A Few, umm Minor Adjustments…

20 04 2009

I recently got the opportunity to experience something pretty momentous.  My beloved Atlanta Braves moved their Triple-A affiliate from Richmond, Virginia to the place that is great and where success lives Gwinnett County, Georgia (which also happens to be where I’ve lived for 92.592repeating % of my life).

Just look to the Water Towers and youll know

Just look to the Water Towers and you'll know

I was given tickets to Opening day at the cleverly titled Gwinnett Stadium for the first ever game to be played there.  Mind you this was last minute so I didn’t have the entire week/day to get excited and anticipate what it would be like, which may or may not have been a good thing.  So with that in mind I made a few observations that I would like to share with you about my experience.  I don’t want to be overly negative or critical, so I am offering a few positives along with a few critiques of the first game in the new stadium.

The Good

1.  Location, Location, Location- The location of this ballpark is pure genius- it’s a couple of miles from the second largest mall in the southeast (which equals lots of people and places to eat), it’s near a major interstate and on a busy highway.  Also, if someone gets called up to the bigs or sent down to AAA, their drive is only an hour at most instead of hopping a plane to Virginia (economy/gas prices/stimulus bill).

2. Did I mention the Location?

The Bad

1.  First things first, the parking/getting to the stadium situation.  Overall I give them a B-.  Despite having many fluorescent vested men waving us to our respective parking destination, the aforementioned highway was backed up for a couple of miles which seemed to be an easy fix, suggestion- take control of the traffic lights leading up to the stadium, you have the cops, use them

2. Food?  Maybe later. I decided to check out what the new stadium had to offer in the way of food.  Well after getting to know everyone around me in line way too well, and putting on the impromptu stand up routine about the slow service to keep my sanity, I was annoyed.  All I wanted was a philly(city not team) cheesesteak.  What I got was an hour in line observing slothful old ladies dump out lots of beer trying to figure out how to pour it without the foamy head, and learning how to use the newfangled cash registers. I give them a D for lack of preparation.

3. Cement wall (not to be confused with the Green Monstah)? Now I am not an architect or even a wannabe like George Costanza, but in Left field at the new stadium there is this cement wall that is really unsightly.  Now I am sure this serves a greater purpose than being an eyesore, but that is prime real estate for catching homeruns or sitting tranquilly on a grassy knoll.  I heard they are going to put a restaurant there, but for now, yikes.

The Undecided (I bet you thought I was gonna say the ugly huh? nope)

1. Foul Ball situation- I love the fact that while watching a game at Gwinnett Stadium you feel like you are almost on the field because you are so close…I did not however love that every foul ball was another opportunity for a crazy richochet fest to ensue where old guys pull hammys trying to snag a foul.  Also at the end of the day I don’t want to see some poor fan get walloped by a blazing liner and knocked cold (I don’t think). Heads up folks.

2. I love that they had flat screen TVs with the Atlanta Braves game on, but when I went into the team store and came out a few minutes later there were 4 more runs on the board for the Tides and I had no clue how they got there.  Can we not get a little closed circuit action going on so the fans can keep an eye on the game when they leave their seats?

All in all my experience wasn’t bad (except that the G-Braves lost).  And I am trying to grant them a little leniency since it was their first ever game in Gwinnett.  But if this is truly to become a first-class minor league experience (oxymoron?), they’ve got a few kinks to work out.

Any thoughts? Anyone else attend?