The whole new stadium discussion is quite maddening. I can see the Braves point of view which I tacitly endorsed earlier in the week, but I can also see the points of view of those who are upset over this decision to move. Turner Field has its flaws, but it’s not a bad facility by any means. It just seems so wasteful to say that after just 20 years it is outdated and useless by team standards.
I feel that there’s a lack of vision here, a lack of passion on the part of the Braves brass surrounding the new stadium. This seems like a Sabermetric decision, based off of ticket sale data and other such marketing metrics. To use an overused term (apologies), this new stadium will be the Moneyball of new stadiums — conceived by stats and built outside of the normal conventions which drive stadium location.
I imagine this whole stadium ordeal will make us even more weary that the Braves do not have a passionate owner behind them driving a singular vision who is cognizant that in today’s fiscal climate a team has to use much more of its own money to get the kind of facility that they desire. For all the hoopla over the $200 million in public funds for the Falcons new stadium, team owner Arthur Blank is using over a billion dollars of his own money to fund the project.
Maybe I’ve been living in the city too long to realize that a “Strip Mall Stadium” is what people in the burbs (who overwhelmingly make up the Braves audience) wants. Of the MLB parks I’ve visited (almost all of them), the only equivalent stadium I can think of to this would be Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. It’s located at the corner of two major instates, outside the “perimeter” of the city, and sort of in the middle of nowhere. It’s a nice stadium, and that’s it. It’s a destination, and if there is no game going on then there’s no reason to go. Similarly, if there’s not a good team playing in the stadium, then there’s no reason to go.