Braves get feel for new home in SunTrust debut

Braves get feel for new home in SunTrust debut

ATLANTA -- Throughout Spring Training, manager Brian Snitker repeatedly credited his players for finding ways to remain motivated over the entirety of a long and monotonous Grapefruit League season.

But there certainly wasn't any reason for the Braves to search for any additional motivating factors as they claimed an 8-5 win over the Yankees on Friday night in the first game played at SunTrust Park.

Yes, this was the finale of the exhibition season, but there was a regular-season feel to the environment, as Atlanta's players and fans got a feel for their new home.

"It felt weird for a second, getting loose and warming up and everything," shortstop Dansby Swanson said. "Then it was like, "OK, this is what it's supposed to be like.' It was cool to get some of the juices flowing and deal with some of that adrenaline that comes with playing the game."

Freeman breaks in new ballpark

Freddie Freeman became the first Atlanta player to homer in the new yard, hitting a three-run homer off Yankees starter Michael Pineda in the third inning.

Freeman on win, home run

The game's first pitch was thrown by Bartolo Colon, the 43-year-old right-hander who delivered three innings in the final tuneup for his 20th Major League season.

After Colon exited, R.A. Dickey had a chance to acquaint himself with the new mound. The 42-year-old knuckleballer tossed two scoreless innings and took advantage of every opportunity to get a feel for not only the mound, but the surroundings he will encounter once the regular season begins.

Colon, Dickey pitch for Braves

"I accomplished exactly what I wanted to accomplish," Dickey said. "That was just to get out there and participate and get the blood pumping and get a snapshot of the surroundings, what the catcher looked like and the lighting, so that you're not experiencing that for the first time when you step on the mound."

This exhibition provided the players a chance to ramp up for their Opening Day matchup against the Mets on Monday afternoon at Citi Field. It also provided team officials a chance to get a feel for all the kinks that need to be ironed out before the first official game at SunTrust Park is played on April 14 against the Padres.

Although the players certainly appreciated what the LED lights did for the playing surface, some complained that the lights flashed after some early strikeouts and once while the "tomahawk chop" music was playing. The main videoboard also malfunctioned in the sixth inning, and there were some other minor issues with concession lines and elevators.

But the Braves scheduled this game to gain the opportunity to learn about and make adjustments to this new stadium, which has drawn rave reviews from the players.

"They'll get that stuff worked out," Freeman said. "But this place is amazing."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.