Turner Field: A Baseball Theme Park

Renee Gore is an employee for the Atlanta Braves. In her latest column she discusses Turner Field, giving us a brief tour of the stadium in addition to some areas that you might not know about.

Here at Turner Field we believe that it is not just a beautiful stadium in which to watch a game, but that it is also a baseball theme park. While you won't find roller coaster rides like you would in Disney World, you will find many activities that are fun for everyone.

The fun and activities start as soon as you enter the front gates into the Plaza. In the Plaza you are greeted by everyone's favorite Cartoon Network characters such as the Powerpuff Girls, Scooby Doo, and Dexter. Joining the characters out in the Plaza is the Bleacher Brigade. They have ring and ball toss games that they carry around with them for anyone who wants to play. One of the most exciting events in the Plaza is the Fan Player Interview. This is a chance for some lucky fans to ask members of the Braves a question. The Bleacher Brigade then leads Braves fans in the Rock-N-Rally where they are joined by mascots Homer and Rally. During the rally they toss out Turner Field t-shirts to the crowd while dancing and doing the tomahawk chop, all in an effort to get the fans more pumped up for the game.

Also in the Plaza you will find one of the six interactive games available at Turner Field. The "Big Hitter" is considered to be the toughest game at Turner Field. The game is basically a batting cage with a pitching machine hidden behind a big screen. On this screen the fans can choose which pitcher they would like to hit against. Some of the pitchers to choose from are John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez. From the time the gates open until game time, there is a contest in which the player with the most hits wins a t-shirt. There is no real age limit for this game, however this is not really a game for smaller children.

There are four other games located in Scout's Alley, three pitching and one hitting. The first game in the Alley is "In Control". The object of this game is to get a strikeout. You pitch until you either walk the batter or get a strikeout, six pitches at the most. At the other end of the cage there is a batter, catcher and a plate to give you the target for the strike zone. The Plaza staff employee at the game is your umpire and calls balls and strikes. There is also a radar gun available so you can see the speed of your pitches. If you suffer from control problems or you just don't trust the blind umpire, you can try your hand at "Throwing Heat". Many fans go to "Throwing Heat" to test or show off their arm strength without worrying about balls and strikes. This game seems to be very popular with the older fans.

The third pitching game in the Alley, "Power Pitcher", is a lot like "Big Hitter" except you pick the hitter you would like to pitch to. Some of the players available for this game are Sammy Sosa and Brian Jordan. Your either strikeout or walk the batter and if you have the fastest pitch of the day, you receive another, free turn.

The last interactive game in Scout's Alley is "Outta The Park". This is a popular game with smaller children. This is a batting game in which you simply swing at the image of the pitch on the screen and try to hit as many homeruns as possible. If you hit a homerun on your final pitch, you get a bonus pitch. A player can receive up to three bonus pitches.

Somewhat hidden behind the concession stands in the Plaza is the game "Peach Pitch". This game is for small children only and has a height limit. The object of the game is to toss the peaches into the baskets. No matter the result, the children are given a prize such as a tomahawk or a Braves water bottle.

In order to play any of the interactive games, one must have a Braves token. Each game requires only one token and each token is $2.00. There are token booths located both in the Plaza and Scout's Alley, along with two token machines. There are, however, two areas of activities in which a token is not needed, Tooner Field and the Coca-Cola Skyfield. In Tooner Field children can get their faces painted and have balloon animals made by clowns. They also get another chance to meet with their favorite cartoon characters and the mascots Homer and Rally. Tooner Field is an air-conditioned room, which also has a concession stand and tables so families and other fans can come in, eat and relax.

The Coca-Cola Skyfield, located on the roof in leftfield, is most recognizable by the giant Coke bottle made out of baseball equipment. Up here, fans can run the bases from home to first as many times as they like, walk through the mist machines to cool off on a hot day, or watch the game from up above leftfield.

All these games and activities are made available to Braves fans and any other visitors to Turner Field to maximize the experience at Turner Field. There is something for everyone and the fun begins from the moment you enter the gates and doesn't end until the last pitch of the game.

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