Braves open 2016 season for the last time at Turner Field

- Monday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves took to the field for the final Opening Day at Turner Field after 19 years of calling "The Ted" home. 

The Bravos took on the Washington Nationals. 

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The team will move to the brand new SunTrust Park in Cobb County next season. 

 

 

Turner Field has been a special place for the Braves and their fans. The field has hosted a World Series, an All-Star game and numerous playoff appearances. Chipper Jones had the first hit and stolen base during The Ted's first opener 19 years ago. Back then he gave FOX 5 a tour of the then state of the art facility. 

 



 

Since 2009, Matthew Kaminski has entertained the crowds, serving as the Braves' official organist. He said there's something about hearing the music that lets everyone know it's time to play ball. 

 

 

For their final season in the city of Atlanta, first baseman Freddie Freeman and Teheran are the only notable players left from the 2013 team that won 96 games and the division.

 

 

For all the talk of such prospects as infielders Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies, pitchers Sean Newcomb and Aaron Blair and outfielder Mallex Smith, the Braves' roster includes 14 players who are 30 or older, many serving as bridges to the future.

 

 

The Braves added veterans Jeff Francoeur and Drew Stubbs to the outfield and left-hander Eric O'Flaherty to the bullpen.

 

 

John Schuerholz, who as general manager helped build the Braves teams that won 14 straight division titles and the 1995 World Series championship, announced last week he is moving from team president to an advisory role as vice chairman. Schuerholz, 75, says he is looking forward to the Braves again becoming contenders — but he recognizes that will take time.

 

 

Teheran, only 25, will make his third straight opening day start. He beat Miami in last season's opener, but the Braves finished fourth in the division with only 67 wins.

"I think this year is going to be different," Teheran said. "I want to get a win. That's the way we want to start the year. ... I don't want to put any extra pressure on myself, just try to control what I can control and do what I can to win the game."

 

 

Many at the ballpark saw Monday's home opener as bittersweet.

Danny Philpot was at Turner Field on opening day in 1997. He came back for the last home opener at Turner Field Monday. He says he's going to miss it.

“This is where we had Glavin, Smoltz, Maddox. This is where we had Bobby Cox. There's a lot that won't be the same, but we'll always have it in our memories,” says Philpot.

Marion Parks has lived near the stadium his entire life. “It's sad to see it go. I was here when Hank Aaron hit 715, this has been a part of my community,” says Parks.

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For Larry Miller, the Braves move north will change his life. He's been selling Braves shirts and hats on the sidewalk since the old Fulton County stadium was in place. He says he'll have to give it up next year.

“This is the last big hurrah for me. I've been an outside vendor on public property for 30 years, there's no outside vending in Cobb County,” says Miller.

 

 

Braves fan John Mello bought a piece of Turner Field history. He walked out of the stadium carrying an on deck circle from opening day 2002. Mello says Turner Field has a lot of history and he's sad to see it go.

Mello says “It's sad to think this is the last season, but we're going to try to get to as many games as we can this year and enjoy it while we have it.”

 

 

In the end, Major League Baseball's new "Chase Utley Rule" has cost the Atlanta Braves a baserunner in their opening game against the Washington Nationals. The Braves went on to lose 4-3 to the Nationals.

The teams will be off on Tuesday. Washington's Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to face Atlanta's Bud Norris on Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

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