Good morning. This is LEADOFF, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.
Now that the retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been moved to the closed position, the plan is for it to remain there for a few weeks while a plastic-like covering is attached.
“They’ll recommence the process of putting the ETFE – that’s the translucent plastic covering – over those (roof) petals,” Mike Egan, senior vice president of Falcons parent company AMB Group, said late last week. “And then by the end of the month the expectation is that we’ll then reopen the roof again to complete that process.”
The roof’s eight motorized steel panels, called petals, each weighing 500 tons, were moved from open to closed Saturday.
The ETFE will let some natural light into the new Falcons stadium while providing protection from the elements when the roof is closed.
Work also will continue this month on assembling the halo-shaped video board within the circumference of the roof opening. The 63,000-square-foot video board — 58 feet high by 1,100 feet around — is being installed in 600 panels.
“We expect that to be done by the end of this month and the cranes to be removed and work to begin on installing the turf for the field,” Egan said.
The retractable roof was largely installed in the closed position but was moved to the open position in April for workers to complete the petals by placing the tips on the end. In what was dubbed “construction move 2,” the petals were returned to the closed position Saturday in a meticulous process that involved moving them very slowly and incrementally while taking sophisticated measurements and fine-tuning.
That was a far different process than the ultimate plan of opening or closing the roof in 12 minutes or so with the push of a single button.
The stadium is scheduled to debut Aug. 26 with a Falcons-Arizona Cardinals exhibition game.
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DON’T MISS …
The SEC will take some minor steps to try to shave a few minutes off the average length of the league’s football games, which last year lasted an average of 3 hours, 26 minutes. See Seth Emerson’s report here.
The Braves opened an eight-games-in-seven-days homestand with an 11-4 loss to the Phillies on Monday night at SunTrust Park. Bartolo Colon allowed eight runs (all earned) in 3 2/3 innings to drop his record to 2-7, raise his ERA to 7.78 and amplify questions about whether the Braves should go ahead and write off his $12.5-million contract as a costly mistake. See David O’Brien’s game report here.
With the Braves on pace for another season of 90-plus losses, another dump of veterans may start soon. See Jeff Schultz’s column here.
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