Replacing the grass is on Braves’ to-do list at Truist Park

Installing new signage isn’t the only work to be done at Truist Park, formerly SunTrust Park, before the start of baseball season. Also on the to-do list: replacing the grass.

“We’ll begin that -- call it sometime in March … so that it looks perfect for our first game April 3,” Braves President and CEO Derek Schiller said.

The Braves' usually picturesque field looks far from perfect right now. Parts of it look barren or beaten-down, showing the aftereffect of the 800 tons of manufactured snow and the 15-story-tall steel ski-jump structure that were placed on the field for a "Big Air" skiing and snowboarding event last month.

“We fully expected the grass to be the way it is,” Schiller said. “Since we’re not having to play baseball games in January or February, we’re not replacing it yet, and it looks the way it does.”

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While the Big Air event took its toll on the field, no unexpected damage was caused, Schiller said. The Braves replaced the sod before their second and third seasons at the stadium in 2018 and 2019 and intended all along to replace it again before the 2020 season, he said. The same type of grass, paspalum, will be used.

The exact schedule for installing the new sod will depend on weather.

For the first time since opening SunTrust Park in 2017, the Braves won't play a preseason exhibition game at the stadium, pushing back when they need to have the field ready. They open the regular season on the road — four games at Arizona, followed by three at San Diego — before coming home to face the Miami Marlins in the opener of a three-game series April 3.

A Georgia-Georgia Tech baseball game set for March 1 has been moved from Truist Park to the Gwinnett Stripers' Coolray Field.  Georgia and Georgia Tech played at SunTrust (now Truist) Park each of the past three seasons — on April 8, 2017; May 9, 2018; and April 23, 2019. The combination of an earlier date for this season's game and the field condition led to the decision to move the game to Gwinnett.

“There was a possibility we could have had the (Truist Park) field prepared in time for that, but in order to ensure there were no issues whatsoever with that game being played, we collectively made the decision that it was best to play the game in Gwinnett this year,” Schiller said.

Before the Braves' home opener at their renamed stadium, and beyond then, a lot of work is scheduled to replace SunTrust Park signs with Truist Park signs. The ballpark's new name was announced last week.

Truist, the bank formed by the merger of SunTrust and BB&T, is responsible for the full cost of replacing the signs, Schiller said.

“It’s something that was contemplated as part of the agreement,” he said. “They do handle all of the payment for taking down the signage, manufacturing the signage and putting it back up again.”

By opening day, Schiller said some prominent signs, including the one above the main video board, will be replaced. But other SunTrust Park signs will remain on opening day and will be replaced later in the season.