Checking In: Atlanta Braves Midseason Report and SunTrust Park Report
It’s July – and that means we are at the half-way mark of baseball season.
And in the inaugural season for SunTrust Park, the Atlanta Braves are sitting at just below .500 coming out of the All-Star break. They currently are in second in the National League East at 45-46, trailing only the Washington Nationals (56-36).
The Braves will have their work cut out for them if they want to make the playoffs this year, as the Arizona Diamondbacks (53-39) and Colorado Rockies (54-41) hold both of the National League’s current wildcard spots.
Although, the Braves are on pace to do much better than last year’s last-place finish with a record of 68-93. This could be a promising sign that their young talent is starting to develop and are only a couple years away from becoming a contender.
Plus, RA Dickey seems to be getting hot along with the mid-summer heat – in his last 27 innings, he has posted a solid 1.00 ERA. Combined with the return of slugger Freddie Freeman, who has shown no rust coming back from a wrist injury going 10-26 (.385), the Braves are positioned to make a dash at one of the Wild Card spots or even the division title itself. If they do, it’ll be a big shock when you consider the early season projections that expected the team to fare similar to last year’s record.
Realistically, it may still be a bit early to think of a playoff berth. But the team has shown they had the best interest of their fans in mind when they quickly acquired Matt Adams after Freeman’s injury and responded to Sean Rodriguez’s February surgery by trading for second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has proven he can still play at the top of the lineup.
SunTrust Stands Out
After moving into their new ballpark, Atlanta was understandably anxious to get a look at the new home of the Braves. And SunTrust Park did not disappoint.
While the park itself has all of today’s modern touches and a monument section to the history of the game, what really stood out was the surrounding area of the park. Part of what prompted the Braves to leave Turner Field was economic development of the surrounding area.
The Braves have redefined the experience of going to a game, and other teams may soon follow. Some might even consider the Braves a real-estate developer that are also in the baseball business. According to Baseball America, the Braves will own 50 percent of the Omni Hotel beyond center field, along with the Braves owning the Comcast building and surrounding retail shops and restaurants.
The increased revenue may mean an increase in payroll (and thus, hopefully, an increase in wins) in the years to come.
Midseason Award Winner
Despite his recent loss of the All-Star break, the Freeze, who races Braves fans between innings on the park’s warning track, is clearly the newest attraction of SunTrust Park that has been the most popular.