U.S. Navy fighter jets fly over SunTrust Park during the national anthem before a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres in Atlanta, Friday, April 14, 2017. This isn't just another opening day in Atlanta. The Braves are playing their first regular-season game in SunTrust Park, the new stadium that replaced Turner Field. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The walk toward SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves that technically is not in Atlanta, is filled with head-turning moments.

There is the busy, 10-lane street that is U.S. 41, the same road that stretches from Atlanta to Dalton and beyond.

There is the large number of pedestrians braving that 10-lane road because parking spaces are so valued they are measured in carats — like diamonds more than vegetables.

There is the overflow of condominiums and living spaces that stretch vertically over the course known as The Battery Atlanta, which makes you smile and wonder how much money you'd have needed to live there in your mid-20s.

some text
Jay Greeson

There is a mass of humanity, this crowd convening at the park on Friday for a Billy Joel concert that was close to the 41,149 that is the announced capacity for a Braves game.

And there was the rub.

The crowd was energetic and engaged — the Mrs. and me included.

But with only four of The Battery restaurants open for business, even those of us who got there a few hours early were left standing on the concourse. Three-hour waits for dinner were universal.

Will that change when The Battery is completely up and operational? Certainly.

But now, as the growing pains continue to be painful, the transition is tough.

"Each new homestand we have more and more things open," Braves VP of marketing Adam Zimmerman said Monday on "Press Row" on ESPN 105.1 The Zone. "It's a process, and we're learning more. We'll be better for Metallica (coming May 10), and we've already had other acts approach us."

That makes sense. Complaints are always more plentiful than compliments. Trust me. I work for a newspaper.

Still there was frustration; there were a lot of folks wondering about the logistical troubles while standing in such an aesthetically pleasing venue.

"They are not ready," said Hank, a guy from nearby Gwinnett County who waited 45 minutes behind me in the line to get ballpark food before the show.

"At least I got a parking space," said Mike, who came from Cartersville, Ga., to see Billy Joel play.

Those, for the most part, are growing pains. The park and The Battery are still works in progress. It will take time to work out the kinks, and that is understandable.

But know this: SunTrust Park is eye-popping.

There's a waterfall on the concourse in a place that highlights the best Braves of all-time. There are specialty food options everywhere, including a legit Chick-fil-A stand, which we can only assume is not open for Sunday games. There are interactive facilities throughout the park.

And during the show — which was excellent — I couldn't help but look around and think, "This would be a great place to watch a ball game."

The park is a gem that will rank among the best in baseball and outdoor venues sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, it's a place we can't wait until it is truly ready.

And until then, though, we will be forced to wait.

Contact Jay Greeson at and 423-757-6343.