Braves’ move inevitable, but still sad

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, November 13, 2013

As a lifelong fan of the Atlanta Braves, I was shocked by the news Monday morning that the team will be leaving Turner Field for a new stadium in Cobb County in 2017. After all, Turner Field is just a little less than 20 years old, as it was originally built for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

I can say with pride that I have been to at least one Braves game each year since Turner Field has been opened. Considering that required at least a two-hour drive (either from Gadsden or the Augusta, Ga., area) most years, I feel like I have done my part to counter the mainstream media’s perception of the Braves as “fair-weather fans.” In most of those years, my parents and siblings were able to attend as well — it was truly a way for my family to spend a day together and we always looked forward to those games.

Although I have never actually lived in Atlanta, I have always looked upon the city with pride. As a Southerner, I want the city to do well and prosper, and that is one reason that I am sad to see the Braves leaving Turner Field.

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I hate to say it, but I have no real reason to go to downtown Atlanta anymore, and that truly disappoints me. Five years ago, I loved to go to Philips Arena to see Atlanta Thrashers hockey games. When the crooked owners of that team allowed them to migrate north to Winnipeg, I realized I had little reason to visit the area around Centennial Park anymore. You can only see the World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium so many times, before they start getting old.

After the Olympics, I was hoping that Turner Field would serve as a sparkplug to improve the area around the stadium. While some improvements were made, such as nicer residential areas and improved traffic flow, the neighborhood still has that stigma of being “unsafe.” I wish that the city and other leaders had been more progressive in trying to add commercial and entertainment options around the stadium — perhaps the Braves would be staying, if that was the case. Again, I don’t think I’ll have any reason to visit the Turner Field neighborhood anymore, after 2017.

Many people, much smarter than I am, have written exhaustively on the demographic shift in Atlanta in the past few decades. More and more of the affluent population is moving to the suburbs, away from the city, and it should come as no surprise that the Braves are becoming one of them. It’s still disappointing, though.


Justin Schuver is the publisher of The Atmore Advance. You can email him at justin.schuver@