…for Cobb County:
Turner Field is a facility that was built for three weeks of use for the Olympics, but has now served us well for nearly 20 years. The issue isn’t the Turner Field we play in today, but instead whether or not the venue can remain viable for another 20 to 30 years.
Turner Field has served the Braves well since 1997, but it is in need of major infrastructure work, which will cost around $150 million. These upgrades are functional ones, such as replacing worn-out seats or upgrading the stadium’s lighting, and they would do little to significantly enhance the fan experience. If the Braves were to pay for additional projects focused on improving the fan experience, the additional costs could exceed $200 million.
Those upgrades still wouldn’t address the logistical challenges outside the stadium – lack of consistent mass transit options, inadequate number of parking spaces and limited access to major highways.
Here’s the proposed new location:
I can’t really fault a team in a salary-cap-less sport like baseball for wanting to own its own house. Braves ain’t doing much with a middle-of-the-road payroll, and writing all them big checks on the first of the month to Ted Turner wasn’t helping matters. Side note: do you think they actually pay rent monthly like the rest of us normal folk? I wonder if they get a five-day grace period too, followed by threatening letters from the leasing office. Hmmm.
The complaints will be plentiful on this one though. Traffic will be worse, there still won’t be good public transportation, you’re leaving Atlanta for NOT Atlanta, taxpayers are being forced to foot most of the bill (thanks for that btw, Cobb County suckers, glad Fulton County gets to avoid pulling a Marlins), etc. One of the commenters on that Deadspin article pointed out another viewpoint though:
The only “logistical challenge” that this new stadium solves is moving the stadium closer to its white suburban fan base and away from the scary black folks who live around the stadium that the white suburban fan base complains about at every opportunity.
Not to make everything about race (do I do that?? nahhhh…) but, I mean, he’s sort of right. Check out this lovely map of 2012 Braves game ticket purchasers:
What’s that called again? Something something flight?
That walk to Turner Field isn’t exactly a picnic for most Braves fans. That area will probably continue to gentrify between now and 2017 (the proposed opening of the new ballpark). Some may even view this move as short-sighted as that area could in fact be pretty hot in four years’ time.
As of right now, though, the walk to a Braves game from the closest MARTA station is like a Bizzaro universe Trail of Tears where white people clutch their babies and their purses, shifting their eyes from side to side in hopes of avoiding a rogue “local” who might be up to no good. Given the demo of the typical Braves fan and the makeup of the neighborhood surrounding Turner Field, I’d venture to say this particular walk ranks amongst the most dreaded in all of American sports commutes. Indeed, one could view this move to Cobb County as a giant metaphorical crossing the street in the middle of the night because a Big Scary Black Guy is walking in your direction. I mean, some people might view it that way. Ahem.
Personally, like I said, I can’t fault a team for wanting a bigger share of the revenue it generates. This is still way down the line, so I’ll reserve my pissed off-ness for the time being and instead I’ll continue to needlessly and recklessly stoke the racial fires this is sure to ignite.