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The Braves are not entirely pleased with their stadium situation

Nov 15, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

Turner Field

Wait, did I say this morning that the acts of Jeff Loria would chasten those sports teams who would dare make noise about their stadiums and stuff? Hahaha, how silly of me.  Because down in Atlanta — where the huge story these days is the Falcons wanting a $1 billion new home — someone with the Braves had the guts to squawk about their 16 year-old park. At least its location:

Substantive talks are underway, with the 2016 expiration of the Atlanta Braves’ lease on Turner Field in mind. The Braves have never been entirely happy there.

“As we sit here in 2012, this isn’t where we would have this stadium today,” began Mike Plant, the Braves’ executive vice president of business operations. “I’m not saying it’s a bad place, but it doesn’t match up with where the majority of our fans come from.”

Reality reigns, of course. The Braves know they’re not doing anything about it, so the focus is going to get on with rehabbing the neighborhood in some sort of private-public partnership mish-mash we hear so much about.

All of which puts further lie to the already silly notion that ballparks — hell, in this case, entire Olympic villages — lead to surrounding development.  Atlanta has had pushing 20 years to make that happen on that site, and it still hasn’t happened. They built it, and no one came, despite the promises of every single team owner in the history of forever.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Many Braves fans don’t live in the area and have no real affiliation with Atlanta. Them being on TV constantly due to the various Turner owned cable stations rapidly proliferated their fan base. That is part of the reason why the are among the most popular teams in baseball but can’t fill their stadium.

    • jimbo75025 - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:00 PM

      You have somewhat of a point. For an entire generation of us before there were 200 cable channels, the Braves were THE team we watched. Now that TBS has expanded beyond Braves games and Andy Griffith reruns, this is not the case. Growing up 500 miles away, going to see the Braves a few times during the summer during a mini-vacation was always a huge treat.

      • kicksave1980 - Nov 15, 2012 at 5:21 PM

        And everyone remembers the 7:05 or 7:35 programming times…every show started on the 5, not the top of bottom of the hour. Never figured that one out.

        And it’s a good point about TBS. I grew up in St. Louis, but my grandma lived in the middle of the state…but still heavily Cardinals country. She was a HUGE Braves fan and never missed a game…seriously, every game. Back before local affiliates aired every game, TBS carried all of the Braves games, so they were easier to follow. Dale Murphy, Chuck Tanner, and those powder blues…

      • jimbo75025 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        The story I always heard about the 5′ and 35’s was so that they would have their own unique time entries in TV Guide making them easier to pick out. Combining this with the fact you may start watching something at 7 which sucked so you had 5 minutes to switch over and catch something else on WTBS without missing anything.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      That’s exactly what I am talking about. No matter where you lived, if you had basic cable, the Braves were always on. I use to watch them all the time. I didn’t like them but I loved baseball, so I watched the games. My comment wasn’t meant as a knock on the Braves or their fans…just something to keep in mind.

  2. Old Gator - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    The Braves and Falcons – fuck ’em both. Go play in the goddamned schoolyard.

    • indaburg - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Thank you, OG.

      Seriously, STFU Braves. My team plays in an effing over-sized Home Depot.

    • mrwillie - Nov 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      Did you read the article that was linked. The Braves are not trying nor talking about building a new stadium. They’re talking about revitalizing the area. Ever been?….it’s an expanse of highways, traffic, ghetto, and not a damn thing to do around it.

      A lot of “squawking” from a Braves fan whose never been to a game there.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 15, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Did you even read the post you’re commenting on?

        “Reality reigns, of course. The Braves know they’re not doing anything about it, so the focus is going to get on with rehabbing the neighborhood in some sort of private-public partnership mish-mash we hear so much about.”

        So yes, I know they’re not talking about building a new stadium. I specifically noted it in the post and talked about the area revitalization. And my point was, when you sell a populace on a new stadium and argue — as every stadium backer has always done — that it will revitalize the area, don’t come back 15-20 years later and whine about how your area has not been revitalized.

      • mrwillie - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Sure did, which I was I responding to other comments from folks who seem to think the Braves are demanding a new stadium.

        You trolled, they bit.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2012 at 5:30 PM

        Your posts confuse me. I think Craig assumed you were talking to him when you made the comment, “A lot of sqwaking from a Braves fan whose never been to a game there.” because well, Craig is a Braves fan who has never, to my limited knowledge, been to a game in Atlanta. I, however, think you intended to reply to “Old Gator”, seeing as how your comment was intended under his. However, “Old Gator” is not a Braves fan. He is a fan of the Marlins. I think that is the root of the confusion.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        Craig, this may be the first time you’ve used “reign” correctly. Well done. :)

      • raysfan1 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:01 PM

        I’ve been to a game there in Atlanta…and yes the location is not ideal, but the stadium itself is quite nice. Have you ever been to Tropicana Field in St Petersburg? It’s hard to get to despite being hemmed in on two sides by a freeway and the most entertaining thing in the immediate neighborhood is Haslem’s, a large used book store, which has been there longer than the stadium. Oh, and the mass transit system is sub-par. In other words, Rays fans get a widely disparaged home field that is also in a crummy location.

        Now, like me, Indaburg is a Rays fan…so do you understand why we are less than sympathetic to the Braves’ stadium situation?

  3. bobulated - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    I wouldn’t go that far but the Ted is on the south side of town in a not very nice area, a remnant of early 60s thinking that nice architecture makes bad neighborhoods nice(not true). Yes, I know the Ted was built in the 90s but it was built across the street from old Fulton County Stadium. The truth of Atlanta is that most of the affluent, middle class baseball fans with disposable income live in the northern suburbs of Cobb, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties. It’s at least an hour not counting the inevitable horrendous traffic from any of those places to Turner field. Then add on top of that Atlanta’s infinite wisdom not to have a train station or spur near the field so you have to (hopefully) catch a shuttle bus or walk a mile or so from the nearest mass transit station. Also the city has pulled crap like having the shuttle pick up at Underground Atlanta (a tasteless tourist trap/low end mall) to try to force people to walk through and save another masterstroke of bad city planning. To top it off, the Braves put their AAA team in Gwinnett County so baseball fans that might have actually packed up for the epic journey to south Fulton now have a much cheaper, more convenient alternative to, you know, actually going to a Braves game. Even if they build some sort of mixed use complex at the field it will languish and become another money pit for the taxpayers as well as the tourists and convention crowds that come to Atlanta from hotel or rental taxes.

  4. 18thstreet - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I think it’s plausible that a stadium can leave toward neighborhood development, but not the way the baseball stadiums have been designed since Camden Yards opened. I mean, if you can get good food and beer inside the park, there’s less of a reason to show up early (or stay late) and go to a bar for the same purpose. (This was a brilliant realization by the Orioles, by the way.)

    Now, there’s much less of a reason to stick around after the game to get something to eat. It’s hard to see where someone would spend money before or after the game (outside of the stadium). So what’s the development? It’s a pipe dream.

    • 18thstreet - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      … can lead toward neighborhood development …

    • 18thstreet - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      I would guess that most of the development around Fenway has more to do with the students, faculty and staff of Boston University than 35,000 fans attending 81 games a year.

  5. mdpickles - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    A new ballpark will not help sell out Braves playoff games. Amirite Chipper?

  6. JB (the original) - Nov 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    So, who owns/controls the land around the park and Olympic Village? Obviously someone does and it must be making them money the way it is, otherwise it would have been developed, right?

    • bravojawja - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      There is no “Olympic Village” anymore, there’s just Centennial Olympic Park, which is a couple miles north of the stadium, in the heart of downtown. The area around Turner Field is owned by the city and county; the last attempt at development crashed and burned so hard it could have exterminated the dinosaurs.

  7. phatnate - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    The Braves are completely screwed as far as local TV Revenue, they signed a 25 year deal in 2007 that fixes their local cable revenue for the next 20 years. Meaning they have no chance of additional revenue from setting up there own cable network, unlike the Yankees, Dodgers and Rangers and a few others. The Braves will need additional revenue at some point just to be middle of the pack on their payroll, so looking at their stadium deal is probably something that is inevitable.

  8. kidcleveland77 - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    The location of that stadium really does suck. There is nowhere to walk to grab a beer beforehand. I was down there visiting friends a couple years back and we were stuck drinking a beer in the parking lot before heading in. As someone from Cleveland, it really made me appreciate all that my city has to offer around our park.

  9. gmsalpha - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    All proposals for new stadiums should be required to come with a master plan for the area. I admit I’m not a big baseball guy, but I like how things were done in L.A with the Lakers and L.A Live. Yes, baseball seats 5x the people, but owners/developers need to think about synergy and the entire entertainment experience. Build up the area immediately outside the stadium, and like San Diego and Denver, ensure there are some nice condos/lofts within a short walk. Who buys those condos? Generally baseball fans.

  10. schmedley69 - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    The Phillies stadium is an an industrial park on the outskirts of town, and yet the fans still manage to go out of their way to fill the place. Just like the Miami stadium, building a new stadium in Atlanta probably won’t attract that many more fans. The south is college football territory. Baseball is not a big deal down there.

    • jimbo75025 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:53 PM

      Well, you are correct about one thing-college football is king in the south. That being said, baseball is very, very popular. The Braves have been somewhat a victim of their own success-like ’91 or ’92 when they were maing their first runs-good luck getting a ticket. After that, winning became so routine for a decade that people just stopped getting excited until they reached the World Series. Combine that with the fact that after the Turner merger with Time Warner, the Braves had (and it still continues today) an image as a corporate team which is fine, but just doesn’t attract the casual fan. The Braves need to get a team together that is not only competitive, but also has a few personalities, etc.

      Anywhos-back to the original topic of the Braves (and for that matter the Falcons) wanting new stadiums, it makes me suddenly feel very old. I watched both of those stadiums being built or open when I was in college. I need a drink.

      • schmedley69 - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:11 PM

        I hear ya. I happened to be in Atlanta for a friends wedding the weekend that the Georgia Dome opened. Seems like just yesterday. My Phillies happened to be in town too, but the games were sold out, so I never got a chance to go to Fulton County Stadium (later went to Turner Field). We did see John Kruk and Ron Gant at the strip joint where my friends bachelor party was held though.

  11. 1historian - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    panem et circenses

  12. bravojawja - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    The (short) history of the area around the Ted explains all the problems. The stadium itself is the leftovers from Olympic Stadium. The old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium is now the parking lot just north of the Ted (the old infield is marked in brick; the section of wall where Hank Aaron hit #715 is still out there, too). The Olympic Flame is just north of that. The residential neighborhoods around there aren’t the greatest, though the strip next to the Orange Lot going eastward (Grant Park) is nice.

    There have been attempts to revitalize the area before. It was called FanPlex, owned by Fulton County and the City of Atlanta. It was an unmitigated disaster so bad nobody wants to go near it again. The real issue, which PI alluded to, is that public ownership is in the hands of Fulton County, which is fighting to stay relevant after the General Assembly was redistricted last year.

    It’s local politics holding things up now, which I don’t expect any trolls from Philly to understand. As Craig noted, nobody is talking about a new stadium for the Braves, just creating a redevelopment area in the Blue and Green Lots similar to what has been very successful in other parts of town. And nobody is talking about taxpayers footing most of (or even much of) the bill. The Falcons OTOH….

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