The Atlanta Braves play their first game in their new home, SunTrust Park, on Friday night as they host the San Diego Padres. It almost seems like yesterday that the Braves were moving from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, one of those multipurpose monstrosities that were built in the 1960s, to Turner Field, a baseball-only park that was converted from its original design as the main stadium for the 1996 Olympics. But that was 20 years ago, and in a multibillion dollar industry, stadiums don't have the same life span as the Colosseum that Roman gladiators fought in two millennia ago.
With the opening of a new ballpark, one of the first questions people ask is: "How will the park play?" While all sports feature home-field advantages in their stadiums and some have environmental differences (see field goal kicking and altitude), baseball is fairly unusual in that the dimensions of the field aren't consistent beyond the very basic construct of the diamond. With no standardized dimensions for the playing field outside of some very basic rules (commissioner Rob Manfred's office will come down on you like the hammer of Thor if you try to make a right-field fence that's 200 feet away from home), baseball parks can vary quite widely in their dimensions as a result and play much differently from each other -- above and beyond any basic distinctions due to altitude or climate.
So how does SunTrust Park look?