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Barely 20 years after the Atlanta Braves began play at Turner Field, they’ll christen a new stadium.
SunTrust Park will play host to its first real baseball on Friday night, a testament to the restless nature of modern franchises, along with the desire to mix sport into an atmosphere where fans can integrate a live-work-play experience into their patronage of the local squad.
With that, a few key facts and figures on the new yard before Braves right-hander Julio Teheran fires the first pitch against the San Diego Padres:
$400 million: Amount in public funds that went toward construction of the ballpark, largely from bonds and transportation taxes. The contribution from Cobb County came merely through approval of the five-person county commission, rather than a public referendum.
$1.1 billion: Estimated cost of the entire project, including the ballpark and the adjacent entertainment district, dubbed The Battery Atlanta. The Braves are footing the $400 million cost for The Battery, which will eventually include a hotel, office buildings, and about 60 restaurants and bars. For now, about half the franchises that have signed on will be operational by Opening Night, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
And 100 of an eventual 500 apartment units are available for rent, should you care to be lulled to sleep by the soothing tones of Braves players’ walk-up music.
7:35: That’s the start time for weekday night games, a nod to the horrendous traffic in Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs. The already overburdened traffic grid took a massive hit with the March 30 collapse of an elevated portion of I-85. While the area immediately surrounding SunTrust Park is far away from the I-85 mess, it will greatly complicate getting there – particularly since public transportation options aren’t as abundant as they were downtown.
In short: Planning ahead and exercising patience is not merely a guide for the Braves’ on-field rebuild.
41,149: Capacity of SunTrust Park, down from almost 50,000 at Turner Field. The reduced capacity and modern design will make for a far more intimate ballpark experience – and quite possibly a very loud one, once the Braves reverse their baseball fortunes.
15: Capacity for the rooftop cabanas available for rental before every game. The Braves have turned the right field corner into a party on a roof, with the aforementioned cabanas featuring foosball and pingpong tables and cornhole games. The rooftop can accommodate up to 300 people, and, it should be noted, features the ballpark’s lone Waffle House restaurant.
300: Number of Braves-themed art pieces throughout the ballpark. The team is celebrating the new by honoring the old, including a statue of Bobby Cox that was just unveiled. A 9-foot snapshot of Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run headlines the club’s Monument Garden in Section 125, an area that also features plaques of the club’s 31 Braves Hall of Fame members.
5%: Alcohol by volume of Chopsecutioner Ale, a brew aged atop wood from real Mizuno baseball bats. Made by Terrapin Brewing Co. of Athens, Ga., it’s toned down from the usual 7.3% Hopsecutioner Ale, a more palatable bouquet for a hot afternoon at the ballpark.