After our last game in Miami, we drove through driving rain, thunder and lightning storms to a hotel in Jacksonville, Florida. On Monday morning, August 15, 2011, we had a much more peaceful drive into Georgia…
…and to our hotel in Atlanta.
After lunch and a little bit of relaxing, we headed to Turner Field for our first of two games between the Giants and Braves. With this game, Tim and I closed out the N.L. East – we have now been to games at Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium and Turner Field. Following the A.L. West earlier in the season, the N.L. East is the second of the sixth MLB divisions that Tim and I have closed out.
We were a few minutes late to the stadium because we misjudged traffic a bit so we hustled to get into the ballpark. We did, however, take time to get Tim’s picture with two statues of all-time great and living legend, Henry “Hank” Aaron…
…and non-Brave but Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb:
Upon entering the ballpark, my Dad went off to look at hats in the team store and Tim and I reported to section 150 in CF:
Two funny things happened right when we arrived in CF. First, the normally chained off TV camera area in the batters’ eye area was open (but Tim refused to walk out on it for a picture)…
…the Braves were using a pitching machine for the first round of BP. I’ve never seen that before on a big league field.
Only the outfield is open for the fans during the first half hour of batting practice. There was no shade and Tim wasn’t a big fan of it out in CF. So right when the rest of the stadium opened, we hit the concourse, got this picture with Braves Mickey…
…and relocated to a shady spot down the LF foul line:
As we watched the Braves take BP, I spotted my Dad all the way across the field by the RF foul pole:
In that picture, he had just caught a baseball from Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca and he is looking up Tosca’s name in a little line-up card booklet that the ushers gave us when we entered the ballpark.
Meanwhile, we were having no luck in LF. A Brave named “Vizcaino”…
…was shagging baseballs in LF but we had no clue about his first name. Then I remembered that little booklet that as resting in my back pocket. I had not even looked at it and I got the notion that I should check it out in case it could provide any assistance. I pulled it out and found the line-ups of both teams (with pictures of all of the Braves) and discovered that Vizcaino’s first name is “Adroys.”
Literally on the next baseball hit to him, Tim and I both called out, “Adroys!” He looked over and tossed us the baseball.
As we hung out in foul territory, Tim went crazy with the spray bottle (this picture was taken before he unloaded the spray bottle all over himself):
We watched Tim Lincecum warm up down the LF line…
…and a bunch of Giants BP from this same spot. But the Giants are not a very fan friendly bunch – or at least they haven’t been during this Roadtrip. So we were having no luck down the LF line. Toward the end of BP, I noticed that Tim Lincecum was actually having some fun during BP out in CF. So we headed over there. Lincecum was the first Giant we witnessed actually interacting with fans and tossing baseballs into the crowd. It would have been great to be on the receiving
end of one of those baseballs, but it didn’t happen.
So BP ended with one baseball in our backpack and one baseball in my Dad’s backpack.
Before heading off to check out Turner Field, Tim jumped into a funny little nook in the LCF and did his best statue pose:
Tim was super-excited to check out the kids’ play area that we passed by on our way into the stadium. But on our way, we ran into the Braves mascot, Homer:
Homer was hanging out in a little courtyard’ish area directly behind the scoreboard. You can see that area behind Tim and Homer in that last picture. And on the right side of this double picture…
…you can see what the back of the scoreboard looks like. The back-of-the-scoreboard scoreboard is a clutch move. The only other place I’ve seen it done is at
Citi Field. Well done, Braves (and Mets). To the left if that last picture, Tim is standing in front of the Cartoon Network (CN) play area. I am assuming that this means that Ted Turner owns CN. Anyway, it was very different any other play area we have seen at a MLB ballpark, but the CN play area was a ton of fun for Tim.
He particularly liked this little station where he could throw balls at moving skeletons (that he happened to always refer to as Pirates):
Among other things (that we’ll save for our next entry), the CN play area also features a tree/boat to climb in and slide down (left)…
…weird electrical thingys (middle), and two whiffle ball fields.
After a while, I had to rip Tim out of the play area or we might have missed the entire game. It was time to explore. We headed from the play area to section 151:
And then we continued on the section 139 in the RF side of the Braves bullpen:
Behind the concourse in the RF corner, there is a switch back ramp all the way up to the upper deck. Tim loves long switch back ramps. So we had a long way up to the top of the stadium. On our way up, we noticed that the players parking lot was below the ramp:
And it appeared that several guys were washing some of the players’ cars.
The ramp dumped us out in the concourse behind section 431:
We were at the RF foul pole, but the upper deck seats continue part way into RF so before heading toward home plate, we moseyed out to the last upper deck section in RF, section 437:
Looking down from section 437, we had an excellent view of Tim Hudson warming up in the Braves bullpen:
While doubling back toward the foul pole in the concourse, we noticed something very interesting – an Evacuation Route sign:
These signs are all over the place at Turner Field. Anyway, back to our walking tour. We swung around home plate and out to left field stopping along the way to take panoramic views of Turner Field from section 421…
…and section 405:
We stopped behind the plate to get this picture of Tim and Turner Field:
And then Tim scooted out of frame and we got this panorama from section 402:
Heading down the 3B line, we got this panorama from section 416:
And then we tried (but pretty much failed at) something new – a myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt bonus picture looking down at the “Turner Field” sign painted on the top of the 3B dugout:
Well, it sort of worked, but the sign was too blurry for my liking.
Continuing on our walk out to LF, we ran across some Coca-Cola cannons:
My Dad and I had been discussing whether they would have Coke or Pepsi at Turner Field. It seems like most stadiums have Pepsi products. When given the choice, we’re a Coke family. I figured the Braves would have Coke products because Coke is based in Atlanta, and I have previously had Coke vs. Pepsi discussions with some Georgians and they would not even consider holding a Pepsi product let along drinking one. Anyway, the Coke cannons tipped us off to our answer: Turner Field is Coca-Cola territory.
From the concourse area by the Coke cannons, we had a great view of the Braves retired numbers hanging from the upper deck area in LF:
Let’s see, 6 is for Bobby Cox, 47 is for Tom Glavine, 31 is for Greg Maddux, 3 is for Dale Murphy, 35 is for Phil Niekro, 44 is for Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, 41 is for Eddie Mathews, 21 is for Warren Spahn, and 42 is for Jackie Robinson.
We continued on our way, and took this panorama from the concourse area above section 324:
Looking down from above section 324 (or thereabouts), we had a nice view of the interesting set up at the front of the visitors bullpen:
The relievers sit on top of the bullpen roof!
Finally, we made it all the way out to the end of the concourse in LF and we got this panorama from above section 336:
The 400-level extends all the way out to where I took that last picture, but there are no seats. Instead, there is a random fake dugout, home plate, first base line, first base, and pitcher’s mound that kids can sit in, run on and fake-pitch from. Here is a four part picture of Tim having some fake-field fun up there:
Behind all of this stuff, there is a nice lookout over downtown Atlanta, and some oversized Coke bottle chairs from which you can take in the view:
It was getting close to game time, so we started heading toward our seats. But before leaving the upper deck, we headed up to the tippy-top of section 422 for one more upper deck panorama:
I was confused about the location of our seats. They were in the “200 level,” which I thought might be the club level just up the field level seats. But as we walked the main field level concourse (I say “main” because there is a lower tunnel concourse that is also a “field level” concourse), I noticed there were signs for sections in the 200s. Here is a panorama from the concourse behind section 208:
It turns out that what we would traditionally call the “field level” is split into two parts – below the cross aisle and above the cross aisle. The 100 level seats are below the cross aisle, the 200 level seats are above the cross aisle and the 300 level is that club level that I was thinking might be where we were sitting for this game.
We were still making our way to our seats when the game started. We arrived at our seats in section 207 just in time to see Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval foul a ball off of his ankle and hit the deck writhing in pain:
Of course, we were late to our seats because we had stopped to get nachos on our way through the concourse:
Tasty nachos in Atlanta. And the food service people (in fact every employee at Turner Field) are incredibly nice. Everyone greets you with “Welcome to Braves
Country!” And I mean EVERYONE! You run into an usher in the ninth inning and you’re going to be welcomed to Braves Country. But in additional to all of the “welcoming,” everyone was just incredibly nice and very much concerned about making sure you are having a good experience at Turner Field. High marks for
everyone at Turner Field!
Despite a hit and an error, Tim Hudson escaped the first inning unscathed. We were officially hoping to witness our second “Tim” pitching victory of the Roadtrip at this game.
Between the top and bottom of the first, we got this panorama from our seats in section 207:
In the bottom of the first, Brian McCann helped out the get-Tim-a-victory cause by hitting a solo homerun. I missed the swing, but got a nice “trotting” shot of McCann:
This was the first game after Dan Uggla broke his (I think) 33-game hitting streak. Uggla was looking to start a new streak when he followed McCann’s homer, but instead he struck out in an ugly, and I mean UGLY, fashion:
Half a second after I took that picture, Uggla was sitting on the dirt facing the umpire. That pitch twisted him up like nobody’s business.
Leading 1-0 in the top of the second, Tim Hudson…
…gave up a leadoff single to the well-traveled Orlando Cabrera.
Between Cabrera and Eli Whiteside, I got this picture of the Braves very impressive group of Division, League and World Series Championship pennants:
On this pitch…
Timmy H. (as I hope he was referred to in pre-school) coaxed Whiteside to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
For the second day in a row, I had good luck with getting some action shots. Here, Jason Heyward hits a towering pop up…
…and Brandon Belt waits under the baseball (circled in red) ready to make the catch). My action shots aside, the highlight of the second inning was that the Braves extended their lead to 2-0 when Jose Constanza hit a single to LF scoring Freddie Freeman.
We were in the last row of section 207 (almost right below a big TV camera). After he went to get some dinner of his own, I got this shot of my Dad…
…waiting in the concourse while the current hitter finished his at bat so he could head down the stairs (all one or two steps that it takes to get to the back row) and
I have no clue who hit this ball, but here is Constanza camped under a pop fly…
…ready to make a put out. Easily, my best action shot of the game. Pop flies are hard to capture, because you never know when they will happen.
The Giants (much to my dismay) mounted a comeback in the top of the fourth. It all started on a bizarre play. Leadoff batter Aubrey Huff hit a line drive
right at Braves center fielder Michael Bourn. The flight of the ball fooled Bourn and he jumped at the last second. The ball ricocheted off of Bourn’s glove and then off of his face before falling to the ground. Miraculously, Bourn was able to keep Huff at first. But the error eventually lead to two unearned runs on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Cabrera and Whiteside.
In the middle innings, Grandpa volunteered to take Tim back to the play area for a bit. All that playing built up Tim’s ice cream appetite so we invested in a pair of ice cream helmets:
The Giants took at 3-2 lead with a leadoff homerun by Nate Schierholtz in the top of the sixth. And they extended it to a 4-2 lead with a leadoff homer by Mike Fontenot in the top of the eighth.
Tim and I decided to head down to the cross-aisle and take another shot at the Turner Field bonus picture:
That one worked better. While we were at it, we got a picture of Tim and the field from the cross aisle:
And then, back in our seats, we got a picture of Tim, his trusty side-kick and stuffed turtle, Shelly, and the field:
In the ninth, we decided to head back down to the cross aisle in an attempt to make a go for a post-game umpire baseball. On our walk over to the 3B side, we got panoramas from the cross aisle behind section 101…
…and section 108:
The Giants were still winning 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. It was impossible to get into section 108 to try to get into position at the umpires’ tunnel. So we continued to hang out in the cross aisle.
Brian Wilson and his extremely played out and over-exposed beard came in to shut the door on the Braves. But the fans weren’t going to let it happen
without a fight. They went into full Tomahawk Chop mode:
The place was loud as could be.
Constanza led off with a single. The Tomahawk Chopping grew louder.
Eric Hinske followed with a walk. Louder still.
Julio Lugo came in to run for Hinski.
Constanza and Lugo advanced to 3B and 2B on a bunt by Michael Bourn.
The crowd when crazy some more when Martin Prado singled to LF scoring Constanza – Giants 4-3 with the tying run on 3B.
I was all set for Brian McCann…
…to win the game with an extra base hit. But instead Wilson walked McCann.
Dan Uggla couldn’t get it done. He struck out swinging…but he did manage to stay on his feet this time.
Finally, it was rookie Freddy Freeman’s turn at bat. Down by one, two outs, two on, and with a full count: it was “go” time!
I was holding Tim so we could bolt down the stairs toward the umpire’s tunnel upon the final swing of the game. The stadium was going absolutely crazy. Screaming, hooping, hollering, and Tomahawk Chopping galore. And at the climactic moment, Tim laid down his head on my shoulder and
the lights were completely out as Freeman connected on a slow grounder up the middle (as photographed by my Dad)…
…Lugo and Martin Prado hurried around 3B scoring the tying and winning runs. Braves win! (But sadly not a Tim Hudson win).
I could tell Freeman’s hit was gonna do the trick. It was a perfect slow developing play. By the time the winning run was crossing the plate, we were five rows from the umpire tunnel. We would have been right there ready to ask “Cowboy” Joe West for a post-game umpire baseball. But every row was still totally packed. It was absolutely impossible to get within even ten feet of the tunnel. And Cowboy Joe sailed by without distributing a single baseball.
So, no umpire baseball for us. But we did get a great view of the post-game celebration. And we go this panorama from the front of section 108:
A few minutes later, Giants reporter Pedro Gomez walked by and started to pack up his stuff:
Before meeting up with my Dad to walk to the car, I got someone to take this hilarious picture of us (and Tim managed to half open his eyes):
All-in-all, it was a great day at a great ballpark.
The next day, we would have a day off from baseball, an awesome tour of an amazing old mine in Dahlonega, GA, and a very nice visit with my Dad’s aunt.
And then we’d be right back here at Turner Field on August 17th.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|22/4 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/6 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees]|
|17 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (1)).|
|59 Baseballs (7 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 3 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 1 Marlins)|
|11/3 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium]|
|13/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin
Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|6 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|8/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|2/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field); Kellan – N/A]|
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|* includes Spring Training** divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|