Part 3 of my journey’s from the book The Baseball Fan’s Bucket List, here’s some more excerpts from my list of baseball and ballpark themed accomplishments from The Baseball Fan’s Bucket List of 162 that will soon be featured in Stadium Journey . Part 3 takes us from The Peach Tree State back to The Big Apple.
Chapter 120- See The Braves Play at Turner Field
Visited, May 2007. As you know by now, the Atlanta Braves no longer play their home games at Turner Field, having moved to Truist Park in 2017 so yes, you can replace a visit to The Ted with a visit to their new digs. Prior to it’s baseball opening in 1997, the stadium was the host of the 1996 Summer Olympics. After the Olympics, Centennial Olympic Stadium, as it was known as during the summer games, was reconstructed to a baseball configuration, reducing the seating capacity from 85,000 plus to just over 50,000. Now the home to Georgia State Football and currently known as Georgia State Stadium, columns that once supported the Olympic stadium’s bleachers are still in place outside the stadium’s main plaza.
Other things you can do around the former home of the Braves before you head over to Truist Park?
- Visit the parking lot across from the main plaza.
Why you ask? The parking lot features a footprint of the exact baseball configurations from the Braves playing days at old Fulton-County Stadium. While parking lots in other yards may have spots of where home plate, the pitching rubber and the bases all in their exact location we’re once located, the lot across the former home of the Braves not only has these, but also has the infield and the warning tracks outlined in bricks as well. If you visit while no events are happening, you may even want to run the bases.
After you’re done rounding the bases…
- Visit the landing spot of number 715
As you venture further out in the lot you will find a wall marking the spot of Hammerin’ Hank’s 715th. Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium may have been known as The Launch Pad but no launch has had a greater impact within those walls than the one launched on the night of April 8, 1974.
If possible, you may want to visit the lot soon as redevelopment is slated for the surrounding areas including the parking lot, including plans on a new stadium in the footprint of the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Now leaving the Peach Tree to The Big Apple…
Chapter 65-See The Mets Play at Citi Field
Visited, 9/11/2019. Opened during the same season as the new version of Yankee Stadium, debate’s over which yard is the superior will always ensue. How did these two stack up in our 2019 SJ MLB Ballpark Rankings? Since I have yet to visit the new version, I will pass on judgement.
The exterior of Citi Field is meant to evoke that of Ebbets Field. As much as we love to wax of nostalgic baseball yards, Citi Field just has that tired retro look for a yard opened in 2009. That’s not to say Citi Field is without it’s own unique features. Other items you may/will add to your own personal baseball bucket list to enhance your Citi Field experience?
- Take a picture by the old Home Run Apple
When this book was released in 2009, the phrase “DO IT FOR THE ‘GRAM” was still unheard of. Today, many of us (Including yours truly) our taking those instantly shareable moments “FOR THE ‘GRAM”. If there’s any one picture that is certainly worth “doing it for the ‘gram”, it’s one of you (and your buddies) by the original Home Run Apple. Originally installed at Shea Stadium in 1980, the “Apple”, one of baseball’s most recognizable home run features would pop out of the top hat after every Mets home run. Look up to the Apple and you’ll see 28 years of wear caused by the elements and constant use triggered by such likes of Strawberry, Piazza and David Wright.
- Enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda
As you enter through the rotunda a blue 9-foot sculpture of the number 42 greets you. The Ebbets Field inspired rotunda also features pictures and quotes paying tribute to the man who broke baseball’s color barrier.
- Visit the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum
A repeat of Chapter 130, Take In a Local Museum Baseball Exhibit, from the Jackie Robinson Rotunda you can access the Mets HOF and Museum. The museum features many artifacts from historic Mets moments dating back to their inaugural 1962 season.
Among some of the historic features inside the museum include a historic display chronicling the 3 yards the Mets have called home, tributes to the 1969 and 1986 World Champions and a Hall of Fame display featuring plaques of Mets inducted to their team Hall of Fame.
And those are some of the excerpts from Part 3 of some of my bucket list items accomplished in Atlanta and New York as well as some additions and adjustments to my personal 162 that could very well be part of your 162 once you head back to the ballpark, hopefully sooner than later…
Original location of home plate, Shea Stadium. Something magical took place there in the top of the 9th inning during Game 4 of the 1988 NLCS…