Last weekend I want to Turner Field for open house. Free admission, the Grapefruit league game was on the big screen and there were stadium tours, The Braves Hall of Fame and free games for kids. A good time was had by all, even though the game was rained out around the 6th inning. The good news: I took tons of pictures. The bad news: they were on my crappy camera phone. Crummy pics are better than no pics at all so I'm going to inflict your eyeballs with Turner the next few days in honor of the 2012 MLB Opening Fortnight. Well, it feels like a fortnight, how many opening days have we had so far already? I'll start off with the Fan plaza.
In front of the stadium there is a large plaza where fans can hang out. The plaza's footprint takes up the chunk of the Olympic stadium that was chopped off in order to create Turner field. The plaza has five statues and each number retired by the Braves along with benches, trees and various random exhibits. Currently there's a bunch of gigantic baseballs lurking around the perimeter. Here's some statue eye candy:
Here's Hank. If you look carefully you can see where I MSPainted out some chick who wandered into the picture. All but one of the statues here were brought over from Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium. This is the one I remember most from when I was a kid.
There's also a Bust of Hank out front. If you break the Home Run record, you get two statues.
Here's Hank's retired #44 on display. The numbers were originally placed in front of the ticket windows and Braves Hall of Fame, but with the rash of new numbers being retired right and left they are starrting to migrate out towards the edge of the plaza.
Knucksie! I also had to MSPaint a couple dudes out of this shot, which I think is horribly clever but which real actual talented photographers are undoubtedly laughing at right now.
Niekro's #35. I know for a fact I'm going to screw up one of these numbers in this post and will be mocked mercilessly for it. #35 I know for sure.
Spahnnie's statue is the first one installed specifically at Turner Field, in 2003. Despite what that article says Dale Murphy does not have a statue at the Ted. Not yet, anyway. Thankfully, Spahn got to attend the unveiling of his statue. I didn't have to MSPaint this one, although I'm tempted to kill that damn billboard.
Ok, so I did a Google search on Spahn to find a link about his statue and this image was the first thing I saw on the page before I even posted this thing. I know and accept that with the new Google+ gizmo that Google knows more about me than I do myself, but Jaysus, lemme hit publish first at least.
And here's the famous crazy slide statue of Tyrus Raymond Cobb. The Georgia Peach. You would not believe how incredibly difficult it is to take a photo of this thing without there being a big pile of kids all over it. Kids are always on that thing! In Ty's lap. On his shoulders. Riding the infielder like a horse. Sitting right on top of Ty's head. Good 'ol Ty sure is popular with the kids. Kids of every single race, religion, nationality, creed, ability and future sexual orientation. Thinking of all those different kids bouncin' all over Ty just warms my heart.
That's it for the statues, although I wouldn't be surprised to see a new one within five years or so. Here's the rest of the retired numbers:
Here's Eddie Mathews. Poor, underrated Eddie is the only Hall of Fame Brave with his number retired that doesn't have a statue. I'll be willing to bet that he's not the next statue to go up though.
Murph's number three. Just waiting for him to fall off the Hall ballot so the Veteran's committee can induct him in the midst of a Steroid-era Hall backlash.
Number 42, retired throughout Major League Baseball in honor of Douglas Adams.
I keed... I keed...
Greg Maddux #31. The first of the new wave of number retirements. By my count we have at bare minimum two more coming up soon.
Tommy G's 47. That whole Mets thing is forgiven now that I realize it was a clever espionage mission to sabotage their playoff plans. He never let on even once! True professional.
Here's the latest, Bobby's #6.
So waddya want to see next? We got the stadium, the field, the clubhouse tour, the museum and the baseball cards. Yes, there are plenty of cards at the Ted.