Randy Smith: A Short Run For “The Ted”

Friday, November 15, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

After a mere 16 years in existence, the days for Atlanta’s Turner Field are numbered. The Atlanta Braves announced last week they plan to move to a sparkling new facility in nearby Marietta in 2017. Even in today’s terms, 16 years is a short time for a team to become disgruntled with its home field. After all, it still looks great and is so much better than the old Fulton County Stadium was. Yet, folks in Cobb County made the Braves an offer they can’t refuse, and the team is planning to move.

I never had a problem with “The Ted” unless you count the many times I’ve complained about the high concession prices. Also I’ve complained a bit about the difficulties in getting to a game at Turner Field. The biggest problem as far as transportation is concerned is the fact that the Marta system’s closest subway stop is more than a mile away from the stadium.  For instance, if you want to take the subway to a ball game, you have to get off at the city’s famous “Underground Atlanta” area and take a bus to the ball park. That not only proves to be costly but time consuming and bothersome at best. Seeing a game in New York at Yankee Stadium is much easier. The subway has a stop a few hundred yards from the stadium, and there is a huge parking garage a few steps away from the gates. If you drive to a game in Atlanta, you have to fight the traffic; then pay a premium price for a parking place, a long way from the gates of “The Ted.”

The Braves have been to the playoffs two straight years, yet their attendance figures are only eighth best in the National League. Atlanta fans love a winner, but not enough to fight the traffic and other problems facing them in getting to the ball park. The Braves front office seems to have taken notice and in 2017 they plan to make things easier.

There is another factor involved in this decision; it seems that Turner Field is also in a “bad part of town.”  That “bad part of town” is supposedly based upon median income of families who live nearby. At Turner Field, it’s $23,000 a year, while in Marietta at the new site, it’s more than $45,000 annually. I’ve never felt unsafe going to a Braves game before - whether it was at the old Fulton County Stadium or Turner Field. However, fan safety all of a sudden seems to be a big deal.

When the Braves finally move to Cobb County, Atlanta city officials say “The Ted” will be demolished. That is sad to me because when the Braves needed a new stadium in the late 1980s, we thought a new one would never be built. Also, the only World Series the Braves have ever won while playing in the South, was in 1995, two years before moving into Turner Field.  

When they named the new stadium Turner Field after TV mogul and former Braves owner Ted Turner in 1997, I was very happy with that decision. When “The Ted” is demolished in 2017, there will be nothing notable named for the man, who is still living I might add.

The decision to move has already been made, but I have one suggestion; when you choose a name for this new baseball mecca of the South, let’s call it, Turner-Aaron Stadium. That way the two most influential baseball people ever in the city of Atlanta will be honored as they should.


rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


Baylor's Trey Freeman Qualifies For 2016 Olympic Swim Trials

For the second time at the 2015 Speedo Junior National Championships Baylor Swim Club / Baylor School athlete Trey Freeman qualified for the 2016 Olympic Team Trials. This time he got the cut in the 400 meter freestyle. His time of 3:56.92 got him fifth overall in the event swimming in the championship finals heat. In his preliminary swim of the 400 free he swam an Olympic Trials ... (click for more)

Frost Falcons 12-under Softball Team Advances To ASA Winners Bracket Final

The Frost Falcons 2020 12-under softball team scored a go-ahead run in the top of the sixth and held off a seventh inning rally to defeat the Nevada Stealth, in the ASA national tournament being played outside Sacramento, California. The 5-4 win on Saturday afternoon pushed the Chattanooga-based Falcons into the winners bracket final against the Texas Sudden Impact, at 2 p.m. ... (click for more)

Abdulazeez Apparently Went Target Shooting In River Gorge Area Prior To Rampage That Killed 5

A 24-year-old Hixson man who went on a rampage and killed five military personnel at Chattanooga apparently went target shooting in the Tennessee River Gorge area just beforehand. A Chattanoogan said he was canoeing the day before the shooting and heard Mohammad Abdulazeez shooting in the woods in a remote area. The man, who said he thought he was being shot at, looked ... (click for more)

Columnist Says Navy To Bring Charges Against Commander Of Chattanooga Naval Center Who Fired At Shooter

The Navy plans to bring charges against Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, who fired shots at a Hixson man who on July 16 rammed through a gate at the facility on Amnicola Highway and killed four Marines and a sailor, columnist Allen West wrote. He said he received a text message confirming the charges are imminent against the Chattanoogan, who is the father of six and who has acknowledged ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Is A Blessed Community

I am an American by birth and a Chattanoogan by the Grace of God. (A phrase I borrowed from the late Lewis Grizzard and modified) I grew up in Chattanooga / East Ridge – Anna B. Lacey Elementary, Dalewood Junior High, Brainerd High, degree UTC.  My family lived in Chattanooga until March of this year but I’m still up every month visiting friends.   I have been following ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Fight For Lieutenant Commander White

The United States Navy has run a tight ship since it was founded in October of 1776. You’ll recall that was when Capt. John Paul Jones began to forge the steel with the words, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Some years later Adm. David Farragut etched himself into Navy lore when he cried, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lt. Howell Forgy ... (click for more)