COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The excitement, and worries, are building in Cobb County as the Atlanta Braves get ready for opening day at their new stadium.
Just days after crews laid the sod on the playing field, Braves officials gave Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt a look at SunTrust Park.
Ed Mangan, the Braves field director, said the grass has never looked greener for the team.
"We started a year and a half ago and it’s been pampered and babied all the way to this weekend when we put it down," Mangan said.
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Mangan said he is still marveling over the green carpet now in place weeks before ballplayers take the field at SunTrust Park, but added that he's a bit worried.
"Well, obviously in the old stadium we didn't have a Comcast Building and a hotel sitting in our right field," Mangan told Cavitt.
The buildings just past the outfield walls keep the outfield grass in shade during much of the winter, unlike Turner Field, which faced the opposite direction and kept the outfield in the sun.
"The root zone was kept just warm enough to where it didn't kill everything below, but if we have any shade issues where it stays frozen too long, we may need to replace some of it in the spring," Mangan said.
There are a couple of high-tech improvements at SunTrust Park. With fans so close to the action they have to have netting up, but it is a new high tech material that it thinner but stronger, almost invisible for those sitting in the stands.
The lighting at the field is all LED and it comes on instantly instead of the usual 15 to 20 minute warm-up time
Cavitt said he also got a taste of the blazing fast Wi-Fi for fans, and a look at the restaurants and seating closer to the field.
There were still plenty of workers around the field Wednesday getting everything ready at the ball park, but Braves officials insist they are working on the final touches.
"The next month up until opening day will be quite hectic, but we're going to be ready to go," said Derek Schiller, Braves president of business.
The Braves’ first game in SunTrust Park will be a March 31 exhibition against the New York Yankees.
The game will close out the Braves’ 2017 spring training and provide a trial run for SunTrust Park before regular-season play begins there in April.
Braves full-season tickets for 2017 are currently on sale. Single game tickets go on sale on Friday.
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