Major League Baseball Park #18 out of 39
Saturday, June 27, 1998
Atlanta 2, Toronto Blue Jays 0
W– Greg Maddux
L – Juan Guzman
Attendance – 48,338
Sunday, June 28, 1998
Atlanta 10, Toronto Blue Jays 3
W– Tom Glavine
L – Chris Carpenter
Attendance – 44,185
Turner Field opened for major-league baseball at the beginning of the 1997 season. It was financed entirely by the money used to build facilities in Atlanta for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Their old park, Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium was just over thirty years old and was also being used by the NFL Atlanta Falcons. The main Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Games was remodeled to become a baseball-only stadium. Camden Yards had just opened in Baltimore to rave reviews from players and fans alike and the Braves had won the last three division titles, winning the World Series in 1995.
The Braves have a long and storied history in the game of baseball, but a lot of it has happened while the franchise was in Boston and Milwaukee. Sure, the team is on a tremendous roll right now (division titles every non-strike season since 1991), but they've been to only two World Series during that time.
I started planning baseball road trips while the Braves were still occupying
Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium. However, Atlanta, geographically, is a long way
from any other major-league park so it was going to take some financial and
logistical doing to fly out there just to see a Braves' game. That's not to say
that there aren't other things for tourists to do in Georgia (in fact, during
our 1998 weekend trip, my wife and I drove out to Macon just to see the place
where the first sorority was founded), but it's a lot of money to spend to see a
game, maybe two.
A friend -- and occasional road-trip companion -- Tim Harrison had been our Mariners' season-ticket account holder at the time and one perk was a 2-for-1 coupon for round-trip airline tickets. We made him a lowball offer for the coupon and used it to fly to Atlanta.
This story is going to be fairly short because there isn't much history in Turner Field, the Braves haven't done anything unusual (by their standards), and our pictures from the trip were lost by the photo-developing department at Costco.
Greg Maddux went the distance in the Saturday night game, pitching an eight-hit shutout and striking out a then-career high 13 Blue Jays. The game lasted just one hour and 47 minutes. In the Sunday afternoon game, Tom Glavine helped his cause by hitting a double (National League rules are so cool when you're a scorekeeper) and a 10-3 result took only two hours and 23 minutes to unfold. Two games, four hours and ten minutes. In many ways, the weekend was over before it felt like it started.
So no pictures until we make a return trip, but we did like the "Party Plaza" located behind the center-field scoreboard. Live music played after the Saturday game and lots of people hung around to listen. One positive common thing between all of the new parks we've visited is the abundance of open concourses. Back in my Kingdome days, if you weren't in your seat or in a concession line, you were missing the game.
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