Hoping for history, Braves fans pack the Battery

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Oct. 31—CUMBERLAND — Laden with lawn chairs, coolers and prayers, thousands of fans once again poured in to The Battery Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, hoping to watch the Atlanta Braves bring home a World Series championship.

After Saturday night's victory, an anxious energy — almost explosive — bounced off the walls of the Battery from the red- and blue-clad contingent. Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" blared from a bandstand and a few fans swayed to the music, warding off the cold or pre-game jitters.

Though the Braves were ultimately unable to hold the momentum of an early lead to the Houston Astros, dropping a 9-5 decision in Game 5 and sending the series back to Texas, it was still a can't-miss experience for many of those that filled every corner of the Battery.

"It is quite the scene," as Paul Range of Atlanta succinctly put it. He sat through the rain Friday night, but he came out with his family Sunday just to soak in the atmosphere before heading back home to watch.

Range is a Texas transplant from the early 2000s, but he was quick to note that "the part of Texas I'm from, we don't root for the Astros. So if we could pull this off, it'd be super sweet."

The Braves were limiting admission to the lawn outside the stadium where fans have huddled around a big screen to watch the action just yards away. The lawn was first-come, first-served, but security personnel were managing access with the area already packed by 2 p.m.

Cobb County Police Chief Tim Cox said this weekend was likely the busiest he had ever seen at the Battery. An unofficial count estimated tens of thousands were in attendance outside the stadium each of the last two nights.

"It's been very busy. (We're) constantly adjusting our traffic control plans, our crowd control plans, working with the Braves on every step and move and trying to make sure all the fans have a great experience and a wonderful time," Cox said.

Ultimately, though, the crowds grew large enough to where access to the battery was restricted to ticket-holders only, according to media reports. During the Fox broadcast, it was mentioned that an estimated crowd of 130,000 was within the footprint of the Battery, including the announced attendance of 43,122 inside the stadium.

Preparing for the crowds, the Braves had four additional big screens set up throughout the Battery complex, in addition to the primary screen in the plaza outside the Chop House Gate. Camped out in front of one of them was Trey Vineyard, a lifelong Braves fan who flew in for Saturday night's game from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

"You got 40,000 people all thinking and rooting the same thing," Vineyard said. "It's something."

"When you get the first one," he added of Cobb County native Dansby Swanson's tying home run Saturday night, "it's like — hey, this is a game. It's tied up, but you're not sure how it's going to go. And then when (Jorge) Soler goes back-to-back, you felt something different. That was special."