There comes a time in every team’s life when it must throw off the shackles of its dilapidated, rapidly aging stadium, and move on to bigger and better things. For the Braves, now is apparently that time.
When it was built, Turner Field (then known as Centennial Olympic Field) was a jewel of the baseball world, truly the Marlins Park of its era. But of course, that time was ages ago – 1996. Of course, times change. Back in those primordial days, people used to listen to music on something called Walkmans, performing some sort of ancient mating ritual called the Macarena. Al Gore had only recently invented the Internet. My, how times change.
In the decades since Turner Field was constructed (actually, just one decade), the city has changed dramatically. No longer is the location of the park, in the heart of downtown Atlanta and accessible for all who live in the city, tenable for the Braves. They must move closer to the suburbs, where fans who can afford to buy the luxury boxes (the only fans that matter) will be able to show up (in fairness, it does appear the center of the Braves fanbase is closer to the new stadium than the old). Plus, Turner Field doesn’t have nearly enough luxury boxes to court this elite clientele; only 64 luxury suites.
Now, of course, this new stadium won’t be cheap — nothing that’s worth it ever is. The Braves estimate it will cost 672 million dollars. But In order to make the Turner Field location even remotely playable for the Braves (according to the team, and what reason would they have to exaggerate?), they will need to pour in 150 to 350 million dollars — hey, it costs a lot of money to clean up all that trash. But as the old saying goes, ’tis better to end than mend; why make do with the old when you can get something shiny and new for a mere $400 million more?
Plus, the taxpayers didn’t even have to pay for Turner — private companies and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, looking to build a stadium for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (made famous, of course, for when Perseus threw that discus that killed his father), picked up the 207 million dollar tab. So Atlantans didn’t get to feel the joy of building a stadium of their own, that someone else will profit from. They missed out on all the joy that Marlins fans feel today, watching Jeffrey Loria make millions on his 634 million dollar taxpayer-funded stadium. A shame, really. A new stadium will remedy that.
Of course, the Washington Nationals should look to their neighbors in the NL East as a model. After all, it has been 6 years since they moved into Nationals Park. Why, in those simpler times, Instagram hadn’t even been invented yet — people had to take their photographs without a filter! It’s time for the Nationals, and indeed all franchises in the MLB, to lobby their government for brand-new stadiums. Because, god forbid, taxpayers should keep their money and use it on something trivial, like feeding and educating their children.