MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – In the first 30 years of Braves baseball in Atlanta, the team played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
It was one of the old round stadiums that was made for baseball and football. The stadium was sometimes called Atlanta Stadium, sometimes called Fulton County, was looked at as a band box. Home runs flew out of Atlanta Stadium to where it was nicknamed ‘The Launching Pad.’ The Braves thought they had to win with sluggers, like Dale Murphy and Bob Horner, or they’d have no chance.
Well, even though it’s a small sample size, perhaps we need to rename SunTrust Park as “The Re-Launching Pad.”
Through the first nine games at SunTrust Park, there have been 23 home runs – 9 by the Braves and 14 by opponents. The Braves have hit home runs in seven of the nine games, and in the two games they did not hit a home run, they lost. Nine home runs in nine games is a lot, especially considering the Braves hit only 52 home runs in Turner Field last season.
The scary thing is it hasn’t even gotten hot yet. Just wait until then. That ball will be flying out of “The Re-Launching Pad.” Some wonder if the openings at first and third base could circulate the wind different at the new park. Maybe it’s the direction of home plate. Turner Field’s home plate was pointed toward the north, northeast. While SunTrust Park is pointed toward the south.
Regardless, if this continues, the Braves may have to make changes along the way. They may want to get another power hitter. They’ve already got Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp, but what about a third one to hit some bombs? Maybe the Braves will not want a player like Ozzie Albies in the lineup, and instead trade Albies for a power hitter.
This will also mean the Braves need to target pitchers who do not give up many home runs. Plus, the bullpen better be good. Think about Tuesday’s game. The Braves were up 9-3 in the ninth inning. Matt Wisler came up and gave up a grand slam to make it a two-run game. A big lead became scary really quickly.
So, if you like home runs, you might like SunTrust Park. The days of Turner Field being what they call a fair park are over. We’re back to having home runs hit and hit often in Atlanta. The Launching Pad is back, but we’ll call it the Re-Launching Pad.