Hardball Times review: The Braves’ SunTrust Park ‘is a gem’

SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta. (Henry Taylor/AJC)

I’m a bit peculiar. I like stuff other people might hate. I can be cool to things the masses apparently love. (Example: I’ve never watched an episode of “The Walking Dead.”) I’m on record as believing SunTrust Park and especially The Battery Atlanta are pretty great, but my finicky nature leaves me wondering if I’m a minority of one.

OK, two.

Woody Studenmund, who reviews new ballparks for The Hardball Times, has reviewed STP and TBA. His headline: “Atlanta’s SunTrust Park: The first of a new generation?” His conclusion after attending Opening Night: “I’ve never seen anything quite like it … It’s a gem!”

Things Studenmund liked: The Monument Garden; the steep slope of the seats, which he likens to Dodger Stadium, and especially The Battery, which prompts him to use the description invoked by Braves president John Hart on Opening Night: “It’s a small city!”

Things he didn’t: Some of the food, the hot dogs in particular; the Uber line after opening night (everybody hated that; the Braves have since apologized), and especially the design of the concourses, which are surprisingly narrow.


I have to admit that the skinny concourses threw me, too. Were the designers so pressed for space — as we know, STP and TBA are hemmed in by I-75, the Perimeter, Cobb Parkway and Windy Ridge — that they couldn’t have gone wider? Did the aforementioned steep slope mean that the concourses couldn’t have been more expansive? (I’m not an architect. I don’t know these things.)

Studenmund ranks SunTrust 14th among big-league ballparks. The Braves will doubtless be disappointed — “A billion dollars and we can’t crack the top 10?” — though Studenmund’s overall impression was clearly positive. He writes: “These (meaning concourses and food) are small problems compared to the compact beauty of the stadium and its exciting approach to combining baseball, business and social activities.”

Not to suggest that great minds run alike, but Studenmund’s appraisal mirrors mine: I liked the ballpark; I loved The Battery. I also believe “Black Love” by the Afghan Whigs is one of the 10 greatest albums ever.

Further reading: Who likes SunTrust Park? Inciarte. Who doesn’t? Teheran, Swanson.

From the AJC’s Melissa Ruggieri: Braves’ brass discuss SunTrust Park issues at Billy Joel concert.

Reader Comments 0

10 comments
Traditional1
Traditional1

The new Cobb County ball park is nice, nothing more, nothing less although that little spout of water that shoots off in center field among the dying evergreens needs work.  I think the new ball park is better than 14-15 current major league ballparks. 

Nicer than Turner Field?  Let me ask, is your 20 year home (car, lawn mower, etc.) as nice and up to date as the brand new one you are thinking about buying?  

The Battery is nice in that it will give fans something to do (mainly eat and shop (not buy too much because of the prices) before and after the game (or after the fifth inning when thousands are leaving the ballpark in disappointment). 


I think the biggest story so far has been that the Braves are not drawing many more fans that they did during a comparable time last year at Turner Field.  


Minnesota is a good bench mark for opening a new ball park in that apparently both Minneapolis and Atlanta share a common interest in professional baseball as long as a winning team is fielded or a new park is opened save for three big differences. The metropolitan Atlanta area dwarfs Minneapolis in population and has a much larger potential ticket base, the Twins drew sellouts or almost sellouts for most homes games during the first two years after their ballpark opened and the Twins new ballpark is downtown, far away from their "best" ticket buyers. The Braves' new home has already sold less than half of the available tickets for 3-4 of the first 9 home dates even though it is located in their "best" ticket area.


After the pretty new ballpark was no longer new, nothing was left to draw the folks in Minneapolis other than a bad team and that was not enough as attendance dwindled.  Seems the "pretty new" thing as a draw is having a short shelf life in Cobb County. 


Oh well, at least the Cardinals and their 8-10,000 fans are coming to town this weekend, school and work (for most) will not be a problem and attendance will be great! 



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BiCurious_Barack
BiCurious_Barack

At  [Ballpark Named after a Bank],

  • The concourses are still far too narrow, soldout crowd or smaller.
  • The Chevrolet display on the left-field concourse has no place being directly in the middle of a fan thoroughfare, making already-bad concourse navigation much worse.
  • How can the same restroom stalls in the mens room on the first-base 200 level still be "OUT OF ORDER" at each and every event for the 3rd Consecutive week in a brand new facility????
  • The concession food is still WAY overpriced, even by modern professional sports venue standards. ex:  $7 for a plain Chick-fil-A sandwich (versus an already-high $5 at Turner Field).
  • The water fountain feature works for the Angels, Royals and Rockies and accents their ballpark. The water spout feature at [Ballpark Named after a Bank]  looks like it needs Viagra with a waterfall that has no business being in the batter's eye.. Put that copycat feature, copied poorly, out of its misery already.
  •  The Battery takes precedence over the BASEBALL at 
    [Ballpark Named after a Bank]. The stadium was made as small as possible in order to squeeze more bars & restaurants onto the property, leaving minimal room for fans to navigate the park's interior.



The Braves executives promised us [Ballpark Named after a Bank] would be superior in every way to Turner Field. 


This would be revealed as NOT TRUE.

BiCurious_Barack
BiCurious_Barack

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Turner Field was a great venue for  BASEBALL  and its fans with wide, welcoming, walkable concourses, excellent sight lines and reasonable (for sports stadiums) concession prices.




[Ballpark Named after a Bank]   is not.




Thrash
Thrash

Does it beat Turner Field? Yes. All we need to know.

Chipper34
Chipper34

You're right, "Black Love", is a pretty good album...

ugadawg2005
ugadawg2005

You can't be cool to something if you've never tried it.  If you watched the first 3 episodes of Walking Dead and said "not for me," then you would be cool to it.  But if you've never seen an episode, you have no idea. That's like saying, "I don't care much for SunTrust Park, although I've never been and just read what Mark Bradley had to say about it." 

MichaelHuffJr
MichaelHuffJr

Thank you Tim Lee: The new Park is fantastic:GO BRAVOS!!!

LOSERVILLE UNITED FC
LOSERVILLE UNITED FC

@MichaelHuffJr You should thank Cobb taxpayers for voting to fork over all that cash.


Wait, they didn't even get to vote on where their money goes?  Bless their hearts!