Fans head into SunTrust Park for the Braves-Yankees exhibition game Friday night. JASON GETZ / SPECIAL
Photo: Jason Getz
Photo: Jason Getz

Braves vow to fix SunTrust Park glitches before opening day

The Braves’ exhibition game Friday night at the new SunTrust Park exposed a few stadium glitches that team officials vow to correct before the regular-season home opener April 14.

“We had what I’ll call some operational challenges,” said Derek Schiller, the Braves’ president of business. “The reason we made sure we had an exhibition game here before our opener was that there was an expectancy that you’re going to have certain things that you’re going to have to perfect.

“I’d say most everything was somewhat anticipated and can easily be fixed by the 14th.”

Perhaps most noticeably, the main video board malfunctioned in the sixth inning.

“It’s a correctable issue,” said Schiller, adding that “a whole team of people” were working on it immediately after the game.

Another issue was that some fans in the first row of seats down the left-field line had their view of the field blocked by the rolled-up tarp.

“We believe we have a fix for that,” Schiller said. “We (can) slightly change the positioning of the tarp and how it sits down on the ground. Right now it’s sitting up too high.”

There was some experimentation with the LED lights during the game that concerned some Braves players, such as when the lights flashed after a strikeout of a Yankees batter.

The Braves plan to use lighting effects extensively in the new stadium, but “there’s a long way to go on that yet,” said Mike Plant, the team’s president of development.

Plant and Schiller acknowledged that waits at many concession stands were longer than desired Friday.

“There’s a lot of efficiencies that will be worked out, which is exactly why we have these (soft-opening) events so that we can get everybody properly trained,” Schiller said.

Despite the relatively minor issues, fans gushed over the new ballpark in interviews with the AJC.

Plant said the exhibition game was “like batting practice for us” in terms of preparing the stadium for its regular-season opener. Attendance, announced as 21,392, was limited to season-ticket holders and people associated with the project.

SunTrust Park will get another test run on April 8 when Georgia and Missouri play a college baseball game there.

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