Dan Naden

Dear Turner Field: Turn off the front row TV

Fall’s whispers were present that night. Summer’s heat was fading, ushering in a welcome crisp, chill to the air. It was the type of night meant for apple cider and a game of September baseball.

Atlanta residents had gathered under the fading sunlight to watch their beloved Braves and serenade the soon-to-be-retired, Chipper Jones, a throwback player who spent his entire career leaving it ‘all on the field’ at third base for one team. They don’t make baseball players like Chipper anymore.

Technology has invaded America’s pastime in the strangest places.

As I nestled into my nosebleed seat at the surprisingly empty Turner Field (Hey Atlanta: this is a playoff team!), I observed the many pregame rituals: managers meeting at home plate to go over their lineup cards, agile infielders performing some final stretches, pitcher and catcher synchronizing signals.

The high-dollar seats closest to the field were starting to get company. Then, I saw something so unreal that I had to look twice.

The area immediately in front of the 1st row seats at Turner Field was outlined with high-definition, big screen television sets.

Strange.

Call me old fashioned, but don’t people go to see a game live so they don’t need to watch it on TV?

Sure, it could be helpful to watch a replay on the screen after a close call at the plate. Can we just wait a few hours and see the replay from every angle on SportsCenter?

Not sure if these TVs are watched consistently, or if they were installed based on customer complaints: “If I buy a front row seat, I demand my big screen TV!!”

Inquiring minds want to know: was this ‘feature’ tested on small scale with one TV along the first base line to gauge reaction and save costs? Or did Turner Field introduce the television brigade in one push?

Or was it a stimulating ‘feature’ added to entice ticket holders to watch the game in style from the front row? Have we gone off the deep end with the high-end add-ons?

It’s one thing to catch a replay while waiting in line at the concession stand for a hot dog, but now we’ve gone too far.

Go ahead, call me a purist: I think it’s wrong to ruin the unique, unforgettable night at the old ballpark with televisions in our front row.

I think I’ll stay in the nosebleed section, where the picture is crystal clear without television.

Now that’s the rest of the story.

Until next time,
Dan Naden

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