The Burgerizza, from Slice, will be one of the offerings for the 2017 Braves season at SunTrust Park. However, the Atlanta Braves will let fans bring in outside food, as long as it will fit in a clear, gallon-size container. CHRIS HUNT / SPECIAL
Photo: Chris Hunt
Photo: Chris Hunt

Fan complaints prompt Braves to reverse new policy on outside food

After public backlash, the Atlanta Braves decided to permit fans to bring in outside food to SunTrust Park this season after all.

A team spokesperson said last week that fans would not be allowed to bring outside food into the stadium, with exceptions that included food for infants and those with dietary restrictions.This would have been a change to the Braves policy in recent years. The spokesperson also stated that the restriction was due to security concerns by the team.

In a statement posted Tuesday on Facebook and Twitter, the Braves said that fan complaints led to the policy reversal: “Over the past few days we have heard feedback from our fans expressing their desire to continue to bring food items into the ballpark on game days. We listened and have decided to amend our approach.”

The team will now allow outside food, so long as it fits in a clear, gallon-size container. Fans are also allowed to bring in a sealed plastic bottle of water. One bag of food and one bottle of water per ticket will be permitted.

Infant food and special dietary restriction items will also be permitted. All bags of food will be subject to additional inspection at security gates.

When news broke last week that the Braves would not allow outside food, it incited hundreds of comments on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s website, including some from longtime ticket holders.

Braves fans could get a pretzel in the shape of an A from Sandlot Snacks at the new SunTrust Park, but now it’s OK if they’d rather bring their own snack. CHRIS HUNT / SPECIAL
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Upon hearing the news of the food ban, Ron Currens was agitated.

He’s been getting boiled peanuts from vendors before Braves games and eating them inside the stadium for all 35 years he’s held season tickets.

Currens said he wasn’t surprised the team received a backlash when it announced its ban on outside food.

“What were they thinking?” the 67-year-old Tucker man said about the policy.

He’s happy the Braves reversed course, but thinks it could have been avoided with a history lesson.

“They tried it at Turner Field and it caused a huge problem, and they finally relented,” Currens said, recalling massive lines outside the stadium as security searched bags looking for munchies, not munitions.

If you did get caught with grub, he said, the stadium would hold it in a Ryder truck by gate for folks to pick up after.

Currens said he sent pointed emails to his season-ticket representative about how the past policy was struck down.

The Braves organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the amended policy or for clarification on whether there is a limitation to the size of the permissible single sealed water bottle per ticket holder.

Policies regarding bringing outside food and beverage into stadiums vary among the 30 Major League Baseball teams. At least 22, including the Braves, will allow food in the 2017 season. Several other teams permit “soft coolers” and water, but make no explicit mention of food.

For those who wish to enjoy their own food and beverages before and after Braves games, there is an approved tailgating zone near Surface Lot 6 at SunTrust Park. The designated lot will remain unlocked for two hours after each regular season game.

The Braves will open their new stadium in Cobb County Friday, March 31, in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees. The Braves open the season Monday, April 3, against the Mets in New York. Their home opener against the San Diego Padres, Friday, April 14, is sold out. Some standing room only tickets will go on sale April 10.

Ben Brasch, Rudy Isaza and Bill Torpy contributed to this article.

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