Turner Field North Entrance, Home of the Atlanta Braves

Turner Field was the 8th Major League Ballpark our staff has visited in person in our effort to see all 30. The Atlanta Braves were hosting the New York Yankees in what turned out to be a very lopsided Inter-league series in favor of the Yankees. Going into the game, I was positive that the Atlanta Braves did not need to tear down a ballpark that isn’t even 20 years old in exchange for a brand new ballpark. The truth is, Turner Field wasn’t originally built for the Atlanta Braves; it was built to host the 1996 Summer Olympics. In fact, the Braves organization had to completely downsize and reconstruct Turner Field to accommodate baseball. By the time the game had concluded, I saw exactly why there is a need to construct Suntrust Park, future home of the Atlanta Braves.

There really wasn’t anything about Turner Field that stood out to me. There are no bleacher seats and no outfield features that catch the eye (Green Monster, Wrigley Field Ivy, Yankee Stadium façade). Well, some people might consider that large Chick-Fil-A cow in upper left field to be a neat feature. The food was extremely bland (hot dogs, nachos, jumbo pretzels) and the beer was overpriced. Many of the larger concessions only offered soda and no beer. I also wouldn’t call the Turner Field staff mean or angry but I definitely wouldn’t call them friendly either. The Braves fans are very subdued. Actually, “dead” is more like it and they were outnumbered by Yankees fans that day 2 to 1.

View from Section 139 at Turner Field, former home of the Atlanta Braves.

One of the few bright spots on the day were our seats in section 139. The seats are fairly comfortable but the best part was being so close to the Braves bullpen that we were able to speak and interact with relief pitchers Edwin Jackson and Sugar Ray Marimon. Section 139 is the ideal section for autographs as you'll literally be right on top of the players in the bullpen. Former Brave and bullpen coach Eddie Perez was happy to sign autographs for almost anyone that ventured into the area. It was an added bonus being able to watch each and every reliever get loose up 10 feet away when it was their turn to take the mound.

All of the seats in section 139 are excellent. We sat in row 16 which is really about four rows from the field. A few home runs traveled into the area that day which always excites the crowd. Looking at the Turner Field seating chart, you wouldn’t think that you could see the large scoreboard in center field from section 139 but it can be made out very easily.  The concourses are wide and easy to navigate. It was very thoughtful to scatter picnic tables throughout the concourse for fans to sit at and dine. The Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame can also be found in the concourse area but we didn’t stop for a tour.

 Photo of Monument Grove at Turner Field.

The area surrounding the ballpark isn’t particularly nice but you wouldn’t notice unless you drove around the property for a while. If you park in one of the main surface lots and walked straight into the ballpark, you would have no idea that residential areas are nearby. There are no bars or restaurants in the vicinity of Turner Field although there is “The Braves Chop House” restaurant in center field. If you have food you would want to bring into the ballpark, you're allowed to do so as long as it's sealed correctly. The Marta subway system does not stop at the ballpark so you will be forced to drive yourself to the ballpark where there is plenty of onsite parking for $10. Turner Field would be an excellent ballpark for tailgating, like Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Braves fans don’t seem to take advantage of the tailgating aspect. Turner Field is one of the top 5 largest MLB ballparks but it doesn’t seem that large when you enter and take your seats. I thought it was really cool that the outline of the old Fulton County Stadium could be seen in the adjacent parking lot. Hall of Famer Hank Aaron had hit hundreds of bombs out of that place. 

Chipper Jones Retired Number at Monument Grove at Turner Field

If you’re an older Atlanta Braves fan, you’ll love the Monument Grove area near the stadium’s north entrance. There you’ll find statues of Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro and Ty Cobb. There are also large retired numbers of former Braves greats Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro, Chipper Jones and Dale Murphy. This is the ideal meeting spot for fans both before and after games. Scattered throughout the stadium grounds are also giant human size baseballs with Atlanta Braves signage all over them. There is also a Statue of Liberty replica painted in Atlanta Braves decor in one of the concourses; another neat photo opp. 

View of the Turner Field Concourse, former home of the Atlanta Braves.

The game turned out to be the largest slaughter I’ve ever seen in person and I’ve been to a lot of Major League Baseball games! The Yankees beat the Braves by a whopping score of 20-6. Friday night's matchup ended in a similar score with the Yankees coming out on top 15-5. The loudest cheer of the day was a 7th inning pinch hit appearance by Yankee legend Alex Rodriguez. There may have been ”boos” from Atlanta Braves fans when A-Rod took the plate but you couldn't hear them over the thousands of Yankee fans in attendance. 

Hank Aaron Monument at Turner Field

Overall, there wasn’t anything I hated about Turner Field but there was also nothing I loved about it, either. Of the 8 Major League ballparks we’ve visited thus far, Turner Field is easily the 8th best. It’s just too sterile and Braves fans do little to add to the stadium’s character and atmosphere. Of course, we’re talking about a city that lost two NHL teams and was on the verge of possibly losing the Atlanta Hawks due to lack of fan support.