Our traveling-circus-themed July actually began June 30, when we drove to Atlanta, about 3 hours from our home in South Carolina, for a quick trip to Turner Field to watch the Braves play. We try to go to at least one Braves game annually, mostly because our middle son is a huge fan and either watches or listens to almost every game each year. FACT: MLB teams play 162 games each season. So that’s commitment. And a lot more free time than I have.
What I do not love about Braves baseball:
- It’s played outside. In the summer. In Atlanta. Did no one think this through?
- The six-hour round trip.
- $9 for a souvenir soda.
- Chick-fil-A costs twice as much as it would outside the park.
- Watching them lose (pretty likely prospect this year).
- The kid behind us that repeatedly bonked our heads with his foam tomahawk. On a less charitable day, I would have ripped that thing out of his hands and thrown it to the fans below. Instead I just prayed for patience and for his mom to learn how to appropriately instruct her child in Civility 101.
What I love about Braves baseball:
- Turner Field lets you bring in your own snacks and drinks. If you’re going to charge $9 for a souvenir soda, this seems only fair, but I’m still grateful.
- Watching the Chick-Fil-A cow do the tomahawk chop. Where else but in Braves country would you find a 40-foot tall, 15,000-pound cow with a moving forearm?
- Hanging out with my husband and kids. The nice thing about watching baseball is that there is plenty of downtime between pitches, batters, innings, etc. Plenty of time for conversation about the kid with the foam tomahawk and what your walk-up song would be if you were a player.
- Scoring the game – I haven’t done it recently; I’ve passed it along to my kids as my father did to me, but if you actually want to stay focused on a baseball game, this is the only way to watch. Buy a baseball scorebook at your local sporting goods store; it will have instructions on the front page for how to score the game. Bring the scorebook to the game with a couple of pencils. Try it one time for yourself! I may be just confirming my geekiness with this one, but I’m pretty sure this is universally engaging. You can let me know.
- Fireworks to celebrate a Braves home run!
- Belting “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch, much to the head-shaking chagrin of my children.
- Just basking in the All-American awesomeness that is baseball.
The Braves have a great deal on Tuesdays where their Club Pavilion tickets are half-price, and we love these seats. It’s a great view of the field, and you can go inside an air-conditioned area and eat, visit the substantially-less crowded restroom with an odd walk-out balcony off of it (this is weird, isn’t it? Just me?), or just hang out and watch the game on TV (kinda sad for you if you are watching it on TV when you are at the ballpark, but you may have your reasons). We like to sit on the front row of this level for an unobstructed view; bonus: you can put your feet up and rest your drink on the little ledge in front of you. It’s the little things, right?
Gates open two and a half hours before the game. We try to get there early to watch batting practice. Sometimes the players will throw balls to you, and sometimes they will hit it into the stands. There’s nothing like the thrill of catching a real MLB ball, especially if it’s your son who loves all things Braves making the catch.
This particular game was not the Braves’ best performance. We stayed to the bitter end, but the Braves couldn’t turn it around and lost the game. It’s still a ton of fun to be there.