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I have been to major league baseball games in Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, New York, Denver, and Cleveland. This isn’t that many, I realize—there are thousands of baseball fans, after all, who have visited every big-league ballpark in America—but it’s enough to make me wonder: What’s wrong with Atlanta that we can’t do something about the neighborhood around Turner Field?
The story of Turner Field and its neighbors is one of stunted vision, cynical opportunism, halfhearted reform efforts, and misguided renewal schemes. Millions of dollars have been squandered and hundreds of acres left vacant. Around here, thousands of people live below the poverty line while just a handful—some legally, some not—cash in, because it’s more lucrative to park cars on an empty lot eighty-one days a year than to clean up that lot, open a business, and operate it year-round.
This summer, in addition to the fireworks and fly balls, Turner Field is setting the table for foodies as well. On Wednesday, Braves reps told us about the debut of Big Night Out, their summer series of pre-game events for food lovers featuring celebrity chefs whipping up tasty bites in a luxury suite setting. Nine events throughout the season have been set.