By Mike Harrington
On Veterans Day no less, the Atlanta Braves unveiled a new Web site this morning at Homeofthebraves.com and it provides information on a stunning announcement that I had seen just about zero rumor of: They are leaving Turner Field and downtown Atlanta following the 2016 season for a new ballpark to be built in suburban Cobb County and opened in 2017.
The Braves have been downtown since they arrived from Milwaukee in 1966, first at Fulton County Stadium and then at Turner Field. The current facility, located in the parking lot of the old one, was converted from the Olympic track and field stadium and opened for baseball in 1997.
The team, however, says Turner Field needs hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades. In addition, traffic in Atlanta is a nightmare and access and parking have become major issues. The team has three years left on its lease and will play those out before moving to its new home, which is says will operate with ancilliary events and development 365 days a year.
It will also likely produce plenty of revenue for the team as well that could be turned back into baseball's free agent market. Pretty interesting longterm ramifications.