Turner Field — where spontaneity goes to die

But of course. You wouldn’t want to have anything unique at Turner Field to distract us from the focus group-approved distractions. Hey, time to the do The Chop again. Or how ’bout some more Zac Brown?

It’s possible, if you’re a middle-aged white guy from the suburbs with bad taste in music and a passing interest in baseball, to enjoy the Turner Field experience. As for the rest of us, well, fuck off!

They practically give the game itself the middle finger. A rich team history receives rare acknowledgement at the old ball yard. When the Braves celebrated their 50th anniversary on alumni weekend, did they show any of the old players on the video board between innings, or replay highlights of great moments from the past? Grudgingly, it at all.

Besides, fans come for Kiss-Cam and the cheerily bombastic platitudes of carnival barker Mark Owens. And all those clever attractions, like Zombie Night, featuring Zombie Survival Kits, because zombies are popular now. At least they haven’t repeated “Gone With the Wind Night,” held in 2011.

Anyone for a Wayne LaPierre bobblehead?

Last September I attended a game at Camden Yards, where the distractions were minimal, vendors actually circulated through the Upper Level and the musical offerings included a Smiths song and an R.E.M. tune other than “It’s the End of the World As We Know It.”

Meanwhile, way down yonder on the Chattahooch … a jackass playing Fiddler Hero accompanies “Devil Went Down to Georgia” on the big screen.

To Liberty, the Braves, er, Cobb County Baseball Concern, might as well be the Diamondbacks. Except the D’backs are outdrawing the Braves this year. The Braves will have to sell about 22,000 tickets per game over the final 14 to reach 2 million, a figure they’ve exceeded every year since ’91. They’ll have to fudge the numbers to reach it in 2015.

TV ratings are also way down. As of July 17, when the Braves were still considered overachievers, Atlanta placed 23rd among the 29 U.S. teams with a 2.3 rating, nearly half Arizona’s 4.24.

Of course the play on the field has a great deal to do with it, but I’m encountering more and more  longtime Atlantans — those that still care even a little — who have grown to resent the Braves. Animus and apathy — a winning combination.

The Office is in it for good, but there’s not a whole lot of us lifers left. We have out-of-town corporate ownership, and it’s eager facilitator, The Worst Commissioner Ever, to thank for that. And for the worst local TV contract in the game. “Golden age,” right Bud?

Meanwhile, the Braves just set a franchise record with their 11th straight home loss in front of a home crowd nearly partisan to the Mets. Bummer, but at least we’ve still got the Home Depot Tool Race!

And it’s likely to get worse. Not on the field, but inside the new Cobb County home, sure to be a beacon to sanitized. pale-faced family entertainment.

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4 thoughts on “Turner Field — where spontaneity goes to die

  1. This is indeed a depressing development. When our organist a few years back played “Jesus Is Just All Right” for Jayson Werth coming to the plate, I had never laughed so hard at The Ted. Well, except when I realized Bobby had penciled in Keith Lockhart at second base yet again. But that was laughter of a different sort.

    Seriously, even if you’re going to ridiculously dumb down the between-innings “entertainment” to appease the redneck demographic, what is possibly to be gained by putting the clamps on your organist? Who other than Lucas Duda ever complained about “Camp Town Lady”? (I actually think I read once that Duda had his nose out of joint about that, but if he did, why should Atlanta give a rat’s ass?)

    My guess is the Braves management believes the current sophisticated stadium crowds just don’t get the organist’s humor or understand the references. Sadness upon sadness.

  2. I wouldn’t say that this is a new development Sharon (check the Office archives) – only the final cresting of a joyless, soul-sucking wave that has spread over this organization since Turner relinquished control and has only gotten worse with the current Colorado overlords.

    Is it still ok to bring you own food into the Ted? Think that will be the case in the new digs? Almost makes you long for the days of Butt Cutt.

  3. WTH? I’m at a loss for words. Organist used to play “Up Town Girl” whenever Justin Upton (then with the D-backs) came to bat. Figuring out the connection between the song and the opposing players was one of the best parts about going to the Ted the last few years. This needs to change. What corporate, demagoguery, BS.

  4. If the Braves are thinking that the country crap is going to cut it in Smyrna, they have another thing coming. They might as well go ahead and call Michael McDonald to come and do the music for the games instead.

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