A newbie’s guide to watching the Atlanta Braves

It’s America’s favorite pastime. And if you’ve lived in metro Atlanta for more than a year but haven’t seen the Braves play at Turner Field, it’s far past time.

Whether you’re thinking about going by yourself, taking a date or making it a family affair, we asked a couple local baseball fans for their tips on how to get the most value out of your Braves experience:

Getting there

Many seasoned Braves fans will tell you the best way to get to the game is via MARTA — it’s cheaper than parking and will save you a post-game traffic headache. Exit the train at the Five Points station to catch a Braves shuttle bus. It departs from Steve Polk Plaza, on the east side of Underground Atlanta, and returns to the station’s Broad at Alabama Street entrance.

If you drive to a game, parking in most official Braves lots costs between $8 and $15. But some motorists have other tricks up their sleeves.

“We like to park for free about a half-mile away on a side street off Georgia Avenue,” says John McCosh, public relations manager for CredAbility, a credit counseling group.

If you choose to park in an unsupervised lot or on the street, officials caution you do so at your own risk “If I take a date,”McCosh says, “the only thing I would change is I’d pay for parking in an official lot.”

Being there

It’s hard to find a bad seat at The Ted (the stadium’s named after one-time Braves owner and CNN founder Ted Turner). Plus, there are more than 500 television monitors throughout the ballpark, as well as the giant, 29-by-38-foot BravesVision video board beyond center field.

Going to a day game? Whitney Callan, a client services coordinator with Fox Sports, recommends sitting in the terrace level on the third base side of the field to stay out of direct sun. She says it also helps if your seats are above the first few rows.

Having a good view of the game is a priority with both Callan and McCosh.

“If you sit down in field- or dugout-level seats, sit on the left side for odd-numbered aisles and right side for even-numbered aisles,” Callan says. “Otherwise, you have foot traffic constantly between you and home plate. For example, 117L is better than 117R and 116R is better than 116L.”

Or, adds McCosh, sit a bit higher for an even better perspective.

“If you can purchase tickets in advance, go to the ticket window at Turner Field and ask for the lowest row available around sections 408 or 409,” McCosh says. “That puts you around the front of the upper deck … a good view with an upper-deck price.”

Most regular tickets range from $6 to $95.

Eating there

Most people agree: You’re going to pay a premium if you choose to eat in the stadium.

“I don’t think there are any good food deals at Turner Field,” said Callan. “I love the Kevin Rathbun steak sandwich, but I have season tickets, so I can get it for $10 instead of $15. I would say eat at the Varsity or bring it with you.”

“We usually bring in a sub sandwich, a bag of peanuts and bottled water,” says McCosh, who figures he could add a bag of chips and still feed two people for about $20.   

If you do plan to bring your own food, remember that aluminum or glass containers, alcohol, ice chests and hard-sided coolers are prohibited.

Upcoming Braves homestands

Sunday: Toronto Blue Jays

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: New York Yankees

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Baltimore Orioles

June 26, 27, 28: Arizona Diamondbacks

June 29, 30 and July 1: Washington Nationals

Have your own tips for the best Braves experience? Share your suggestions in the comments.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter


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77 comments Add your comment

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Chris

June 10th, 2012
9:21 am

MARTA is only cheaper (or about the same as parking) if you have 2 or fewer people. If you have more than that, get ready to shell out a lot of money for the dubious convenience of being jammed onto an extremely crowded bus to get to/from the MARTA station–and be ready to wait for a train when leaving the game.

E

June 10th, 2012
10:12 am

I get there early to snatch up a $1 ticket. There’s a special window for these cheap seats. Why pay anything more if you can get a ticket for a $1?

El Camino

June 11th, 2012
9:38 am

Lauren,

Have you had the $15 Kevin Rathbun Steak Sandwich?

Sure, this is the “The ATL Bargain Hunter” Blog, emphasis on “Bargain,” but I was wondering if that sandwich is worth all the hype (and the $$$$) if you have a lady friend with you at the game and want to feed her well.

Lauren Davidson

June 11th, 2012
10:07 am

El Camino: You’re right that this piece is a little more about value, not just the price. Anyone want to weigh in on the steak sandwich? Is it significantly better than other ballpark food?

MikeY

June 11th, 2012
1:04 pm

Some other points:

For HOT day games, most of the club level (the 300 level) have air conditioned concourses (and mixed drinks, Vodka and Tonic is great on a 99 degree day).

Often MARTA to the game but a taxi home is fastest/most cost effective/safest. There are a couple of taxi stand areas.

Used to be you could get a free scorecard outside (AJC sponsored them, I think). Now you have to buy a program. BUT there are websites with scorecards you can print out, just google to find one.

Look at

http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/atl/ballpark/index.jsp

Chopper

June 11th, 2012
1:35 pm

I was at the Memorial Day Game against the Cards and tried the Kevin Rathbun sandwich. It was good, not great, but it was nowhere near worth $15. $10 would be pushing it. I’d rather get two Chick Fil A spicy sandwiches and a shake for the same price!

SteveO

June 11th, 2012
1:36 pm

I have been told that starting this season you are no longer allowed to park in the neighborhood just east of Turner Field. Unless you have a resident pass, you will receive a ticket from Park Atlanta. I had to borrow a friends pass to park off of Bass just a few weeks ago.

Long story short: I don’t think you can park on Georgia Ave anymore.

MyPatootie

June 11th, 2012
1:42 pm

Also, be prepared to be very disappointed and feel like you have thrown your money away, with the way the team is currently being managed by FG. I know personally of several people who were very upset and downright sick after yesterday’s game that was basically given away. So, if you are going just for the experience you will probably be OK. IF you are going to see the Braves win, especially against the Yankees, you could very well be letdown tremendously. Just a word of caution, spoken honestly from someone who has been there.

Lebo

June 11th, 2012
1:45 pm

What happened to the days when we could bring beer in milk jugs, buy cheap seats and hop the rail into the dress circle. Oh yea you only got to see one good team.

timthebrave

June 11th, 2012
1:45 pm

Get there early and tailgate/grill out. Bring food/peanuts into the game to save money

Ron Mexico

June 11th, 2012
1:47 pm

if a sketchy guy says he’ll “watch” your car for $10 during the game……..find somewhere else to park.

Vikster

June 11th, 2012
1:48 pm

If you drive, buy your parking ticket in advance and avoid the chance of getting there and discovering all lots are permit only. The Gold and Green lots are a short walk from the stadium. http://mlb.mlb.com/atl/ticketing/prepaid_parking.jsp

Ben

June 11th, 2012
1:50 pm

@SteveO there has been an area east of the stadium that requires resident parking passes for a few years but Georgia Ave and adjacent roads are fair game. Why not grab a bite in Grant Park and walk over?

I’d say most seasoned fans know to stay away from Marta. Having to walk through underground and get on a bus is too much of an inconvenience. I’d be willing to bet that most folks coming to games live in areas not serviced by Marta so having to drive to a train station and park, then go through the shuttle process just doesn’t make sense.

fes

June 11th, 2012
1:50 pm

The steak sandwich is good, but it’s not really $15 good. However, when you take into account the markup of all other food items, it’s right in line with its value pre-markup. I might even get it again. The steak was very tender and the chips were tasty too.

LydiasDad

June 11th, 2012
1:51 pm

The only tip you need for today is “Don’t Go.” The weather is terrible.

dean

June 11th, 2012
1:52 pm

Please excuse the crudgemudgen, MyPatootie. He got lost on his way to the sports section where he can expound on his MLB managerial prowess.

T.O

June 11th, 2012
2:02 pm

I would not suggest making your first Braves game while the Yankees are in town. Hands down the rudest and most obnoxious fans in sports. And unfortunately we have far too many in this town!

Chris Smith

June 11th, 2012
2:03 pm

I’ll weigh in on the steak sandwich. It’s “well done”. I know it HAS to be cooked to well done. But it’s just too dry.

MF

June 11th, 2012
2:07 pm

The BEST tip was left out. You can bring in soft coolers filled with food and non-alcoholic (no cans or glass) beverages. NEVER pay for anything other than booze inside when you can bring your own food and drinks.

And MyPatootie isn’t really all that bright. The braves are second in their division…not sure where he’s getting that attitude from. The “Ted” is one of the best baseball experiences in the country and the Braves are a great team to watch!

TRUE Braves fan

June 11th, 2012
2:09 pm

I agree with you dean, MyPatootie and other people can’t expect a win every game. Yes, some games are ugly, but you don’t hear anything negative from them when they win a game. Just fair weather fans they are. Just like the rest of Atlanta.

The prices are regulated by Aramark each season, not the Atlanta Braves. Yes, each and every Braves employee believes $15 for a steak sandwich is high, but go to any ballpark in any state and they will have expensive food all over. I travel to many ballparks and pay just as much for their food as you would in Atlanta. If you don’t like it, bring you own food. We have the only stadium that will allow you to bring in your own food.

The tip, don’t get too drunk at these games. You are at the stadium to enjoy it and so are the other several thousand people around you. One drunk person can ruin it for many others.

The $1 seats are avaliable 2 and a half hours before the game. A great way to still get in, check out the Chop House, the Top of the Chop, Sky Field and other attractions of the ballpark cheaply and still see a great game!

Big Don

June 11th, 2012
2:09 pm

Don’t take Marta – that’d be stupid, because it doesn’t go straight to the stadium. Just drive there and pay $10 to park. Pish.. women columnists

DawgInaTruck

June 11th, 2012
2:13 pm

Funny dean. I didn’t finish reading the drivel but I did figure the number of real games he managed was equal to his IQ. A big ol’ zero.

KJ

June 11th, 2012
2:14 pm

“Why pay anything more if you can get a ticket for a $1?”

Because those seats are horrible? I’d rather watch it at home than sit there. The tickets in the low 400s are the best value, imo.

I’m sure AJC will discourage what I’ll say next, but the best ticket deals come from scalpers. Offer them half price (sometimes less), and walk away if they say no. This will work almost every time. Most of these guys are regulars, so they’re not gonna sell you fakes. I’ve bought them this way for years, and haven’t been burned once.

L30307

June 11th, 2012
2:19 pm

My advice is to buy your tickets at the Turner Field box office in advance. You save the Ticketmaster fees and the game day mark-up. And if you get your parking pass in advance, it’s $10, which usually ends up cheaper than MARTA.

Tailgate or bring in subs (and drinks) to save $$ on food. But if you don’t have time, I think the Rathbuns steak sandwich is worth it. Very good, and it’s not a bad price considering how much hot dogs and hamburgers cost there.

dn

June 11th, 2012
2:19 pm

@BigDon spoken like someone who loves wasting time/gas in their car. As stated, you have to transfer to the shuttle at Five Points station if using MARTA. This option beats the heck out of sitting in downtown traffic to and from the stadium, and getting price gouged for parking ($10 gets you parking half a mile from the stadium in a sketch area).

Old School

June 11th, 2012
2:29 pm

We’re hoping to take our mom (age 90) to at least one Braves game. How about some tips for a wheelchair-bound fan & her family group of about 6? Is this at all possible? It would have to be a night game.

Pascual Perez

June 11th, 2012
2:30 pm

Take I-285 to the stadium. you can’t miss it.

El Camino

June 11th, 2012
2:30 pm

Folks,

Don’t forget to warn the “newbie” Braves fans about Atlanta’s World-INfamous, Jaywalking, Jive-Talking, (sometimes) slightly-urine-cented Panhandlers who come out of the woodwork on game night to approach you right outside the stadium and/or parking lots (especially right AFTER the same when the dark cover of night has fallen).

If tonight is your very first Braves game, be sure to practice saying “No, Thank You, Sir.” beforehand for when someone yells “HEY!!” at you from across the street to get your attention, proceeds to then jaywalk over to you and says “Let me ‘aks’ you a question!” before proceeding with their phony, yet often elaborate, sob story to separate you from whatever money Turner Field didn’t already take.

Be Careful, & Have Fun, Everyone.
(Even you Yankees Fans, too.)

El Camino

June 11th, 2012
2:32 pm

SCENTED

(Sorry.)

E

June 11th, 2012
2:32 pm

Well, “KJ” the $1 tickets are fine to me. It’s not like Turner Field is a massive stadium. The view from the $1 seats (all the way at the top) are fine. I’m not sure what specific section you’re talking about when you say low 400s, but the $1 seats I get have been in sections 437, 422 and a few times in 410. Besides, the entire 400 section is all the way at the top. So $1 or full price, it’s still all the way at the top.
I discovered the deal last season, and have attended almost every home game last season and so far this season. Watching a baseball game at home doesn’t compare to being there in person.
One dollar, compared to $10 to about $40, depending on what game you attend and when you purchase the ticket means more money in my savings account. I’m on board.
Bringing food and drink into the stadium, compared to buying food and drink there? Again, more money in my savings account.
A penny saved is a penny earned, my dad always taught me.

Miller Huggins

June 11th, 2012
2:36 pm

Yankee fans actually know baseball and come to the park to watch the game. Braves “fans” drift in by the 3rd inning and leave during the 7th. I’ve been to games in Atlanta and NYC; the “fans” here are a pathetic excuse for the name. It’s a little sad, but it’s also great when you’re there to watch sports greatest franchise slaughter a bunch of johnny-come-latelies and a few has-beens.

Angie

June 11th, 2012
2:38 pm

Old School, there are wheel-chair accessible seats in several spots around Turner Field. You can look for them specifically when ordering online or ask for them if you order by phone. Request parking in the Green Lot where handicapped parking is and get that pass in advance (still $10). Once you get into Turner Field, ask for directions to the elevator and you can ride to the appropriate level and then find your seats from there. If you can afford it, shell out the money for the 300 level seats where the AC is. Those bathrooms are A LOT nicer and easier to navigate.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 11th, 2012
2:38 pm

“I’ve been to games in Atlanta and NYC; the “fans” here are a pathetic excuse for the name.”

Clearly you haven’t been to a Mets game at Citi Field, where the fans are far worse than they are here.

ohhhhYEAH

June 11th, 2012
2:44 pm

Yes, Patooie, its not like we have the 6th best record in all of baseball or anything like that. we clearly stink. What were we thinking winning 7 out of the last 9? Yes FG messed up BIG TIME yesterday, but it was one game. stop yourgriping

Stookie

June 11th, 2012
2:45 pm

@Najeh Davenpoop-I don’t think the Muts are considered a real baseball team!

mpimentel

June 11th, 2012
2:46 pm

well the first thing that you have to know if you are going to the turner field today… is that the braves will face a team that have been destroying the game with their ridiculous free agents signs in the past decade. A team that we had in our hands during the 1996 world series until a freak so called player named as j wholers did throw a pitch rigth to the bat of jim (only famous because of this lucky) leyritz. A team with SUCH AS players like: mariano duncan, charly hayes, wade boggs (the old one), darryl (drug guy) strawb….and yeah a SS named derek (the one base hit nemesis) jeter beat the bravos…so taht is the first think to known, now the 2nd. is…well we lost another world series against them…in a season that we used gerald williams as our leadoff batter and played the whole season without galarraga and javy lopez, at least in that post season jhon rocker backs his words against one team of that city…

mpimentel

June 11th, 2012
2:48 pm

hey what happend with my post?

Lauren Davidson

June 11th, 2012
2:50 pm

@mpimentel: You got stuck in the spam filter.

tjf

June 11th, 2012
2:52 pm

Why isn’t there a MARTA train stop at The Ted? I use the MARTA shuttle from the Midtown station, but why didn’t they make a train stop at the stadium when it was built in the mid-90s? Makes no sense–Wrigley’s got a train stop in Chicago. The Ted should too.

Braves Games in my Theater Room

June 11th, 2012
2:54 pm

Why bother with going to live games? Our family spent 5 hours (2.5 hrs each way) going to/fro North Fulton for a Friday night Braves game. While we got the tickets for free, it cost us another $100 to park and have a small snack. Then to add insult to injury, my children were then exposed to foul language coming from drunken fans and felt threatened by after the game panhandlers. No thanks! Its cheaper, safer, and takes less time to watch them on a big screen TV.

Get off your high horse

June 11th, 2012
2:59 pm

Miller,

Are you talking about the same fans of the Yankees that will not even spring for $1 tickets? Yes, your stadium’s attendance is down 9%, while the rest of MLB is up. Tickets on StubHub are below face and the box office is selling none. Yeah, you guys are the ultimate in fandom.

Please take your geocentric condescension elsewhere.

YankeesSuck

June 11th, 2012
3:04 pm

Why do the Braves charge the highest ticket prices just because its the Yankees? We should not act like they are some sort of God or better than any other team… ESPECIALLY when the games are on Monday, Tues and Wed! We should not acknowledge that they are that great or worth extra money for ticekts just because they are the Yankees. I get that it’s interleague and we rarely get to see them here but it’s fregin insulting that we roll out the red carpet and have to tell people how to go to Turner Field because they are transplanted from NY and might go to a game just to see the Yankees. We should act like it’s just another game and it’s not the big, bad, yankees, because when we do it just gives them an advantage and makes us look like we are bowing down to them. Top tier ticket prices on a MONDAY just because it’s the Yankees? A HEADLINE article in the AJC telling people how to get to Turner Field if you’ve never been? WTF? It makes us look like fools.

Judge Smails

June 11th, 2012
3:05 pm

If you want the real worst fans in baseball, check out a Phillies game. These are the loudest, most disgusting “fans” to be found anywhere.

Once, about five years ago, I took my then 10 year old son to a game. He was very excited to see his hero, Chipper Jones play.

The jerks behind us kept caling him names using the most foul language imaginable. I’m no prude (6 years in the Marines), but in front of kids???

Classless a-holes, all of them!

YankeesSuck

June 11th, 2012
3:06 pm

@ Judge, I hope you never took him to a Thrashers Flyers game in the past!

C from Marietta

June 11th, 2012
3:10 pm

The food at Turner Field is bad. Bring your own in.

YankeesSuck

June 11th, 2012
3:14 pm

There are downhome, good baseball fans like Cubbies fans and Cards fans that, even if you are a fan on the other team, you can still talk baseball and enjoy a good conversation. Yankees fans, for the most part, are so stuck up, snobby and ignorant about our team, our fans and our tradition that all they do is belittle us and talk trash when, in fact, it’s all because they think they are holier than though because they are Yankees fans. There’s a reason why everyone yells Yankees Suck! where ever they go. Yankees fans live in the past. They make us look like IDIOTS when we post HEAD LINE STORIES about going to Turner Filed for the first time?!?! The AJC is not helping this at all. WE should not acknowledge, in any way, via higher ticket prices or AJC articles, that they are coming to town. You know all they’ll do is make fun of Atlanta, The South, our stadium, our culture, our team, and our just so god awful fans! We are the WORST fans in ALL of MLB!!! Really? I enjoy interleague and I love getting to see teams we don’t normally get to see, but this is insane. Just because its the Yankees. What is the AJC thinking? Why did the Braves charge the highest ticket prices just because it’s the Yankees? Disgusting.

Katie

June 11th, 2012
3:22 pm

I live half a mile from the stadium so I don’t have to deal with parking when we go to games, however, there is a lot past the Blue, Green and Orange lots to the left of the stadium on Hank Aaron that is the best deal for parking. I pass it every day and the prices there are always lower than the other lots, and it’s just a few feed from the East Entrance – no long line up front.

Bring in your own food. Hard coolers or coolers with a hard handle aren’t allowed, but soft coolers are. We always bring a snack with us. As people have mentioned, the low 400 sections are great for the price. Better to stay along the 3rd Base side if you don’t want to be in the sun for a day game.

Jason

June 11th, 2012
3:24 pm

I go to a lot of games, 10-12/year, and have been very turned off by the variable pricing this year. $30 for upper box on Sat. versus Blue Jays? $50 for upper box during the week against the Yankees? Those are not ticket broker prices either. FU to the MBA who cam up with this BS.

lmno

June 11th, 2012
3:28 pm

I’ve been to about 100 Braves Games. I have taken Marta exactly once. I wouldn’t recommend it. I do take MARTA to the Dome or Phillips, but its a real pain getting to Turner Field.

I used to park in the cheap lots or try to get really close to the stadium, but now I have found that it is very convenient to just park in the Orange Lot near the tunnel crossunder. Then, I walk fast back to the car and the end of the game and pull out. I am back on I-20 10 minutes from the last pitch.

It’s $10 to park there and you have to beat the crowd out, but thats not a problem if you know the plan.