Exciting developments are on the horizon for MLB fans in the great state of Georgia. The Atlanta Braves are packing their bags and moving north. Not too far north, however, as they will simply be relocating the franchise approximately 15 miles northwest of their current location to one of the city’s most populous suburbs, Cobb County.
As the team’s lease on Turner Field is set to end after the 2016 season is completed, the Braves are scheduled to be in their new home by opening day 2017. As welcome as this news will be to most fans around the region, the stadium deserves a proper tribute.
Turner Field was originally constructed in order to host various events for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The Braves moved in for the start of the 1997 season following an agreement on a 20-year lease. On April 4 of that year, left-handed starter Denny Neagle took the hill for the home team as they defeated the Chicago Cubs to open the era of professional baseball at the stadium.
In the past 17 summers at Turner Field, the Braves have enjoyed a great deal of success with 10 division championships and a couple of Wild Card berths into the playoffs.
On top of those achievements, several Atlanta baseball legends have been the recipient of memorable number retirement ceremonies and induction into the Braves Hall of Fame in recent years. Bobby Cox, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux have all been honored with such events in front of sold-out home crowds at the ballpark.
Other momentous occasions at Turner Field include the great Randy Johnson’s only perfect game on May 18, 2004, the first ever NL Wild Card Game on October 5, 2012 and the All-Star Break festivities of 2000. In that All-Star Game, the aforementioned Chipper Jones hit the game’s only home run and became just the 13th player to go deep at his home park in the Midsummer Classic.
History has been kind to Turner Field. Only time will tell what is in store over the next three seasons of Braves baseball, but it should only further build the legacy of what has come to be known by the most loyal of patrons as simply “The Ted”.