Spring training has come to an end and we’re getting eager for the home opener. The official MLB Opening Day was Sunday, April 5, but we won’t actually go back to Turner Field for our home opener until tomorrow, April 10.
Turner Field is very special to me since I grew up in the Atlanta area and have been following the Braves since I was a kid. But overall, it’s just a really unique ballpark, period. So I thought I’d make this blog Jeff Francoeur’s Guide to Opening Day at Turner Field.
First, if you’ve got kids, this is a great experience for them. Just inside the North gates is Tooner Field, which is a cool interactive area with characters and games from the Cartoon Network. Also for the kids is Scouts Alley near the West Pavillion of the Grand Entry Plaza where kids can test their throwing skills, learn about different pitches and see different gloves and bats.
For the adults, there’s the ampm All You Can Eat seats, which are a new concept at the stadium as of last season. Personally, this is where I would sit if I were watching the game as a fan. These tickets range from $45-80, but include everything you can stomach through seven innings.
If you’re over the age of 21, you have to check out the ChopHouse. Just about any night of the week, the ChopHouse is the place to see and be seen. It’s located directly above the Braves bullpen in right field, so fans can eat and drink while enjoying the game from right above me.
Just about every park has its own unique feature that makes it stand out. The old Shea Stadium had the Home Run Apple, Miller Park has the slide that Bernie Brewer slides down, and Dodger Stadium has the Think Blue sign in the mountains. When I look out at the Turner Field from the dugout, I always see the huge Delta letters above left field. And then there’s the gigantic Coca Cola bottle next to it that shoots out fireworks every time a Braves player hits a home run.
But the newest feature, which was added last year, is the massive Chick-Fil-A cow on top of the stadium, which has a mechanical arm that does the ‘tomahawk chop’ during games. It is 40 feet high and weighs over 15,000 lbs.
If you want to get the entire Braves experience from beginning to end, be sure to get to the park early. You can come watch us take batting practice 2 ½ hours before each home game. The visiting team will come out an hour later for their batting practice. If you’re looking to catch a baseball, there are a lot of home run balls that escape over the outfield wall during this time. And it’s a great time to see all of the players in their element getting stretched and prepared for the game.
Speaking of foul balls and home run balls, here’s a little known fact about Turner Field. If you’re in the right place at the right time and you’re the lucky fan to catch a baseball at a game, you can go to the Guest Relations window by Aisle 146 with your ball and they will give you an official “Grandstand Fielder” certificate.
And of course, if you’re a big enough fan to travel across the country on Delta and see your favorite team play, there are some really exciting celebrations and events that take place on Opening Day at all the ballparks around the country.
Will any of you be traveling to games in a different city on Opening Day?