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Sneak peek at Ballpark Of The Palm Beaches


It has been almost three full years from the time Jim Crane, owner of the Houston Astros, and Mark Lerner, principal owner of the Washington Nationals, met at the request of Palm Beach County, Florida to work together to build a new two-team spring training facility in South Florida.

Since then, Giles Kibbe, the Astros’ General Counsel, and Arthur Fuccillo, Executive Vice President of Lerner Enterprises, have worked tirelessly to make the facility a reality for the fans of the teams and Palm Beach County itself.

Fuccillo, who acted as my host for a tour of the complex, has been at Lerner for over thirty-five years. As such, he has been involved in all facets of legal work, the development of regional malls, major shopping centers, apartment complexes, hotels, the present day Nationals Park and significant other commercial developments.

However, since the Lerner family owns the Washington Nationals (and Fuccillo is a minority owner himself), he is asked from time to time to use his construction/development and legal experience to help in the business dealings of the baseball club.  So it was only natural that he was asked to become involved in the zoning, negotiation and construction of the team’s new spring-training complex.

And he is quick to point out that, “as they say, we’re on time and on budget.”  That budget, he said, is exactly $148,577,137.

And the timeline is in good hands. “Hunt Construction Group is working around the clock to get us open. They have over 650 people on site,” he added. “We cannot thank our consultants enough for all their hard work and time they have put into this project.  We look forward to being here with the Houston Astros and having successful spring training seasons for the next 30 years.”

The parcel of land for this complex measures approximately 160 acres.  When you subtract areas for parking, the three lakes within its borders and a ten-acre community park that will be built along its western edge, you’re left with less than 100 acres for the actual practice facilities and stadium.  That made it critical to be efficient with the use of land.

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Ballpark Year In Pictures


2016 was quite a year for ballpark news.  A new park, a delayed park, even a pop-up park!

Each year, we provide a look back at the biggest events in the world of baseball stadiums. Besides, during the dark days of the offseason, you need to re-engage the part of your brain that processes the National Pastime!

Check out the Ballpark Year In Pictures for 2016!

New edition of poster now available


Just in time for Holiday gift-giving, the popular TOURING THE MAJORS poster has been updated and is now in stock!

Thousands of  baseball fans have purchased previous editions of this colorful poster, and now you have the opportunity to obtain the fully updated version, complete with the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium that opens in April, 2017.

Simply go to our page that describes the poster and place your order today!  If you’d like for it to be autographed by author Joe Mock (the publisher of the Touring The Majors poster), just say so in the comments field when you’re placing your order.

What better gift could you give the baseball fan in your life!?!

Tale of the tape


Every year since 2003, we’ve provided a public service: a comparison of the two ballparks in that year’s World Series. This year something interesting is happening. We have two parks that have never appeared in our side-by-side comparison before. In fact, if we’d been doing a chart like this every autumn for the past seven decades, one of these parks would never have appeared.

Hard to imagine. But true.

Check out our comparison by clicking here. Then add a comment at the bottom of that page to tell us what you think.

Sneak peek at SunTrust Park


While in Atlanta for the final two baseball games at Turner Field (see our photo essay on it here), the Braves graciously agreed to take me on a tour of the construction site for SunTrust Park, which will become their home in 2017. This article and the accompanying photos lets you know what I saw and learned.

Leading the tour was Derek Schiller, President of the Braves’ business operations. Also along was Beth Marshall, Senior Director of Public Relations. The insight provided by the two of them was simply outstanding,  because you need to understand the reasons behind the team’s desire for a new facility to appreciate its location and why it was designed the way it was.

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In case you’re not familiar with the new park’s location, it’s a dandy. It’s quite close to the interchange of two of the area’s major highways, I-75 and I-285, in Cobb County, about ten miles north of Atlanta’s downtown.

Prior to the Braves’ acquisition of the parcels of land to make this project possible, this was an oblong piece of largely undeveloped land bounded by Windy Ridge Parkway on the north and Circle 75 Parkway on the east and south. Even though it’s very much in the center of an enormous amount of traffic, it hadn’t been developed partly because major pipelines ran beneath the property. On the south side of Circle 75, though, were several office buildings.  The Braves set up a “Preview Center” in one of them. The photo above looks across Circle 75 from the front of that office building.  Three years ago, this same scene showed thick trees and a pond.

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Turning the page on Turner Field – Part 4


In the first three installments of this series on Turner Field, we provided insights from a Braves exec, a fan since the team moved to Atlanta and the team’s face of the franchise during its years at the ballpark. To wrap up this series, here is the article I wrote for USA TODAY Sports Weekly (which is why I conducted those three interviews).  The piece appeared in their September 28, 2016 edition under the headline “Braves had Super Run at Stadium.”  Many thanks to the editorial staff for allowing me to reproduce it for you here.

By the way, after the article was published, an astute reader contacted Sports Weekly and suggested that the Top Ten list was missing an important event:  the unveiling of the All Century Team at the 1999 MLB All Star Game at Turner Field. I think he’s right.

 

ATLANTA    When the Braves host the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, October 2, it will mark the end of an era.  Turner Field, the scene of a tremendous amount of history in its short two decades, will see its final baseball game. That’s because in 2017, the Braves will move into SunTrust Park, currently under construction ten miles to the north in Cobb County.

As fans prepare to say goodbye to the ballpark, let’s examine how it came to be, what magical moments have occurred on its playing field, and what will become of it when the Braves are gone.

ANYTHING BUT HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

When Atlanta secured the rights to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, organizers realized there was no local venue capable of hosting the marquee track-and-field events plus the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Read More

About the Author

Joe Mock

I surprised myself recently when I determined that I had visited 349 different parks where Major or affiliated Minor League teams are either current or former tenants. That's a lot of pro-baseball stadiums. Read More ❭❭