Well, I've made it back and it's time for the fantastical stories I promised. Let's start with the obvious, my attire for the day at Turner Field:
Where do I start? Long story short, my adventure started Thursday and culminated Sunday afternoon at Turner Field witnessing Tommy "Jesus" Hanson's ML debut. I saw three professional baseball games in three different states in four days, good times for any baseball fan to be sure. Here's my rundown from the Ted:
Me and the hostess with the mostest (more on that in a bit) took MARTA to the ballpark Sunday. She might have been testin' my gangsta, but it wasn't nearly as frightening as some make it out to be. I chalk this up to riding MARTA on a Sunday at 12:30 PM as opposed to a Friday or Saturday night. I loved the PSA poster that said something like "We can see what you're doing" with a picture of an Atlanta police officer, graffitized to hell.
We exited at the Five Points station and walked through Atlanta Underground to get to the waiting shuttle that would take us to Turner Field. My favorite part of this was when the first store we encountered (A DOLLAR STORE MIND YOU) had a sign outside advertising the following:
Sounds like a typical Sunday at the jch household. (insert all the jokes you want here)
Upon exiting Underground, we hopped on the shuttle but not before catching sight of randomly placed baseball statues:
Once we arrived at the stadium and walked up, I was immediately impressed by the size of the area in front of the stadium. It was huge, which allowed people to move around freely. My only complaint was the "Longest continuously existing franchise in major league history" crap. There's a reason the Reds open at home every year, bitches. :) Here's your out-of-place Brewers fan pic from the ticket line:
Upon entering and getting to our sets I realized that my hostess had gotten us seats in the RF stands, which was perfect considering the shirt I was wearing. We had a great view, seen here:
This was just before Francouer bowed to the crowd and did a little shimmy. I have no idea what this means or whether or not he does this on a regular basis. On a side note noone in our section seemed to notice my shirt, which dissapointed me greatly.
Taking pictures of the stadium from out seats, I noticed something strange. What the hell is that just to the left of the Delta sign? A 60' cow? You're damned right it is, more on this in just a bit:
Our seats were just in front of the Chophouse Grill, wherein I partook of the Tomahawk Ale (meh). This is the view from the Chophouse:
IMHO if you get there early, get a good seat, and keep ordering food/drinks, it's a hell of a place to watch the ballgame.
Now, to the experience at the game. I was stunned at what I encountered. All of the ballpark employees, ALL of them, were incredibly hospitable. Everyone was having a good time, it was great. Contrast this with GABP, where I'm as likely to help the usher to my seat as he/she is to mine. I enjoyed great "southern hospitality" while I was in Georgia but never more than when I was at the ballpark. It's amazing how far a little kindness goes when you're in a service position. I can't stress this enough, the employees I encountered at Turner Field cared about the people and the Braves and the experience of going to a baseball game, which is in stark contrast to what I've experienced at GABP. I'm honestly angry about this.
We need ambassadors as ushers, not old codgers and/or angry high school dropouts helping us to our seats. I caught shit from a female concessionaire for wearing a Reds hat until I explained where I was from and she answered, "Well I guess that's okay for today, baby". This same concessionaire gave the kids in front of us free Braves hats to wear later in the game because as she put it, "if you're gonna be here cheerin' for the Braves you need a hat!". We need and deserve these types of people here promoting the Reds.
Okay, I'm done ranting, back to the game.
Tommy Hanson is the Brave's version of Homer Bailey without all the drama. He's the future and everyone knows it. There was a palpable excitement throughout the fans, I heard several people say things like "I can't wait to see him!". And through the first three innings, he was ELECTRIC. He threw fastballs at 94-95 and killed them with the hammer curve at 84 mph or so. The crowd ate it up and he was feeding off the excitement. Unsurprisingly Chipper Jones is a fan favorite and when he tripled home Yunel Escobar in the first (a classic fuckup by Cameron that we've all seen and the start of a HUGE day for Chipper) the crowd went nuts. Hanson ran into trouble the second time through the lineup when the Brewers started sitting on the fastball (I think) and he lost his composure just a bit. He ended with a line of 6 IP and 6 ER but I can tell you this Braves fans - be patient, this kid is GOOD.
What I was also impressed with from the game was that Braves fans care. All the time. Every time they got two guys on, it was an event and everyone would start doing the annoying-as-hell-possibly-offensive tomahawk chop. Including the cow. I laughed my ass off at the cow doing the tomahawk chop and realized that the steamboat in CF isn't so bad after all. The retarded cow aside, Braves fans are passionate in a "I'm going to support my team at all costs" sort of way, not the Cuns fan "don't you realize how awesome we are" sort of way. It was refreshing.
Because my hostess is the one with the mostest we were invited into the 755 Club. The 755 Club is very nice, on par with our own 4192 Club. We grabbed some drinks and settled into our new seats for the ballgame, with this view:
Very nice seats and even better service. In the 755 Club is when I got the only comment of the day on my shirt, when a gentleman asked if he could buy it from me because he thought "even as a Braves fan man, that's fucking awesome". It didn't hurt that Frenchy went 0-4 in the game with a killer GIDP in the bottom of the 7th.
The fun part of this development was the guys we were sitting behind. They were true Braves fans to the core, both cheering on their team while doing the chop:
And giving shit to the Brewers fans who were in the next section over (he caught me):
Now for the fun parts.
My favorite line of the day came when Kelly Johnson tried to bunt himself on in the bottom of the sixth innning and the wonderful woman behind us (in RF not the 755 club) stated as follows:
"HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE!!!! Aww, he's just just too short, he's just a little guy."
I had no idea what this meant but it made me laugh loud enough to make everyone around me very uncomfortable.
Next up, this fine gentleman sidled up next to us near the end of the game in the 755 Club:
The front of his shorts were wet and he explained this away by saying "my cup has a hole in it!". This was funny until I watched him pass said cup to our friend the bartender who attempted to pour him another drink. The bartender worked in vain only watch the liquid fall out as quickly as he could pour it in. This good man actually had a hole in his cup, lending credence to drunken excuses everywhere. Did I mention that when I met him, he had the flower in the picture down the front of his pants? Yeah, good times.
FINAL VERDICT - I loved Turner Field. It's a great ballpark to be sure but what put it over the top was the hospitality of the staff and the excitement of the fans. I've been poisoned to an extent as Reds fan, what with the staff at the ballpark and the general disinterest of the people attending the games in person. It was incredibly nice to see people having a great time at the ballpark and cheering on their team. (even if they have a worse record than the Reds) :)