Thursday, April 20, 2017

Atlanta Braves: Some Fancy Dog

I take a certain pride in being able to say that I have had a hot dog at all 30 MLB ballparks. That bit of my soul came to a crashing end at the start of the 2017 season when the Atlanta Braves opened a new ballpark. Never mind that their previous ballpark was only seventeen years old, in great shape, and one of the better baseball venues in the big leagues. No one has been able to explain to me why the Braves thought they needed new digs.

But, I am a complete man once again. I have had a dog in the brand, spanking new SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves. During my first season of blogging I rated each ballpark. I had a system, but since I haven't used it in a while I will simply break down the pros and cons of baseball's newest stadium.

It's new. That means everything is shiny, clean and works.
It has an AWESOME scoreboard.
Smaller displays around the park provide the fans with lots of information.
It is very well lit; seeing the action at night is not an issue.
This is a big one: they still offer reasonable priced seats. I paid $8.

It is WAAAYY too slick. They tried too hard to be everything to everyone.
It is a kid zone nightmare. It has a rock climbing wall and zip lines. Really.
Parking is super confusing. It is a hodgepodge of lots all over the place.
The majority of parking must be paid for in advance and get a “permit.”
Did I mention parking is a pain in the ass?
No one working there seems to know where anything is.
It is no where near the city of Atlanta.
Lots of security walking around. I felt like I was in 1965 Poland.

The Tomahawk PorkChop
Then there is the feel of it. The ballpark is part of a larger development called The Battery. When completed, there will be all sorts of boutique shops and restaurants for fans to get raked over the coals at. Right now, most of the storefronts are empty and have this fake paper over the windows that makes the business seem occupied; despite no people. Then there is the old-timey music piped in everywhere. Walking down the street toward the ballpark felt like Disneyland meets Twilight Zone.

Inside the stadium everything is super high tech and also a little to fabricated. The interior is a cross between Disneyland and an Apple store. For fans of baseball, true fans, we like the basics. Keep it simple. The game has survived over 100 years without the fancy gadgetry infused in SunTrust Park.

Then there is the dog. For a special and colossal food item, the Braves offer the Tomahawk PorkChop. A $26 behemoth of sandwich that includes, among other things, an entire deep fried pork chop. But its not a hot dog.

For hot dogs, the Braves outsourced their wieners to a boutique shop called First and Third. They offer fancy gourmet dogs that Paris Hilton would drool over. But I am not Paris Hilton. I want a big ass hot dog that will make me wish I had never met it after devouring it. Instead, I got what I deemed to be the most interesting dog on the menu: Nueske's Jalapeno Cheddar Bacon Brat. I supposed all those ingredients are somewhere in the brat, but I couldn't taste them. The toppings were odd as well. It was meant to be be some fancy palate pleaser, in the end it was bland and pricey at $9.

looks good, tastes bland
The information station at the ballpark had to check to see if they had anything bigger or better, because after spending $9 on the hot dog equivalent of a poodle I was still hungry. On their cheat sheet of stadium amenities they found the Mega Mega Dog. That was what I was talking about. It is supposed to be available at the same stand the Tomahawk PorkChop is made. Only no one there had any idea what it was or ever heard of the Mega Mega dog. Disappointing.

I could go on. To sum it up I have to say that the Braves spent the equivalent of the GDP of Venezuela to build an inconvenient baseball disneyland, something real fans can do without. Frankly, after all that time and trouble they went to, I miss Turner Field. 

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