Ah-h-h-h, a voice from the public!
For all these years since the Olympic Games in Barcelona, I have been harping on a subject dear to my heart — and it should be dear to yours, if indeed, you are any kind of a Braves fan.
The setting of Barcelona had nothing to do with it. That just happened to be the place at which some of us news types were visiting with Billy Payne, in anticipation of the Games coming to Atlanta in 1996.
I said, precociously, "There will be a MARTA station at the stadium, of course," I said.
Billy said no. I was shocked. How do you have the Olympic Games in Atlanta and not have Marta access at the stadium — then known only as Olympic. (The Turner name would be applied only when the Braves made it their home.)
"How the hell can that be?" I said, rather coarsely. "Have the Olympic Games in town, but no access to the major event site, no public rail access? Unfathomable," I burped.
Billy Payne replied: "The Braves don't want it. They want access to parking income when it becomes their facility."
That's when I suggested that the old stadium site be their parking facility. Build a parking deck five or six-story high and park the fans' cars there. "Besides," I raged on, "that should be the privilege of the Atlanta baseball fans" ... and on and on I raged.
All these seasons have passed, but no Marta station at Turner Field ... but, just the other day, the Journal-Constitution published a letter from a lady named Mary Lou Brooks. Ms. Brooks wrote:
"Those of us who ride Marta and shuttle to the baseball games are thrilled" ... about what, I'm not sure, but she continued:
"I also read of the wishes to extend some rail lines. What I didn't see was a proposal for a spur line to Turner Field. This would eliminate the shuttle problem, take more cars off the roads and get fans and workers to the stadium in a timely fashion."
Bravo, bravo and bravo, Mary Lou. Now let's see if anybody with any common sense, and in authority may take up the ball and run with it! It's not just about time, it's about l5 years or so behind time.
Let's go, Braves! Let's go Marta! It's late, but it'll never be too late — and there, I've said it again. If nothing else, get in touch with Liberty Media, and tell them I sent you!
(Oh, you didn't know? Liberty Media owns the Braves.)
Furman Bisher is one of the deans of American sports writing. The longtime Atlanta sports journalist is a member of the Georgia and Atlanta Sports Halls of Fame and in addition to his newspaper writing has authored multiple books. He writes periodic columns for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald.