Braves beat Padres on Opening Day at SunTrust Park

Fans say traffic not the nightmare they feared on Opening Day

COBB COUNTY, Ga — The Atlanta Braves beat the San Diego Padres 5-2 on Opening Day at their new stadium, SunTrust Park, in Cobb County.

Gates opened around 4:30 p.m. and fans started piling in. The Braves delayed the first pitch until 7:50 p.m., due to pre-game activities.

The team had a lot of exciting things planned -- Braves legends Bobby Cox, John Smoltz and Chipper Jones took part in a processional leading into the stadium.

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The official attendance for Friday's game was 41,149.

SUNTRUST PARK FIRSTS

  • Hank Aaron threw the ceremonial first pitch to Bobby Cox
  • Julio Tehran delivered the first official regular season pitch
  • Ender Inciarte recorded the first hit, an infield single
  • Freddie Freeman hit the first double
  • Inciarte scored the first run, on a Nick Markakis double
  • Inciarte hit the first Braves homerun

TRAFFIC AND PARKING AROUND SUNTRUST PARK

There are 14 ways to get in and out of the stadium.

“Do not just assume that 285 and Cobb Parkway is the only way to get to all of the different lots around SunTrust Park,” Plant said.

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The bridge over I-285 linking the park and battery to the Cobb Galleria opened Friday afternoon to pedestrians.

“Now with 85 down, everyone is taking 285, so that’s sort of the main drag for everyone now anyways so I think it would be monumental if they got this in time,” said another Braves fan.

Channel 2's Justin Wilfon hit the road to find out how long it would take to get to SunTrust Park from Gwinnett County. It took him 39 minutes to make the trip.

Fans said the game did not turn out to be the traffic nightmare they imagined.

"We took the back roads. No problem. There really wasn't. No problem," one fan said.

Many fans arrived early in the day to check out the stadium, which eased traffic congestion.

The first fan reviews of the parking situation were good.

“I assumed it was going to be a parking nightmare, which 75, 285 coming together, it’s a tough spot, but it’s OK,” said one Braves fan.

Some fans said they had long walks from the parking lots.

"I walked a mile and a half to this point, but didn't see any shuttles available," a fan said.

Because of the Interstate 85 collapse, Braves officials are drilling in important advice for fans.

“Buy your parking in advance,” said Braves Vice President Mike Plant.

FANS TAKE IN FIRST GAME AT SUNTRUST PARK

Braves President of Development Mike Plant and CEO Terry McGuirk spent the hours before the first pitch touring the lots where tailgaters had come early to mark what they call a historic occasion.

"It's been a long time since we've been to a field that's not been built for something else, you know. Turner was home, but it was built for the Olympics, but with us, this being our new home, I'm really excited to see it," Plant said.

Baseball fans from all over the country came just for the first game, one from Michigan here for his 23rd opening day in a new major league stadium.

"Anyone can come to the 2nd, or 16th game… it’s something unique. I'm a big baseball fan, obviously, so it's unique to be first in, opening game,” said fan Jim Aalderink.

Fans flocked to the Monument Garden, featuring the new Hank Aaron statue and the extensive kids area with virtual reality and a zip line.

RIDE-SHARING SYSTEM CAUSES CONFUSION AFTER GAME

There was lots of confusion after the game with the new ride-sharing system.

The driver's line was about a half-mile long.

Fans are supposed to get a code, pick any car in their Uber class and go, but it wasn't that simple.

"A person walks up to us, shows us the code and boom, there we are. We just take them home," Uber driver Anthony Stover said.

Riders said several people rushed the same cars.

"Picture five people running up and saying, 'Here's my code, Here's my code," Jamison Carlton said.

Some people had problems accessing their apps. Uber employees were there to help with the learning curve.