Watch CBS News

Atlanta Braves Fans Honor Hank Aaron, Celebrate Milestones At Home Opener Game

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Hours before the Atlanta Braves Home Opener, fans filled The Battery at Truist Park, celebrating several milestones. It was the first home game without baseball legend Hank Aaron, the first game since SunTrust Park was renamed Truist Park, and this year is the Braves' 150th anniversary.

"For me, he's an inspiration to keep going and never give up," said Braves fan Sean Corona, reflecting on Aaron's legacy. Fans saw Aaron's jersey number 44 on the field and a wreath honoring his memory next to his statue. One family traveled to the game from Aaron's hometown.

"We're from Mobile, Alabama, and Hank Aaron recently passed away, so we thought it was a very special time to be able to come here and commemorate him," said Elaine Manas, who brought her son Alex. "It's my first MLB game and professional sports game," he said.

Decatur resident Emmanuel Rutledge and his wife made attending the game a part of their wedding anniversary plans. He didn't have a Braves shirt, so he paid tribute to Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. by wearing a Seattle Mariner's jersey, while celebrating Aaron's legacy. "I'm a Braves fan, but I wanted to represent somebody of his caliber to come," he said.

Along with last year's name change, the Braves organization says Truist Park also has some innovative changes. "We've been able to enhance some of the spaces in the ballpark. We've got the Infiniti Club that has been redesigned," said Greg Mize, the senior director of marketing and innovation for the Atlanta Braves. Fans can use their phones to order food from the concessions and get a text message when it's ready. "They can do it while watching the game and then, in between innings, come and pick up their food," Mize said. It's also a cashless experience to help with the Braves' COVID safety efforts, requiring fans use credit cards and apps like Apple Pay to make purchases.

"It's awesome to have fans back here in the ballpark," Mize said. The fans said they're glad to be back, too.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.