Cheaper than Dan Uggla

Thirty-five years ago to the day, Ted Turner bought the Braves for $10 million.

I can just see opening day,” exulted Ted Turner as he strode onto the field at Atlanta Stadium. “We’re going to have a TV camera panning the entire stadium. The crowd is going to be singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. We’ll change the team’s name from the Braves to the Eagles.” He paused. “And if they don’t win, I’ll call them the Turkeys.”…

“I don’t know much about baseball,” he concedes, “but it’s probably just like TV—you come up with 80 ideas before you find one that works.” With the Braves, he has a real challenge. For the past four years, attendance at their games has fallen below one million. Last season it was only 534,000, and the team wound up in next to last place in the National League. “I don’t want to see any more headlines calling Atlanta ‘Loserville, U.S.A.,’ ” declares Turner, who blames much of the trouble on absentee ownership by the Chicago-based sporting goods company Atlanta-La Salle Corp. …

“People don’t want to watch news and documentaries,” insists Turner. “My station proves that.” Sitting back in his trophy-cluttered library, he now muses on the fate of the Braves. “I don’t want to shoot my mouth off a lot,” he says. “I’m going to keep a low profile.”  …

Besides wanting to change the name to the Eagles—to match the city’s other “feathered” teams, the football Falcons and the basketball Hawks—the new owner may demand that his manager and players live full time in Atlanta. “I want them to be a part of the community, to love it and support it,” he says. “I want the players going down into the ghetto and working. And if they don’t want to do it,” grins Terrible Ted, “I’ll get some guys that do.”

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3 Comments on Cheaper than Dan Uggla

  1. Roadrunner // January 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm //

    When I was a kid, I’d go to a Braves game at Shea Stadium every year. He was usually seated by the visitor’s dugout. After the game, he would still be there after everyone had cleared out. My brother and I went to say hi to him a few times and give he him unsolicited advice, like releasing Cito Gaston. He was very nice to us.

  2. rankin' rob // January 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm //

    He’s the best thing that ever happened to the Atlanta Braves.

  3. Muh chukkah // January 7, 2011 at 4:11 am //

    “…it’s probably just like tv–you come up with 80 ideas before you find one that works.”
    More or less how it panned out, yes?

    “People don’t want to watch news and documentaries….”
    Hah!!

    “I’m going to keep a low profile…”
    Priceless!!! That man is priceless. I wonder how he’s doin’.

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