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Florida Grapefruit League - Florida Spring Training - Atlanta Braves: Discount Orlando Resorts

Atlanta Braves are a professional baseball club based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. From 1997 to the present, the Braves have played in Turner Field.

The "Braves" name, which was first used in 1912, originates from a term for a Native American warrior. They are nicknamed "the Bravos", and often self-styled as "America's Team" in reference to the team's games being broadcast on the nationally available TBS until the 2008 season, gaining a wide fan base.

From 1991–2005 the Braves were one of the most successful franchises in baseball, winning division titles an unprecedented 14 consecutive times in that period (omitting the strike-shortened 1994 season in which there were no official division champions). The Braves won the NL West 1991-93 and the NL East 1995-2005, and returned to the playoffs as the National League Wild Card in 2010. The Braves advanced to the World Series five times in the 1990s, winning the title in 1995. Since their debut in the National League in 1876, the franchise has won 16 divisional titles, 9 National League pennants, as well as three World Series championships in 1914 as the Boston Braves, in 1957 as the Milwaukee Braves, and in 1995 in Atlanta. The Braves are the only MLB franchise to have won the World Series in three different home cities. The National Football League's St. Louis Rams are the only other major sports franchise to do this.

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Atlanta Braves Florida Spring Training CHAMPION STADIUM
Capacity 9,500
Year Opened 1997
Dimensions 335L, 385LC, 400C, 385RC, 335R
Surface Grass
Local Airport Orlando
Tickets on Sale To be announced.
Address 700 S. Victory Lane, Lake Buena Vista, Disney World.
Directions Lake Buena Vista is located in the southwest corner of Orlando. Take I-4 to Hwy. 192 West and follow signs to Magic Kingdom/Wide World of Sports, right onto Victory Way. (Directions at Disney World are clear and plentiful. Follow the signs to Wide World of Sports.)

Champion Stadium (formerly known as Disney Field, Cracker Jack Stadium, Disney's Wide World of Sports and The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports) is architecturally one of the flashier venues for spring training. It's also one of the largest: with 9,500 seats (80 percent between the first and third bases); only the largest Arizona stadiums can complete in terms of sheer size.

Atlanta Braves Champions Stadium
The stadium sits within a larger sports complex in the southwestern corner of Disney World; next door, there's the Milk House (an indoor arena used for AAU events), and close by there are tennis courts, a track-and-field complex, youth and adult baseball and softball fields, and other various athletic fields. Between baseball seasons and when the Rays are out of town the stadium and the complex is used frequently for a variety of AAU and NAIA college events.

There is a very agreeable spaciousness to the stadium, despite almost all the seating being concentrated in the two-deck grandstand. The lower level features two concourses -- a small one at the back of the grandstand and a much larger one within the grandstand -- while the upper level features a large concourse within the grandstand, four luxury boxes and two open-air suites. The wider concourses makes for some pleasant milling around during the game, and there's an expanded area outside of the grandstand that can accommodate groups.

Having most of the seats crammed into grandstand does have its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, we were sitting in the last row of the second deck (an open-air luxury suite was right behind us), but the view of the field was excellent. But these views came at a price: we were definitely crammed into narrower seats and there was very little leg room between rows. We saw a night game, but it didn't look like the stadium afforded very much relief from the hot Florida sun: the second deck doesn't cover much of the first deck, while there's no roof at all shading the second deck. Also, there were no beverage holders attached to seats, so you pretty much have to hold onto your beverages in fear of someone kicking them over.

The design is in a Florida Spanish Mission design (you'll find similar design motifs scatted throughout the state), with some Art Deco touches, such as the large left-field scoreboard. The scoreboard was a disappointment, as you can tell by the picture on the left: huge parts of it were covered up, probably because the sponsors underneath the coverings had signed up as Orlando Rays sponsors and not as sponsors for spring training. The scoreboard is equipped with fireworks, some of which are fired after the singing of the National Anthem. (One would also assume that some sort of fireworks go off when the home team hits a home run, but I couldn't tell you -- the Braves were shellacked 22-0 by the Cleveland Indians the night we visited then-Cracker Jack Stadium.)

If you find the grandstand seating too confining -- which you probably will, especially if you're there with a family -- get to the game early and score some of the berm seating down the left-field line and across the outfield to the scoreboard. Except for a bare-earth walking area in the back, the berm slopes down toward the playing field. It had rained the entire day before we visited what was then known as Cracker Jack Stadium, but the berm didn't appear to be worse for wear: there was no mud anywhere, and the grass appeared to be in excellent shape (surprising, since we visited quite late in spring-training season). If you do plan on sitting on the berm, don't bother bringing a lawn chair, as the ground has too much of an angle for a chair. Instead, bring a large blanket and plop down in left-center field.

Spring Training History

The Atlanta Braves have trained at the following sites since the team's entry in the National League as the Boston Beaneaters: Norfolk, Va. (1901); Thomasville, Ga. (1902-1904, 1907); Charleston, S.C. (1905); Jacksonville (1906); Augusta, Ga. (1908-1912); Athens, Ga. (1913); Macon, Ga. (1914-1915); Miami (1916-1918), Columbus, Ga. (1919-1920); Galveston, Texas (1921); St. Petersburg (1922-1937); Bradenton (1938-1940, 1948-1962); San Antonio (1941); Sanford, Fla. (1942); Wallingford, Ct. (1943-1944); Washington, D.C. (1945); Fort Lauderdale (1946-1947); West Palm Beach (1963-1997); Orlando (1998-present).

Ballpark History

The Atlanta Braves move their spring-training games to what was then known as Disney's Wide World of Sports in March 1997, shortly after the stadium opened.

The Orlando Rays (Class AA; Southern League) played at Champion Stadium between 2000 and 2003.

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