Westminster grad, ESPN's Hannah Storm in Atlanta for SunTrust Park opening, still loves the Braves

Hannah Storm Friday morning live at Suntrust Park.
Hannah Storm Friday morning live at Suntrust Park.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

This was posted by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on Friday, March 31, 2017 on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Hannah Storm, a veteran ESPN sports reporter and anchor, is back in Atlanta to cover the SunTrust Park soft opening today. She lived here two different times in her life: graduating from Westminster Schools in the late 1970s and working in the sports department at CNN from 1989 to 1992.

Her memories of her time here are warm, especially her time covering the Atlanta Braves back when CNN covered sports extensively. She recalled the department had a whopping 80 people.

And she met her husband and fellow sportscaster Dan Hicks there.

"That CNN time was phenomenal," she siad. "I had a baseball show there. We had a ton of SportsCenter-type shows. We also had shows on weekends. I hosted our baseball show for years."

In her spare time, she and some of the CNN sports staff would go to Braves games for fun at Fulton County Stadium. "My memory is a lot of afternoons with maybe a few cool beverages and a lot of sunburns," she said. "Just a lot of laughs, too. There were 10 of us who hung out together."

Even after she left Atlanta, she returned frequently to cover major events like the Olympics Opening Ceremony for NBC Sports and the lone Braves 1995 World Series win. "I was in the locker room with Ted Turner, champagne spraying everywhere," she said. "That's my favorite team. It's been my favorite team for years. There's this special place in my heart for that team. I really felt it. They were really fighters."

She recalls interviewing Turner after the Series win and praying he wouldn't curse. "He was pretty emotional," she said. "I had champagne in my eyes. For some odd reason, I turned to Tom Glavine and asked, "Is my mascara all over the place?' "

She loved Glavine and John Smoltz as super versatile, super smart players. And she enjoyed Steve Avery: "He was so young, so chill, so unflappable. He's take naps between starts. During playoff outings, he had ice in his veins."

Storm was at CNN when the Braves almost came from nowhere to win the World Series in 1991. Atlanta was so excited at the time that the city still held a parade for them. "I'll never forget that parade," Storm said. "That was a magical era. All of Atlanta was swept in."

Like many folks, she is bemused that the Ted is no longer going to be the Braves stadium after just two decades. But she's always excited to see new ones. When I mentioned the new football stadium, too, replacing the Georgia Dome, she noted, "There's a lot to be said for progress. And personal seat licenses."

She also aired a special baseball-themed "Face to Face" interview show this morning from SunTrust Park on ESPN2 featuring pre-taped interviews with Tigers ace Justin Verlander, Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker and Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

The trip has more personal meaning for Storm as well. Her father Mike Storen was president for the Atlanta Hawks while she was in high school and still lives here.

"He lives six miles from the new stadium," Storm said earlier this week. "He is coming to the taping. It's cool to come back and spend some time with him."

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