NBC News

Interstate collapse complicates Braves’ stadium debut

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ATLANTA (AP) The collapse of a section of an interstate in Atlanta has heightened traffic concerns for the Braves’ first game at new SunTrust Park.

The Braves are encouraging fans to adjust their plans to attend Friday night’s exhibition against the New York Yankees. Only season-ticket holders are invited, but now the path to the stadium for those estimated 20,000 fans has become more challenging.

The stadium is located near the interchange of I-75 and I-285 in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The section of interstate collapsed Thursday because of a fire on I-85. Traffic will be directed from that major road to other interstates, including those flanking the stadium.

The stadium seats 41,000. But even with a smaller crowd, the Braves already were expecting traffic congestion Friday, with fans traveling to the park for the first time and finding their way to parking lots. With both sides of I-85 closed as repairs began, traffic worries are now even greater in a city well accustomed to such problems.

The Braves urged fans to be aware of changes before leaving for the game.

“Traffic patterns in Atlanta will be adjusted for everyone, so please listen to local authorities as they direct you around the metro area,” the team said in a statement. “Also, we encourage all fans to purchase their parking before they leave today.”

The Braves’ first regular-season home game is April 14 against the San Diego Padres. They open the regular season Monday at the New York Mets.

Braves senior advisor John Hart Resigns

Associated Press
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Braves senior advisor John Hart announced his resignation today.

Hart, who was once the team’s GM, then returned to the role on an interim basis following the dismissal of John Coppolella in the wake of MLB’s investigation into the team’s practices in Latin America. With the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as the team’s new General Manager, Hart was shuttled into a senior advisor role with no final say over baseball decisions. It was expected that he’d leave the organization once his contract was up at the end of the year, but he decided to quit now.

One wonders if he was merely getting on with the inevitable or if his early resignation is a sign that the results of MLB’s investigation will be such that he doesn’t want to be around when they come down.