I was pretty unenthusiastic about getting out to Turner this year, as compared to years past. I missed the home opener, and we left for the field only thirty minutes before the game started on Sunday (in 2006, at the height of what could perhaps be called my Issues, I was fond of arriving for a night game at two o’clock in the afternoon). But once I got through the gates and heard the national anthem being sung out on the field, I went into frantic near-running mode and zipped through the crowd to make it to our seats before the first pitch. We sat in the Golden Moon Casino Level, and our section was great. We had a few Mets fans beside us, but they were old and cantankerous, and their miserable silence added to our joy.
The best part of the game was in the eighth, right before Tex hit the homer. A little kid a few sections over was screaming “Let’s go Braves!” at the top of his four year old lungs, and everyone in the surrounding sections was clapping along with his chant. The fake loudspeaker cheers only once attempted to drown this out, and failed. Generally the sound effects and awful music seemed less intrusive than it did last year. The players even had less annoying entrance songs. Heap’s was . . . interesting, and Frenchy’s was the usual hardcore country, something about watching airplanes.
The only real changes I saw to what used to be the Lexus Level were that they replaced Moe’s with a Chick-Fil-A, which is a good move, though I suppose Chick-Fil-A won’t be open for Sunday games (it’s still under construction at the moment), and there was an ice cream place that may or may not have been there last year.
Everything but the crowd seemed a little bit muted, which was needed and nice. The Braves girls were even prettier! They have an Asian one now! Though they still have that one really scary squad leader with the big hair who looks like she may lead the robot revolution someday. They also dumped Jeff Dollar for a slightly less offensive looking in-game entertainment dude, though he’s still a long way from eye candy for the ladies. I guess we’ve got the ballplayers for that.
A win on getaway day is always especially satisfying, and it was great just to hear the announcer declare Smoltz as the winning pitcher as we streamed out. I’m glad my first Turner experience of 2008 was such a good one. I’ll be back for the A’s series to hopefully cheer on a vengeful Mr. Devine — though I’ve got to admit, Kotsay is impressing me so far. Who knew?