755 Hank Aaron Drive
For ticket information call (404) 522-7630
Who Plays Here:
Atlanta Braves (NL)
First Opened: March 21, 1997
Playing Field: GN-1 Bermuda Grass. Prescription Athletic Turf, featuring
state-of-the-art mechanical drainage system and hybrid Bermuda grass. The
turf is actually grown in an area below the scoreboard beyond the center
Architect: Atlanta Stadium Design Team (a joint venture of Heery
International, Inc., Rosser International, Inc., Williams-Russell and Johnson,
Inc. and Ellerbe Becket, Inc.)
Atlanta Stadium Constructors (a joint venture of Beers Construction Co.,
HJ Russell Construction Co. and CD Moody Construction Co.)
Owner: Atlanta Braves
Cost: $235 million
financing: 100% from the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games
Turner Field, named after Braves owner Ted Turner,
was built as Olympic Stadium in 1996 just south of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
(a.k.a. "The Launching Pad") where the Braves played for 30
years. This $320
million stadium was retrofitted into a baseball-only, open-air,
natural grass facility for Opening Day in 1997. The old stadium was imploded in
1997 and was converted into a parking lot for Turner Field.
The team built the park because Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was becoming
obsolete and they wanted a new retro style ballpark like the one which had
then recently opened in Baltimore to rave reviews. Meanwhile, a new
multi-purpose stadium was needed for the 1996 Olympics, so the Atlanta
Committee for the Olympic Games and the Braves agreed to a compromise.
The new Olympic Stadium was built across
the street from the old ballpark. It was comprised of two major sections.
At one end, the structure of what would become Turner Field's grandstand
was built. At the other end, an expanse of temporary bleachers completed
the distorted oval. When the games were over, the bleachers came down and
work began on completing the baseball stadium.
There are several ways to get into Turner Field, but most people use the
entry plaza located at the northwest side of the ballpark. The columns
that once supported the temporary bleachers for the Olympics serve as part
of a fence that surrounds the large curved outer plaza called Monument
Grove. Statues of Hank Aaron, Phil Neikro and Ty Cobb as well as the
retired number statues of Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Phil
Niekro and Dale Murphy are there, as is the ticket office.
Luxury boxes are tucked away
discreetly under the upper deck. There are no bleachers in Turner Field,
so everyone has a seat with armrests and a back.
Turner Field was the third stadium in history to
have played host to the Summer Olympics before being used as a major
league ballpark. Now, it bears little resemblance to the Olympic facility;
a commercial atmosphere still permeates the park, from the overpriced food
to the East and West Pavilions where fans can buy food or have their
likeness stamped on a baseball card, but that's all.
In 1997, guards at Turner Field
cracked down on fans bringing food into the park. After they confiscated
the special candy bars of a diabetic, Ted Turner himself apologized and
commented that food at the park was overpriced.
There is also a museum at the park featuring anything from the railroad
cars that were used to haul Braves players in the 1940s to Hank aaron's
715th home run bat and ball to the knee brace that Sid Bream wore when he
slid home to clinch the 1992 NL pennant.
Turner Field Firsts:
Grand Opening - April 4,
Pitch - Denny Neagle
Batter - Brian McRae
Hit - Chipper
Home run - Michael Tucker
Stolen base - Chipper Jones
Save - Mark Wohlers
Error - Fred McGriff
Left field, to the N
borders Georgia Avenue; the
third base side
SW), bordrs on Pollard
Boulevard and Interstate 75/85.
The first base side
SE) is on
Bill Lucas Drive; right field (E to
NE), abuts Hank
Aaron Drive (Capitol Avenue).
center: 380 feet
The park has fairly generous
dimensions, and the foul territory is of fairly good size. Consequently,
the stands aren't as close to the field as in some of the other newer
ballparks. The park is particularly deep in the gaps, especially in right
field, where left-handed power hitters face a monstrous 390-foot distance
to the alley.
The result is pretty good
pitcher's park - no surprise since the Braves have built the best
franchise of the 1980s around the best starting rotation in baseball.
Chipper Jones once said that the new ballpark ought to be burned down.
While the park earned a
reputation as pitcher's park in it's inaugural 1997 season, the last two
seasons have since seen a slight uptick in home run production. A mild
spring helped in 1998; when the winds pick up in the summer and blow
through the open center field area, run production can increase as well.
Last season, the park played roughly neutral.
middle of Turner Field makes having a fleet-footed, sure-handed center
fielder (like Andruw Jones) a must. Outfielders with less range than Jones
frequently allow bloop singles and extra-base hits. A chain link fence in
center field provides softer bounces than the rest of the outfield wall,
making life extra-difficult for visiting fielders.
The plush, well-manicured grass is one of the game's best playing
surfaces. Players rave about the close-cropped infield grass, which yields
few bad hops, and the smooth, pebble-free infield skin. In 2001, the
Braves committed 18 more errors at home than on the road, but still ranked
fourth in the NL in fielding percentage.
2001 STATS, Inc.
benefits: Pitchers, of course - especially
right-handed flyball pitchers. Kevin Millwood is the best example - in
1998, he did much better at home (9-4, 2.72 ERA at home vs. 8-4, 5.62 ERA
on the road). Over time, this ballpark has done much to contribute
to the string of Atlanta's Cy Young winners, including Greg Maddux, Tom
Glavine and John Smoltz.
All of Atlanta's ace pitchers except John Burkett did better at home last
6-3, 3.46 ERA 10-4,
8-6, 2.58 ERA
Brian Jordan hit .322 at home vs. .268 on the road, and slugged 14 of his
25 HR at home. Javy Lopez hit 70 points better on the road in 2000,
though last season he actually hit better at home by 29 points.
Who gets hurt: Left-handed
power hitters. Fred McGriff found that out the hard way in 1998, and
while Ryan Klesko hit 34 homers in 1996, he hasn't approached that total
since the team switched ballparks.
Chipper Jones hit two-thirds of his 21
homers on the road in 1997, but he adapted well and hit 25 at home in his
MVP year of 1999 versus 20 on the road. In 2000 and 2001 combined,
he hit 37 HR at home and 37 on the road; he hit 24 points at home in 2000
and 39 points better on the road in 2001.
Andruw Jones did slightly better on the road in both seasons.
2001 STATS, Inc.
- Highest error and infield-error factor
in NL in 2001
- Third highest RHB
batting average factor in NL in 2001
- Third highest LHB
batting average factor in NL in 2000
- Second-lowest RHR factor in NL in 2000
- Location of Muhammed Ali's surprise
appearance to light the Olympic flame.
- Site of Michael Johnson's gold medal
- In 1997, guards at Turner Field cracked down
on fans bringing food into the park. After they confiscated the special
candy bars of a diabetic, Ted Turner himself apologized and commented that
food at the park was overpriced.
- The Playing field is twenty feet below
- The Braves Museum and Hall of Fame is
located beyond left field near aisle 134.
- Chop House restaurant, in the main entry
plaza, overlooks center field. Scouts
Alley, located under the left field stands, has interactive games for kids. Tooner
Field, located in the main entry plaza, has games and souvenir shops.
- East and West pavilions, located just inside
the main Turner Field gates, feature concession stands and games.
- Coca-Cola Skyfield, at the end of the upper
level concourse overlooking left field, has games for children and an area
where warm fans can cool off under a light mist of water.
- 755 Club restaurant is a private restaurant
located on the Club Level above left field.