The Rome Braves are the Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The team has a great record of preparing future big leaguers as Jeff Francoeur, Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, and Martin Prado all began their careers in Rome, after being drafted by the Braves. The club has won two South Atlantic League titles since moving to Rome in 2003. They were also honored as the Minor League Organization of the Year at the conclusion of the 2016 season.
State Mutual Stadium is the only home the Rome Braves have ever known. The stadium opened in 2003 and has a seating capacity of 5,105, with room for even more fans on the grassy berms behind the outfield fences. The dimensions of the field are 335’ to left field, 330’ feet to right and 401’ to straightaway center.
The stadium features several amenities not often found at the Class A level. There are 14 luxury boxes, which can hold up to 20 people each. State Mutual also has two sit down restaurants; The Three Rivers Club (Rome is home to the Coosa, Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers) and Bubba’s BBQ Barn. The Three Rivers Club is located directly behind home plate and features a picture window looking out on the field of play. Bubba’s is located just behind the bleachers along the first base line.
The latest amenity to be added is a 16’ high and 40’ wide HD videoboard installed just prior to the 2017 season.
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The Braves will definitely not allow you to go hungry as they have a number of concession stands (Sliders, Grand Slam Café, and Fastball Flatbreads) located at key areas throughout the park. These stands tend to serve the typical baseball fare such as hot dogs ($3.50), hamburgers ($5), nachos ($5), popcorn ($6 ), and chips ($2). Sodas cost $6, and bottled water is $3. The Three Rivers menu includes chicken tenders ($6), salads ($4), and sandwiches ($5), while Bubba's BBQ serves up a BBQ Plate for $9, BBQ nachos for $7, and a BBQ sundae for $9.
Alcoholic beverages sell for $5 for a 16 ounce can of domestic beer or $6 for a craft beer and are sold in either the Three Rivers Club, or out of the nautically themed Miller Lite Marina along the third base line.
Unlike most major league teams, the Atlanta Braves are the owners of the minor league teams and all teams in the farm system carry the Braves name, uniforms and color scheme. The stadiums feature brick and green steel exteriors and similar layouts of seats. The Rome Braves do "localize" their logo as it features a baseball wearing a Roman Centurion helmet instead of a baseball cap.
The local populace is very supportive of the team and plays a large role in the team's success both on and off the field. The Braves represent the only professional team in the city, which is not surprising considering Rome's small population of 35,000. On average 2,800 fans are at the field for a given game. The city and its taxpayers paid for the construction of the stadium through a special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST), and the fans want to make sure the franchise stays in Rome for many years to come.
There is an old saying that "all roads lead to Rome." In State Mutual Stadium's case you will need a variety of roads to reach the park. Rome is 60 miles northwest of Atlanta, with thirty of those miles occurring after you leave I-75. The turns are well marked, so you should not get lost.
One thing to be aware of as you draw closer to Rome is that the stadium is not located within the town of Rome. Just as you close in on Rome, you turn right for 10 miles on a road known as the Rome Bypass, Highway 1, or the Loop Road. Trust us, stay on this bypass road and it will take you directly to State Mutual Stadium, which will be on your right.
There is not much neighborhood to speak of in the immediate area of the stadium. It sits in the floodplain of the Coosa River (another reason for the outfield berms ).
Two restaurants are located in the immediate vicinity of the park. Bella Roma is located in the parking lot fronting the stadium and serves delicious Italian dishes at very reasonable prices. Across the street from State Mutual Stadium is a Fuddruckers hamburger franchise. Hotels are mostly located in the downtown Rome area, which is only 5 miles away. Hotel options include Days Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Country Inn and Suites.
Baseball has a long history in the Rome area going back to the era when mills sponsored teams for their workers. The local high schools are hotbeds for baseball talent and the local colleges have solid baseball programs as well. Baseball fans in the Rome area are very knowledgeable about the game and are proud that the Rome team has sent so many players on to the big leagues. The local population showed its support for bringing professional baseball to the area by overwhelmingly passing a referendum to pay for the construction of State Mutual Stadium and has continued to show their support with good attendance figures during the team's tenure.
Rome is not a city with direct access to an interstate. You will exit I-75 at Highway 20 and head east. Then follow three well marked turns to get you onto the main road leading into Rome. Once you reach the park access is excellent. There are six entry points and a large parking lot in front of the stadium. There are more than adequate concession stands and restrooms, plus there are picnic tables in multiple areas if you wish to eat while you are watching the game. There are some narrow aisles to navigate in the higher level seats.
A night out at a Rome Braves game will not break the bank for a family. Purchases made before the day of a game receive a one dollar discount. Prices run from Field Level ($18) to General Admission ($5). The parking is $5 and the concessions offer variety and good value. Even for night games, Rome is close enough to Atlanta's northern suburbs to do a round trip and not need a hotel.
In keeping with the Rome theme, some of the supports for the stands appear to be Roman columns. These columns provide a history of the relationship between baseball and the town. The history starts well before the Braves arrival. Because of the multiple rivers passing through town, there were numerous mills built. Many of these mills sponsored team for their workers as a morale booster.
Just north of the parking lot for the stadium is a symbol of the team's commitment to the community. The team built and paid for one of the most impressive Miracle League complexes in the country. The Miracle League serves both adults and children with disabilities in providing a safe environment, within a field built with special modifications to mimic a full sized field. The Miracle League is totally a volunteer run and managed organization.
One of the most interesting college campuses in the world is just two miles west of State Mutual Park. Berry College is a 27,000 acre campus with buildings donated by Henry Ford and a wonderful nature preserve as well. Be sure to stop by Valhalla, the school's first on campus athletic facility and home to the Berry Vikings.
You've got your Atlanta Braves, stalwart of the South; your Mississippi Braves, which have long brought baseball to smaller metro areas (first Greenville, SC and now Pearl, MS); and your Gwinnett Braves, the new hotness in the fastest-growing county in Georgia.
Then there's the Rome Braves, no longer novel having been established in '03, based in a town of 35,000 (96,000 metro, neither good enough for top-10 in the state), and infamous for tanking in the late season even more than their Big-League brothers.
Their park - State Mutual Stadium - largely sticks with the theme of being second- (or third-) rate, but I can at least start off with an ace.
You have to love a place where menu items include fried baloney sandwiches and "garbage plate" nachos served in a giant pizza box, fans come dressed in shorts and cowboy boots, and people start up conversations just to hear your New England accent. The phrase "why in the world would y'all come to Rome?" was repeated often. For the record, I started up conversations to hear their southern accents. The ballpark, unfortunately, is located in the middle of nowhere, although there are a few chain restaurants nearby. Put this park in a more attractive area, and its score would rise dramatically.
If you go to Minor League games and already have taken in a few of the South Atlantic League venues, Rome pretty much has the blueprint of Lexington's park. The structure is nearly a carbon copy with fewer sections along the baselines. In regards to it, it is both good and bad they took Lexington's stadium. While I have gone to a few games here since I live near the park, the enjoyment has admittedly worn off on me a bit, but still not a bad place to go.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: This is where they hit a home run on. Food is magnificent and I would put it up there with any other Minor League place. The variety has been great and there is something for everybody. Definitely try the barbecue stand along the right field wall and their barbecue sundae (no, it doesn't have ice cream), but definitely worth a try.
ATMOSPHERE: I am not sure if the newness has worn off on this place since 2003, but seems like everytime the place gets more & more cavernous, even when it is bobblehead nights at the park. It isn't a bad atmosphere but definitely not what it once was from 2003-2008.
NEIGHBORHOOD: You do have some places around so you aren't really hurting.
FANS: Somewhat goes with the atmosphere, though the ones that show really do get into the games.
ACCESS: I still can't for the life of me why'd they move them to Rome, it isn't entirely close to an interstate like other places. Roads are mostly two-lanes any where you go, which creates massive problems when you leave the park, and much like Lexington, parking isn't very fun here to add on top of a small cost to park.
ROI: Overall, ticket prices are reasonable and pending on what you get for food so is food. Saturdays used to be $2 beer night so that is also pretty good.
EXTRAS: The dilemma is, save for some "upgrades" to the scoreboard and the barbecue venue, State Mutual Stadium hasn't changed much since its opening. In fact, it hasn't look like it is maintained well. But, like Lexington, seats are fine and you do get some good baseball at the park so you really can't go too wrong here.
Hidden in rural (and I do indeed mean rural) northwest Georgia is the small town setting of Rome. With a population of about 36,000, Rome is far from one of the larger towns in minor league baseball. In 2003, the Macon Braves took the 60-mile back road trek to claim Rome as their new home.
The Rome Braves are a Class-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, playing in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League. State Mutual Stadium was built for the relocation in 2003. Seating 5,105 people and with an average attendance of around 2,600, the park is ranked right in the middle of the South Atlantic League in both figures, despite its remote location.
Coming from the Alabama side into Rome is a challenge. There is nothing but two-lane curve ridden roads that is dangerous even for the most experienced driver.
In Rome you will notice, for a small town, a large traffic problem. the problem is not really the cars but they have a red-light about every block which backs up traffic making a nice situation poor.
From the west you can take the loop around the city which is the route of choice. The stadium will emerge right near the highway so finding is easy. The parking is $4 which seems high for a lot that is city owned and cost just about the same as a General admission ticket. But when you get inside the charm of the stadium comes through.
The ushers seem to all be retired guys and gals that is very helpful with more than just finding your seat. You might get in a discussion about how beans or watermelons are growing that particular year.
They offer Club Level, Dugout Level, Field Level, Box level and General admission. My advise, unless you are going on a special night like fireworks or an Atlanta Braves player is in rehab at the place, is to buy the cheapest ticket and then move around after the first inning. Unless you look like problems the ushers will leave you alone. The General admission is ticket for the outfield in right field and cost about $5 so a young family or a single person can get in cheap and move to the seating area after the first inning. One thing that Rome does that makes no sense is that on game day, that charge a up-fee of $1 per ticket. Do not know why this is needed but on the day of the game the price of the ticket has an extra fee added onto the cost. -- The best option is to purchase , what they call, a six or twelve pack for each price level (except general admission). That gets you six or twelve tickets at a discount to use all at one time or over a course of time. This is actually a good deal.
Even though food and drink prices are very reasonable always check the promotions. Tuesday is buy one ticket get one free, Wednesday all you eat pizza and Thursday dollar drinks. Also find out which inning, was 5th last year, is the Budweiser inning where the small cans of Bud and Bud light are $1. They only sell the cans at one place so you might have to ask an usher or just follow the drinkers.
Weekends are the time where the stadium is crowded but during the week the crowds can get very sparse, especially when school is in session. Catching a game on a Wednesday night and you could have an entire section to yourself.
Any place where you can take your family for under $25 and not have to worry about bothersome fans or crime is a nice place. State Mutual fits that place.
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840 Turner Mccall Blvd SE
Rome, GA 30161
35 Hobson Way
Rome, GA 30161
15 Hobson Way
Rome, GA 30161