Posts Tagged ‘stadium’

To PNC Park We Go!

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PNC Park seems to always find itself near the top in annual lists of ballpark rankings. Even on television, you can see why. The home of the Pirates is an intimate park, nestled along the banks of the Allegheny River, with stunning views of downtown Pittsburgh. Aside from AT&T Park in San Francisco, few modern parks receive the rave views bestowed upon PNC.

After putting PNC near the top of my “must-see” lists, I’m beyond excited to trek to Pittsburgh over Memorial Day weekend for a game. Aside from a slew of Nationals games last year (including a game against the Braves where the heat index swelled to 115 degrees), I failed in my quest to get to a second MLB park. In an effort to remedy that, I’m taking advantage of the long weekend to see what Pittsburgh has to offer. .

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Atlanta’s Reed promises enormous middle-class development at… | www.ajc.com

Mayor Reed just finished a lengthy press conference regarding yesterday’s announcement that the Braves are leaving downtown Atlanta after 50 years to a new home in Cobb County.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story.

Atlanta’s Reed promises enormous middle-class development at… | www.ajc.com.

 

Additional thoughts on the Braves’ move

Just 3 short seasons left to enjoy the Ted

Just 3 short seasons left to enjoy the Ted

Throughout the day, I’ve stopped what I was doing to scroll through my Twitter feed, listen to Atlanta sports talk radio, and read through the endless number of news stories regarding the Braves’ stunning announcement that they are leaving the city of Atlanta and Turner Field for Cobb County. After nearly 9 hours, I believe I’ve started to process the decision and provide a few rational thoughts before my day comes to an end.

First of all, I’m not particularly thrilled with the Braves moving to the suburbs. While it brings the Braves closer to the fans that attend games on a regular basis, it puts them in the middle of endless sprawl with nothing aesthetically pleasing about the surrounding area. Sure, the Braves are promising a massive multi-use complex, which was completely lacking at Turner Field, but the new park won’t have the gorgeous Atlanta skyline in the background (a driving factor behind Turner Field’s lack of outfield lights), nor will they be anywhere close to downtown. The team points to Colorado, San Francisco, and Cincinnati as key examples of what they want for the new stadium and other developments. What those parks have in common that the new Braves’ park does not: they’re in the cities. Continue reading

Braves stun with plans to move to Cobb County

Braves are trading the Atlanta skyline for the far more interesting Big Chicken

Braves are trading the Atlanta skyline for the far more interesting Big Chicken

Schmarietta Daily-Journal

By Ryan Hill

The Atlanta Braves stunned Fulton County this morning with an announcement that the team has secured 60 acres of land in Cobb County for the construction of a new ballpark, following an apparent breakdown in negotiations with the City of Atlanta regarding use of the 17-year old Turner Field.

While several reasons were given for the move, one of the strongest concerns was the amount of traffic generated by games in the current area near the Mechanicsville neighborhood of Atlanta. “Today, most of our fans arrive via car, and getting to this (new) site via car from all sorts of different directions is easier,” explained Braves executive Derek Schiller.

Franchise President John Schuerholz elaborated, claiming “unless the City of Atlanta devises some kind of smarter way of moving people without the use of cars, we’re going to stick with reality and go where there is very little traffic […] and that place is the intersection of I-75 and I-285.”

The announcement has been responded to enthusiastically by Cobb County public officials and residents. The project is planned to be more than just a ballpark, including a large mixed-use development that promises year-round entertainment.

Comments from our readers have already flooded the original article this morning, requesting additional amenities such as a “border wall” built along I-285. Only time will tell if the Braves organization and Cobb County establish avenues for public input from citizens, though it has been demanded that only citizens with photo ID gain access to these still not-yet-announced “town halls” that are anticipated to happen over the next three years.

The new park will sit closer to this Georgia landmark than where Hank Aaron hit his record breaking 715th home run

The new park will sit closer to this Georgia landmark than where Hank Aaron hit his record breaking 715th home run

Even then, the county is sure to face challenges financing the new ballpark, which is projected to cost $672 million and built “in partnership with Cobb County,” according to the press release. It’s not known how much of this is expected to come from the public, but the announcement comes at a time when taxpayers everywhere are faced with “take it or leave it” negotiations from professional team ownerships across the country. Not exactly fond of tax increases of any kind, Cobb County remains the regional seat of the Tea Party movement.

But Tea Party leader and Marietta-resident Bob E. Lee is convinced that solutions can be found by “thinking outside the box” and “deporting all them illegals [sic] living off the teat of the American taxpayer first.” He also suggested that funding could come from firing half of all public school teachers, especially the ones found to be “communists,” an idea that has found support in most areas of the county during recent recession years.

We found this artists' rendering of what a car-less transportation system of the future might look like.

We found this artists’ rendering of what a car-less transportation system of the future might look like.

Public officials have indeed shown creativity with regard to budgetary challenges in the past. Several years ago, the Cobb County School Board suggested replacing facilities maintenance workers for the school system with prison laborers. It’s possible this idea could be extended to ballpark ushers, concession vendors, and ticket takers, substantially cutting operation costs once the ballpark is constructed.

We asked local public policy expert and Newt Gingrich Chair of Political Science at Kennesaw State University, Jefferson D. Brumby, what this meant for the area. “It’s just a win-win all around,” he began, “we get to bring our proud Southern traditions, like the ‘Tomahawk Chop,’ to those who have embraced it the most in Cobb County.” He continued, explaining that there was an ideal proximity to Atlanta and its history of the Civil Rights movement, “but not to any [African-American] neighborhoods.”

Dr. Brumby also proposed incorporating some of Cobb County’s history and culture into the new ballpark, suggesting a “Mary Phagan Memorial Pavilion” with a view of the famous “Big Chicken,” which sits a few miles away, in lieu of any actual skyline. Home runs could be referred to as “white flights,” he suggested, recalling the final stage of the campaign of “massive resistance” homeowners waged against “Big Government” in the 1960s and 1970s, diverting private investment northward to Cobb County and promoting growth in the area.

Braves owner Liberty Media is on board with the project, according to Schuerholz. “We’ve shared all of the details with them […] down to the various smallest of details,” Schuerholz said. “Their initial response was, ‘Wait, we own a baseball team?’ But we’ve talked further and believe we have a green light for the plan.”

Unfortunately, the enthusiasm was not shared by fans inside the I-285 perimeter. At Manuel’s Tavern, a bar in the North-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta, we spoke to longtime bartender Bobby Agee. “To hell with the Braves,” he said after hearing the news, explaining that “this was the worst thing to happen to the team since the end of the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 [seasons],” continuing to mumble as he walked back to the kitchen.

Ryan Hill has been a Braves fan longer than he can remember and spent more days as a Cobb County resident than he’d like to remember, while attending Kennesaw State University.

Should a team actually play in the city they represent?

Birmingham and Charlotte are two examples of teams that don’t play in their respective cities

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally in the world of sports a team that represents one city actually plays in another. This case is most obvious in the NFL with the New York Giants and Jets, both of whom share a stadium in New Jersey, not New York. Granted, they still play in the New York City area, but if one wants to be picky about geographic location, then you have an argument. Baseball presents similar geographic oddities in both the Majors and Minors. Most notably, the Tampa Bay Rays do not in fact play in the city of Tampa, but across the Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays get away with this because, like it’s fellow NFL and NHL teams, they are referred to as “Tampa Bay” in reference to the entire metropolitan area (which encompasses several cities and towns) versus the actual city of Tampa.

Yes, this is an argument played out in semantics, but it could certainly affect one’s love for their “home team.” While I merely spent my childhood living in Tampa, I could hardly see myself trekking from Tampa across the bay over to the middle of nowhere in St. Pete to catch the Rays play in something that resembles a large silo or hurricane shelter. It’s a journey, and one that the Rays franchise has tried to alleviate several times over recent years through various stadium proposals. Would the Rays not draw larger, more boisterous crowds if their stadium were say next to the Buccaneers’ home, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa proper? Given the access via major roads, it seems the Tampa Rays might draw better than the Tampa Bay Rays do in St. Petersburg.

This brings me to one oddity in Minor League Baseball that’s about to fix itself and another that simply doesn’t make any sense and it can be tough to “root for the home team.” Now let’s take a look at a couple of big examples in baseball: the Birmingham Barons and the Charlotte Knights.

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