If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

Will Cheney

The recent news of the Atlanta Braves’ decision to not renew the lease at Turner Field can be seen as a complete waste of money and resources.

Turner Field, more affectionately known as the TED in honor of Turner Broadcasting System founder Ted Turner, opened in 1996 for the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. In 1997, the Braves began use of the stadium for home games after the demolishing of Fulton County Stadium. The new stadium, which has yet to be named, will be located 15 miles away on Cobb County.

After the announcement, I was left in shock. Leaving a 17-year-old stadium seems like a foreign concept when ballparks like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are still open and in use. For example, the New York Yankees opened the “new” Yankee Stadium in 2009. The original Yankee Stadium had been in operation for 85 years prior to its demolition.

In a statement released by Braves President John Schuerholz, he said there have been many requests for renovations to the ballpark that were left untouched. I am just wondering how many renovations have to be made to a stadium that is less than 20 years old.

One of the reasons of that was given for the move was to make access of the ballpark easier. I can understand that. There have been many times I’ve driven around Turner Field just to find a parking space two or three blocks away and make the trek to one of the gates.

What leaves me dumbfounded is the proposed location of the new stadium. Schuerholz said the new stadium will be located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285. If one of the purposes of the move is to make the stadium more accessible, why would it be dropped at the corner of two of the busiest highways in the state? I can just picture images of traffic at a standstill on days of home games.

What I find most incredible, and frankly it just adds to the mindset of leaving a youthful, 17-year-old ballpark, is that Turner Field is to be demolished once the Braves leave for Cobb. Maybe I am being a little biased, because I have lived in Georgia my whole life and have made countless trips up I-20 to see games at Turner Field, but it seems like a huge waste of money.

The cost of the demolition is one thing, but imagine what the possibilities could be if the stadium was kept and used for different purposes. Turner Field has been a center for activities in downtown Atlanta since the mid 1990s and destroying it after a short time of existence seems counter productive.

I guess I was raised by the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” mentality. Turner Field was not exactly falling apart at the seams like the old Yankee Stadium, Wrigley or Fenway. With that said, it is what it is. The future of Atlanta baseball will certainly be one to keep an eye on.