LEADOFF: Braves ‘eager to unveil’ new Hank Aaron statue

Hank Aaron will be honored with a new statue at SunTrust Park. (David Barnes/david.barnes@ajc.com)
Hank Aaron will be honored with a new statue at SunTrust Park. (David Barnes/david.barnes@ajc.com)

Good morning. This is Leadoff, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

The Braves are "eager to unveil" SunTrust Park's new statue of Hank Aaron next week.

The statue will be revealed March 29 at a fundraiser benefiting the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation. Tickets for the 7-10 p.m. event can be purchased for $500 per individual and $755 per couple.

Created by Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin, the statue will be placed in the “Monument Garden” section inside the new stadium.

The Braves commissioned the new Aaron statue early last year after a dispute erupted over where Turner Field's Aaron statue would be located after the team's move to Cobb County. The original statue will remain in downtown Atlanta.

Next week’s fundraiser, dubbed “An Evening With Hank Aaron,” also will include the opening of SunTrust Park’s Hank Aaron Terrace, where a cocktail reception will be held following the unveiling of the statue. Braves radio broadcaster Jim Powell will moderate a conversation with Aaron during the reception, and the legendary Braves superstar will be available for photos with guests.

The Braves announced earlier this year that the new statue will capture the moment of impact between bat and ball on Aaron's 715th home run, which broke Babe Ruth's long-standing record for career homers on April 8, 1974, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

“We are eager to unveil Hank Aaron’s new statue, not only because it celebrates such a historic moment in baseball, but also because it honors one of the most significant men in the history of sports,” Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk said in a statement Monday. “The statue is a vital piece of SunTrust Park, and we are delighted that the public can share in this moment while benefiting a wonderful cause.”

Aaron’s foundation encourages and rewards academic achievement and endows four-year college scholarships for deserving youth.

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A new rendering of the “100 Yard Club” at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 
A new rendering of the “100 Yard Club” at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

From their early days of designing the new Falcons stadium, architects envisioned a 100-yard-long bar. It was one of the design features that drew much fanfare early on.

The concept has evolved into a “100 Yard Club” — 100 yards of food and beverage offerings — located on the south side of the upper-level concourse.

The area will feature an artificial-turf floor with yard markers that align with the playing field below. “Red Zone” bars will be located on both ends of the space, which also will feature a wide variety of concession offerings and “hash-mark” lighting along the ceiling.

The latest renderings of the space show a Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q stand, free soft-drink refill stations and Falcons artwork and memorabilia. The area will be accessible to all fans in the stadium.

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