Baseball is a game of numbers -- as folks too numerous to count constantly point out.
But it’s true. Baseball reveres its numbers (Jackie Robinson’s 42 ). It retires them (11 alone by the Atlanta Braves). It stigmatizes them (the sub-200 batting average), acronym-izes ‘em (RBI, ERA, OBP, WAR) and even supersizes them whenever the score’s all tied up after 9 (extra innings!).
So why should baseball’s stadiums be left out of the fun? As SunTrust Park prepares to kick off its first-ever MLB season with the Braves’ home opener on Friday evening, check out our by-the-numbers comparison between it and its predecessor, Turner Field.
SunTrust Park: Approximately 41,000
Turner Field: 49,586
SunTrust Park: About 14,000 spaces
Turner Field: 8,500 “official” spaces (Of course, any real Braves fan parked in one of the unofficial spaces manned by neighborhood entrepreneurs at least once)
SunTrust Park: 37 months (eight months design, 29 months construction)
Turner Field: Short answer: More time. Longer answer: 7 months . . .plus about another three years before that. Turner Field began life as Centennial Olympic Stadium, centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Games. Groundbreaking was in July 1993 (the design process began even earlier) and the stadium officially opened in May 1996. After the Olympics and Paralympics, Turner Field was “reconfigured” from the original stadium from September 1996 to April 1997.
Related video: Time-lapse view as the Braves open the gates of SunTrust Park to fans for the first exhibition game
Scoreboard Dimensions (aka Double “Vision”)
SunTrust Park: BravesVision is 64 feet tall and 121 feet wide
Turner Field: Mitsubishi Diamond Vision was 71 feet four inches tall and 78 feet 8 inches wide.
Distance to Dead Center
SunTrust Park: 400 feet.
Turner Field: 400 feet.
(If you’re planning on catching one of the first ever SunTrust home run balls, the wall’s 8 feet 8 inches high in center field. It ranges from a low of six feet in left field to 16 feet in right field.)
Attendance at First Ever (Exhibition) Game
SunTrust Park: 21,392 for Braves vs. Yankees (boo!) on March 31, 2017. The good guys won, 8-5. (Note: The Braves treated this game as a “soft opening” of sorts, with attendance limited to season ticket holders).
Turner Field: 44,456 for Braves vs. Yankees (boo!) on March 29, 1997. The good guys won, 2-0.
That all-important SIR* stat (*stalls in restrooms)
SunTrust Park: 10 to 30 stalls per restroom
Turner Field: 2 to 10 stalls per restroom
The Braves’ crack PR staff tells us there are more stalls overall at the new ballpark compared to the old one. We’re just gonna take their word for it.
SunTrust Park: 4. Phil Niekro, Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Bobby Cox.
Turner Field: 4, plus 1 bust. Phil Niekro, Hank Aaron (Hammerin’ Hank also got a bust) , Ty Cobb, and Warren Spahn.
The Niekro and Spahn statues have made the trip from downtown to SunTrust, while the Aaron statue is brand new. Alas, the Cox statue wasn’t “thrown out of” Turner Field, in honor of the MLB record 161 times (including post-season) that umpires threw the Braves’ beloved Hall of Fame manager out of games. It’s new, too.
Number of Bats used in creating a one-of-a-kind, Object d’Ballpark Art:
SunTrust Park: 755. In honor of the real home run king’s (cough, cough!) career total, a sculpture made of 755 Hank Aaron Louisville Slugger baseball bats in the shape of the number 755 resides next to the Hank Aaron statue in Monument Garden.
Turner Field: 290. Beginning in 1997, a 42-foot high Coke bottle made of over 11,000 pieces of authentic Atlanta Braves baseball equipment was the eyepopping signature piece of Coca-Cola Sky Field. Sitting 435 feet from home plate and 80 feet above the field, besides the bats, it also included 6,680 baseballs 86 gloves and more. Every time a Brave hit a home run, fireworks shot out of the top of the bottle. The bottle was finally retired on July 2, 2009.
Sources: Atlanta Braves, AJC archives, staff research