To protect players from injury at its sparkling new Sun Trust Park, the Atlanta Braves selected Promats Athletics to supply all protective padding for their new 41,000-plus seat stadium. The agreement marked the continuation of a long relationship between the Braves and Promats, which had padded the Braves’ previous home, Turner Field.
The job put Promats’ customization skills to the test due to the varying heights of the outfield walls (6’ in left field, 8’8” in left center and center, and 16’ in right field), the structural design of the bullpens, and a party suite at field level in right field.
All outfield sections required customized wood-back and sewn pads in various sizes. In completing the job, Promats Athletics installed a total of 513 wood-back pads of which 396 were customized and 117 non-customized. The outfield and other areas of the stadium also required a total of 762 linear feet of sewn padding.
Because the left and center field walls in front of the bullpens are supported by 7” concrete curbs, stadium officials were concerned that players might be injured using the curbs as steps while attempting over-the-wall catches. The customized solution from Promats Athletics was a 12 ½” high wood-back pad supported from behind by wood-back slats and then tightly secured by z-clips, backer plates, and angle brackets.
A party suite offering fans field-level view of the diamond put the Promats team’s problem-solving skills to task in regards to padding installation. With vertical columns supporting the wall and view openings, Promats Athletics provided customized vertical wood-backed pads for athlete protection.
The job at Sun Trust Park also marked the first-time use for Promats Athletics’ new wood-back high-profile guard rail padding on the dugout railings. Mark Sonntag, Project Manager at Promats Athletics explained that, compared to sewn padding, the guard rail pads are wider and provide flat surface protection to limit caroms off the railings.
Additionally, Promats Athletics provided the Braves with padding in the home (80’ long x 60’ wide) and visitors (50’ long x 20’ wide) batting tunnels beneath the stands. Half of the pads required cut-outs for utility outlets, fire alarms, and pipes. While most padding design takes place at Promats’ Salisbury, NC manufacturing facility, cut-outs were done on the field for optimal customization—a time-consuming, yet critical undertaking.
A longtime marketing edge for Promats Athletics has been its customer service, often under deadline pressure. Such was the case at Sun Trust Park, where the company’s experienced staff was completing last minute requests by the Braves for padding retrofits until just hours before first pitch on opening day. “We’re usually the last people on site during an installation,” said Jacob Cadle, Sales at Promats Athletics. “Ballparks need our padding to play the game safely.”