Braves a long way from childhood memories

Braves a long way from childhood memories

MCT

This upcoming baseball season is the Braves’ second to last season in Turner Field before they move to SunTrust Park in 2017. Tribune News Service

Kayla Montgomery

It’s safe to say that as a young child, I had little interest in sports. At age four, I fell asleep in the Georgia Dome while watching the Atlanta Falcons, snoozing away the last two quarters of a game that may or may not have resulted in a win. I remember traveling to Nashville to watch Alabama play in the Music City Bowl when the Crimson Tide was thumped by Minnesota back in the Shula days, but mostly I remember the city of Nashville and the bronze statues we came across somewhere in the city.

In a last ditch effort to have someone to watch sports with – I’m an only child and my mom would much rather watch HGTV – my dad took my family to Turner Field to watch the Atlanta Braves to try and convert me once and for all. We ran the bases on the top deck of the field, admired the once-signature Coke bottle that stood over the stands made of baseball bats and helmets and gloves, but more importantly, I stayed awake for the whole game and finally gained an appreciation for sports that my father had been trying to instill in me for so many years.

Turner Field will always have a special place in my heart. Countless summer nights were spent there throughout my childhood with my family and in high school, when my friends and I would pile into SUVs and make the 30 minute-drive to the Ted and rally-cap from the nosebleed seats. We cheered for Chipper Jones, joined in the Brian McCann cheers and watched Tim Hudson throw strike after strike after strike.

Spring training was always an exciting time because it meant the season was near, but as we’ve headed separate ways for college, so has the team we grew up watching. Over the winter, the Braves made nine trades and signed seven major league free agents. There was so much turnover that veterans Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman split the cost to buy shirts for all the guys in the clubhouse sporting a “My Name Is” label. Though the shirts have nicknames scribbled in the name tags, they are still a sign of just how much turnover has taken place within the organization.

The changes to the Braves don’t end there, as the upcoming season their second to last season in Turner Field before they move to SunTrust Park in 2017. While so many will take in spring training with excitement for the season, I’ll be filled with a nostalgia for a team that keeps changing, much as life has since those early years at the Ted.