A Few Words On the “Exclusive” Spots at SunTrust Park

I have…. A lot of opinions about the Atlanta Braves’ new ballpark. They moved out of downtown Atlanta to the outskirts, ostensibly to be closer to their season ticket holders, the majority of which reside north of Atlanta.

…. But you’re the Atlanta Braves. The Falcons, Hawks, and now Atlanta United all have no problem staying downtown. You know, near all the other touristy things – the World of Coke, Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center, the GA Aquarium…. The Hard Rock Cafe.

Atlanta Hard Rock Cafe
Fact: The “downtown” area of any city is defined by where the Hard Rock is.

On the other hand, I understand that there were apparently a lot of political and financial reasons that the Braves felt like their only option was to leave Atlanta.

Anyway. This is not a piece about how much I dislike the Braves moving, nor is it about how absolutely unbelievably poorly planned literally every single aspect of the ballpark, its parking, the surrounding shopping area, and the season ticket structure was planned, named, and is currently being run.

This is about all the cool features that were endlessly advertised during the years that the Braves were trying to convince the public that their move out of town was a good idea.

Turns out, most of these features are actually ~exclusive~ areas. So even if you’re a season ticket holder, you don’t necessarily have access to the vast majority of the cool amenities at the stadium that were promised. The field-level bottom level of the Chop House that lets you taunt Bryce Harper’s haircut up close and personal? Only accessible if you rent the ENTIRE room for a group of 50-90, tallying around a cool $100 per person, minimum.

The Home Depot clubhouse that sits high above the outfield and overlooks the whole stadium and allows you to actually be the ones who adds the Ks to the strikeout board? You can only sit there if you reserve the whole thing for a group, which will cost you over $5k.

The really neat seats in front the Chop House with refrigerated cupholders that were endlessly advertised? You can only sit in those seats if you have full season tickets, starting at $3,760 per ticket.

It’s a real bummer.

SunTrust Park outfield
The outfield of SunTrust Park.

Suntrust Park fixed outfield
The outfield of SunTrust Park that people without expensive reservations can access. [White blocks are covering up places that are either completely unavailable unless you have a certain level of season tickets, or can be reserved for a large party.]
Welcome to beautiful SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves. Please enjoy all of our amazing amenities you will never be able to see unless you spend several thousand dollars…

My favorite part of this whole “exclusive” thing is that even if the space is COMPLETELY empty, and you are ready and willing to spend money on food or drinks in that space, you will still be barred from entering. For example: Behind the Hank Aaron Terrace (a huge, private bar and seating area that is almost always empty or minimally occupied) is this huge patio space (that doesn’t face the ballpark,) with flatscreens and beautiful patio furniture.

On the final weekend of games, I went to the area in hopes that it would be open to the public… You know, since it was completely empty. A handful of employees were using it as their breakroom, texting and eating. I asked one of them – who wouldn’t let me in – how often that space is used. She looked at another worker and they talked about if they had every seen a single person back there. “Not often,” was the final conclusion they drew.

So, yeah. Am I aware that I’m complaining that an “exclusive” place is actually exclusive? Yeah. Am I really just angry that the people who sit in these seats don’t actually pay any attention to the games and real fans deserve to sit there instead? Heck, yeah. Am I ticked with the Braves for sending out e-mail surveys that ask why people attend baseball games, and list every possible reason (“to take selfies” being an actual choice listed)… Except they don’t list “to watch baseball”?

Yeah. I’m ticked off that the people advertising and selling tickets to the new stadium don’t actually seem to care about baseball or the fans, because it’s all about the moolah.

Which, again, I realize is just the way life is.

But still. I don’t have to like it.

Maya Rudolph SNl