Originally created 07/11/97

Food-for-all: Fans can now bring snacks to Braves games



ATLANTA (AP) - Baseball fans have braved the food ban long enough at Turner Field.

Take the turkey leg out of the trousers.

Proclaim the right to eat peanut butter and jelly during a Greg Maddux pitching frenzy.

The Atlanta Braves announced Thursday, without further ado, that the ban on bringing food into the stadium has been lifted. The new policy is BYOB - Bring your own bites.

"Did Ted not like the food or something?" asked fan George Perkins, as he led George Perkins Jr. by the hand into the stadium named for media mogul Ted Turner.

"Starting with tonight's game, we will allow food to be brought in from the outside," said Stan Kasten, Braves president. "This will work just fine for the club and it should work fine for a lot of our customers."

Fans can pack their own food and snacks, but canned and bottled drinks are still not allowed. And don't even think of bringing any alcohol.

The team's no-food policy went into effect when Turner Field opened in March. The team stopped the free-for-all as a way to raise concession revenue.

Not since Prohibition has a ban been so brutally rebuffed. Hungry - and broke - fans dared to sneak in their own snacks from smuggling Snickers in their pockets to hiding turkey legs in their pants.

Atlanta talk radio host Ian Punnett last month urged fans to make sneak-a-snack an Atlanta pastime, and with his trench-coat pockets stuffed with Milky Ways, he handed out candy bars in front of the stadium.

Even boss man Turner scoffed at the price of a soft drink and said he might dine before he stepped foot in his namesake stadium.

Fueling the food fight were reports of over-zealous food police snatching sugar-free snacks from diabetics and baby formula from new moms.

Kasten said he felt the prices at Turner Field were fair.

"It was a deep one among the people who did have a problem with it," Kasten said about the policy. "People who were concerned about it really had a real concern. The easiest thing to do was to go back and change the policy."

And the team is sweetening the menu it already has. Added is a fresh fruit stand, offering apples, peaches and bananas for a buck each. The stadium also is serving up frozen alcoholic drinks in their plaza.

Fans said they were thrilled by the change of heart, but said for Thursday night's game, at least, the news was too late.

"If I had known that, I would have brought my barbecue," said Doug Scott of Butler, Ala., who brought 21 relatives with him to Thursday night's matchup against the New York Mets.

Christy Stone of Athens said her personal food policy would not change: "Eat before ya come."