Acuna grand slam celebration

Ronald Acuna Jr. celebrates in the dugout after hitting a grand slam in the second inning to give the Braves a 5-0 lead over the Dodgers. He is the youngest player to hit a home run in the postseason.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of the MDJ’s end-of-the-year coverage, we are recapping the top 10 stories of the year as chosen by the MDJ staff.

The Atlanta Braves made it back to the postseason this year, ending a five-year postseason drought and bringing the playoffs to SunTrust Park for the first time.

Buoyed by a mix of talented young players and experienced veterans, the Braves ended the regular season with a 90-72 record and the National League East pennant.

The team started the 2018 playoffs on the road in Los Angeles, but the series shifted to SunTrust Park for Game 3 of the NL Division Series on Sunday, Oct. 7.

A standing-room-only crowd of 42,385 packed the ballpark that night and were treated to a 6-5 Braves win as well as a second-inning grand slam by rookie phenom Ronald Acuña Jr.

The following night, Oct. 8, the Braves were defeated by the Dodgers to end their postseason run. The Monday afternoon game notched an attendance of about 39,500.

With an improved team on the field in 2018, SunTrust Park drew an average attendance of 31,552 per game this year, up more than 500 from 2017’s average attendance of 30,929.

It’s an even bigger jump from 2016, when the Braves had an average attendance of 24,949 in their final season at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The ballclub finished 12th in the league for average attendance in 2018, also an improvement from 2017, when the team ranked 13th, and 2016, which saw the Braves finish 22nd.

Game 3 of the NLDS had the highest attendance of any game in 2018.

MLB attendance is measured by the number of tickets sold, not the number of tickets scanned at the gates.

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