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Farewell Turner Field

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It's fading away. 

The yellow paint on the foul poles desperately need another coat. The outfield wall looks worn and dirty. Outside on the jumbo-tron, the image of a giant baseball is peeling off.

755 Hank Aaron Drive just isn't what it used to be, but it is still the home to the Atlanta Braves, at least for one more weekend.

The Braves play the Detroit Tigers for the final home series at Turner Field before the team leaves for its new stadium, SunTrust Park, in Cobb County. The final game is Sunday at 3 p.m. 

The necessary renovations were stacking up, and Braves officials acknowledged that. They could pay $150 million to fix everything, or they could invest in a new ballpark. They chose the latter.

Come the final swing of a bat on Sunday, the home crowd will cheer regardless of whether its a win or loss as a thank you to the 20-year-old stadium that the Braves moved into in 1997.

Fans will soon after file out, but a few will likely linger just a moment longer than they usually do after a game, scanning the stadium that hosted some of the more memorable moments in baseball history.

The Atlanta Braves moved into Turner Field in 1997, right across the street from the sight of their previous home, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Turner Field was designed by prominent Atlanta architect George T. Heery, whose designs are behind many of the city's buildings making up the skyline.

The stadium was retrofitted after serving as the Olympic Stadium of the 1996 Summer Olympic games. While the stadium was under construction, the Atlanta Committee of Olympic Games agreed to allow the Braves to be the tenants of the $207 million stadium.

Following the Olympics, nearly half of the bleachers were removed from the stadium's outfield to create an open feeling, aligning with the style of ballparks around the country at that time.

Turner Field was named after media mogul Ted Turner, who was the owner of the team at the time.

Over the years, features were added to the stadium that would become a regular attraction to fans, such as Scouts Alley where fans could play baseball-themed games. The Coca-Cola Skyfield, which allowed fans to observe the game from a birds-eye view, and with a simple turn of the head, enjoy the city's glittering skyline.

Outside the gates is a statue of the former home run king, Hank Aaron, which the city and team fought over who would keep after the Braves announced they were moving. The city won, and it's staying put.

The Braves also built the largest high-definition video board in 2005, known as Braves Vision, that stood at 80 feet by 72 feet. It was the largest at the time.

Later in its history, the Braves decided to more prominently display retired baseball jersey numbers with names on the upper pavilions, boasting its winning legacy. While most of the numbers displayed at Turner Field bring to mind an older generation of names who played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, some are recognizable to baseball's youth.

One probably no more recognizable than the manager who was there at the team's first game at The Ted 19 years ago, Bobby Cox.

The team's first game at Turner Field was April 4, 1997 against the Chicago Cubs.

More than 50,000 were on hand to witness and experience the team's new home.

Chipper Jones was the first to get a hit at Turner Field. He was also the first to steal a base. Michael Tucker hit the first home run in the 49,586-seat ballpark. Brad Clontz was the first pitcher to get a win, and Mark Wohlers the first to get a save. 

The Braves won 5-4. They would go on to win their next four games at home.

There were plenty of memories at Turner Field over the 19 years intermingled with sudden bursts of the tomahawk chop.

Turner Field would host the World Series in 1999 as the Braves took on the New York Yankees. Unfortunately, it never saw any wins in the Fall Classic.

But fans still saw plenty of October baseball as the Braves extended their streak of consecutive NL East titles to 14 up through 2005. The streak began at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1991, but nine of the titles were won at Turner Field.

However, that streak ended. The wildcard game was introduced, and the Braves played the St. Louis Cardinals in a game that made the infield fly rule the most talked about rule in baseball. The fans threw trash onto the field, showing their displeasure with the umpires' call that ultimately secured the Braves elimination from the postseason. It wasn't the best moment for The Ted, especially since it marked Chipper Jones' final game. But it proved one thing:

Atlanta fans have passion.

Some players started their career in inspiring fashion at Turner Field, like the local kid Jason Heyward who hit his first career home run at his first at bat on Opening Day in 2005.

Others said farewell there, such as longtime manager Bobby Cox. His final game came at the hands of a playoff loss to the San Francisco Giants in 2010. He waved goodbye to the sell-out crowd at Turner Field, and the Giants players even paused their celebration to applaud the legend.

There are countless memories at Turner Field. Memories of joy and sadness, hope and frustration, nostalgia and love.

The very intangibles that make up a place called home.

Turner Field won't be demolished. 

It will be sold to Georgia State University, and it will once again be retrofitted into a football stadium. It will be home to the Panthers, not the Braves.

It will help create new memories, while the ghosts of old ones linger.

It's nice to know The Ted is not going away completely. Regardless, it has produced a myriad of memories that no reconstruction or even demolition could ever destroy.

Jones couldn't have said it any better in a farewell video to Turner Field made by the Atlanta Braves.

"This isn't goodbye. It's see you later."

Visit the original story from our NBC partner at 11Alive.com

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