What you’ll see when you walk into SunTrust Park
In any SunTrust Park concourse, look up, and you’ll likely see a Big Ass Fan. These mondo ceiling fans (Big Ass Fan is the brand name) will produce merciful breezes all summer, and they’ll pop up all the way from behind home plate to center-field.
Speaking of summer, the canopy atop SunTrust Park is three times the size of Turner Field’s. Execs say 60 percent of fans will be covered from the sun and rain at any given time. Entering the stadium should be easier now, as all five gates are named relative to their location: Home Plate Gate, Left Field Gate, etc.
The park was designed by the Kansas City firm Populous, which has designed 10 of the last 11 big-league ballparks—experience that made them an easy pick, Plant says. For inspiration, team officials toured various ballparks around the country. “We’re not necessarily modeled after any one,” says Braves president of business Derek Schiller, “but we have components and lessons learned from all of those.”
Fruits of those tours have translated into wider concourses, a conference room that accommodates 375, and corridors in the outfield that allow easy access for huge concert equipment.
It’s 400 feet to the center-field wall, and the wall height varies from six feet in left field to a brick-topped 16 feet in right. At 31.5-feet high, protective netting will extend from behind home plate to the far ends of both dugouts, making it the longest in baseball. Batters will now face southeast—basically opposite of Turner Field. However, studies suggest that the wind will be blowing out to left-center field during most games. Braves officials have said they expect the park to be slightly more friendly to pitchers than hitters, as Turner Field was.
In spite of all the newness, the Braves aren’t turning their backs on history. Memorabilia (including the World Series trophy) will be displayed throughout the ballpark, and nowhere more poignantly than in the Monument Garden: a tiered, public space behind home plate bedecked with plants; displays; the new bronze Hank Aaron statue by local artist Ross Rossin; and an interactive, sculptural display with 755 bats signifying each of Hammerin’ Hank’s home runs.
And fans of the Chick-fil-A cow that vanished for the Ted’s final season can rejoice. After rehab work by Mardi Gras float experts in New Orleans, the towering bovine is back, but instead of Tomahawk chopping with its right hoof, its belly now brandishes a big LED board.
This article originally appeared in our April 2017 issue.