MLB’s Manfred says SunTrust Park ‘a model for other organizations’

Hank Aaron views a new statue of him in Monument Grove at SunTrust Park. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, visiting Friday, said it might be the best baseball statue Manfred ever saw. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)
Hank Aaron views a new statue of him in Monument Grove at SunTrust Park. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, visiting Friday, said it might be the best baseball statue Manfred ever saw. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred attended the Braves’ home opener Friday night and seemed quite impressed by new SunTrust Park and the surrounding mixed-use development of retail shops, restaurants, a hotel and apartments, much of which is still under construction.

“I do think it’s a model for other organizations,” Manfred said. “We ask our fans to do a lot. They come 81 times a year. You’ve got to make sure you have a venue that is attractive, provides entertainment alternatives and food alternatives. And the Braves have just done an unbelievable job with those concepts.”

The ballpark itself has a combination of elements the Braves gleaned from visits to other highly rated ballparks, and the reviews of SunTrust Park have been favorable from fans, baseball officials and players.

“It is a classic-feeling ballpark,” Manfred said before Friday’s game. “We just had a little tour; some of the different seating areas in the ballpark — a lot of imagination, a lot of options in terms of seating. It’s the kind of ballpark that will attract not only our hardcore fans that really are the backbone of our game, and we always have to pay attention to people who may not be quite as interested because there’s so many options today.”

One feature of SunTrust Park really struck a chord with Manfred, who said, “The Henry Aaron statue maybe be the best baseball statue I’ve ever seen.”

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