The I-85 corridor can be a lonely place for a professional baseball fan. Though the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina are huge baseball states, it's not until you reach Georgia that you'll find a pro team; the Atlanta Braves. A Braves game is well worth planning a vacation around.
The Atlanta Braves play in MLB's N.L. East, and are a team that has been the epitome of success over the past two decades. From 1991-2005 the team won their division 14 consecutive times, all of those under the leadership of their fiery manager Bobby Cox (retired in 2010) who will most likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he's eligible in 2014.
The Braves have moved around a bunch during their years in the league, having played in Boston, Milwaukee and in their current home of Turner Field in downtown Atlanta. Visiting Turner for a game is great for families; the adults can take in some quality baseball action while the youth can join the rest of the crowd for the "tomahawk chop"
Retired Atlanta Braves numbers in the outfield of Turner Field — Photo courtesy of pbsbond
For those of you history buff travelers, get ready to soak up the tradition of the game in the ATL. In the rafters of Turner Fielder hang the retired numbers of many Braves' legends including former career home run leader Hammerin' Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews and Warren Spahn. During the Braves' great run during the 90's, they were lead by an amazing pitching staff that included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Their offense was carried by Chipper Jones, who is currently on his final season farewell tour.
Even though the Braves have had great recent success, getting a ticket to a game has never been much of a problem due to the copious amounts of re-sellers that line the lots and streets prior to the game. Every seat at Turner offers a great view of the action in what is usually top notch baseball competition. Catching an evening game in September, when the Braves are in the midst of a chasing a playoff spot against teams like the New York Mets and Miami Marlins is advisable (especially if you can avoid some of the mid summer heat).
Reaching Turner Field is accomplished by driving in yourself and paying for reasonable and safe parking at a number of third party lots (many of which allow tailgating), or by taking Atlanta's version of a subway system, MARTA. MARTA leaves from World of Coca-Cola/Underground Atlanta 90 minutes before game time with trains leaving every 15 minutes. If you've transfer from another Atlanta subway or bus, your ride is free!
A young fan enjoying a Braves game with his styrofoam tomahawk — Photo courtesy of corsairstw
The current Braves roster is filled with established superstars like catcher Brian McCann and budding youngsters like shortstop Andrelton Simmons so there is a player for every type of fan to relate to. Make sure if you are headed to the Atlanta area on business or pleasure that you find the time to do the "tomahawk chop" with the rest of the Braves fans at Turner Field.