children.  Not only did they handle themselves very well, they dressed up nice, thought the food was incredible (it was), and they thought it was the coolest thing ever to be eating lunch in the same room as their favorite players.  I have to agree.

Leadoff Luncheon
Chip Caray was interviewing Kelly Johnson, Freddie Freeman, Jeff Francouer, and Jason Grilli.  You see Williams Perez in the foreground, light blue shirt, gray jacket
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You see Alexi Ogondo right in the front in blue checkered shirt, dark jacket

We always love to see our friends at the ballpark.  We have been season ticket holders for a few years now, so we get to see the same people.  Years ago, we started talking to one fellow, George, who works in the area where the kids can run the bases.  He’s been there now for 10 years.  We go see George every game we attend.  He is always kind, genuine, and happy.  Our kids don’t go to the run the bases anymore but we always go say hello. We found a picture of him from several years ago as we were taking a picture of our kids running the bases when they were small.  It is so neat to look back and notice someone in your pictures that you didn’t realize you would know later.

The Braves this week have had more than their share of struggles.  They are 0-5.  But, our happiness is not based on whether they win or lose.  I hope one day soon they can figure out what makes this new team work and find their success.

If you haven’t been following the Braves very closely. Here’s the scoop:  Over the past 2 years or so, the Braves have gone through a rebuilding process that has included many trades, trying to get rid of long term high paying contracts and focusing on the farm system (minor league teams) and building them up (home grown) to become our primary Major League Players.  It has been a painful process that has resulted in some of our higher playing favorites to be traded and to grow these younger guys properly to get them ready for our Major League team.  It is also a very long process that might take a couple of years still, but the end result will be a winning team that will produce major results.  The eye being on the World Series Title.  a.k.a. the “Long Range Plan”

We will still enjoy the games at Turner Field.  We are not fair-weathered fans.  Is it painful to watch what they are go through??  YES!!!  But, dark days do not last forever.  They will be great again someday!  Remember the Braves in the 90s??

Attending games at Turner Field is something we enjoy and with the family and friends we get to spend time with.  Just the other night, we ran into 2 families that we knew and they said to me, “We knew you would be here” and I will be.  One night, I looked up onto the Jumbo Tron and saw my high school friend, John, answering a question for a contest and won a $100 gift card to Home Depot.  I was able to go find him and later met his family.

So, as our kids go back to school today and my husband goes back to work, I will fondly remember a really good week together.  We enjoyed sleeping in, doing some fun family things, and cheering on our Atlanta Braves.

Go Braves!

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Friday Night Fireworks at Turner Field