One of the many things to look forward to in the 2017 baseball season is the new park opening in Atlanta, which will be called SunTrust Park. Its location is in the suburb of Cobb County, about ten miles northwest of Atlanta, and the Braves hope the new stadium will help them forget the last half decade that they called Turner Field their home.
The last postseason game played in Turner Field was back in 2012, and it will help erase any fond feelings for that site as the Braves move into the new ball park in April. Atlanta was hosting St. Louis in the very first ever National League Wild Card game, a matchup which ended with enough debris from the unhappy fans that the contest had to be delayed for nineteen minutes.
The home crowd was protesting a call made by the umpiring crew late in the game. The Braves trailed six to three in the bottom of the eighth, but shortstop Andrelton Simmons came to the plate representing the tying run.
Simmons hit a fly ball that dropped between St. Louis left fielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Pete Kozma, only to be called out when umpire Sam Holbrook applied the infield fly rule. That decision, controversial because the ball dropped beyond the infield, resulted in Simmons being ruled out.
Instead of Atlanta having the bases loaded with just one out, the Braves now had two only men aboard with two down. After the delay caused by fans who had littered the field, outfielder Michael Bourne struck out to end Atlanta’s rally. The Braves mounted a brief two out rally in the ninth after an Andruw Jones single and Freddie Freeman ground rule double, but St. Louis reliever Jason Motte induced second baseman Dan Uggla to ground out and end the game.
Since that debacle, the Braves have gone 280-337 with just one winning season. It is no wonder the organization is ready for a change of scenery, which could bolster what is an already improved roster for 2017.
Another reason to cheer the new stadium is the fact that it was built with private funding, a radical shift from the era of its predecessor. Turner Field, and nearly every other ball park constructed between 1985-2010, was built at the expense of tax payers.
As far as the residents of Atlanta are concerned, a winning season for the Braves in the new park would be an added bonus.