The Cobb County Braves

I’ve just returned from the site of the proposed mixed-use development/stadium/cash cow/clusterfuck, where I’ve been gathering reaction for the local organ. A few thoughts:

Selfishly, I hate the move. I live five miles from The Ted. I can leave my house and be in my seat within 30 minutes. Besides, sports teams belong in cities, and the Braves belong in Atlanta.

Atlanta’s political leaders deserve much of  the blame, however. Kasim Reed sold out to Arthur Blank while his predecessors neglected the area around Turner Field and eschewed a MARTA extension to the Ted so they could collect more parking revenue.

Reed’s reaction to today’s news was comical.

We have been working very hard with the Braves for a long time, and at the end of the day, there was simply no way the team was going to stay in downtown Atlanta without city taxpayers spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make that happen.

It is my understanding that our neighbor, Cobb County, made a strong offer of of $450M in public support to the Braves and we are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars.

Given the needs facing our city and the impact of Turner Field stadium on surrounding neighborhoods, that was something I, and many others were unwilling to do.

But $200 million for a new Falcons stadium, with only 10 home dates a year, is okay?

Speaking of blame, would this be happening if the unidentified clown from Time Warner hadn’t negotiated the worst local TV contract in sports?

Supporters of the move say it’ll allow the Braves to keep the likes of Jay Hey and Freddie. But who’s to say Liberty Media will put the money into talent? Already we’ve learned that the team will be adding no more than $10 million to next year’s payroll despite receiving $25 million from baseball’s new national TV deal.

And you can bet ticket prices will increase dramatically.

Still, I understand the Braves’ decision. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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23 comments

  1. I hate it. The reasoning is dumb. If the team doesn’t put the added revenue into the team, especially after 2017, then they’re greedy liars, like Yankees but with 24 less titles.

    I like Reed’s reaction. He’s protecting his taxpayers. Remember, the 200 mill going to the Falcons comes from a hotel tax not taxes from normal folks like us.

    The Braves wanted 450 large from Atlanta after squandering their tv contract, failing to win a title with numerous resources and talent since 1997, and no offers of their own to build around the area.

    I will still cheer for The Cumberland Braves, but this just shows current management to be full of assholes.

    Go Cumberland Galleria Mall Area Braves

  2. I can definitely understand why they did it, especially if the City leaders were unwilling to work with the team. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be though, especially since they bent over backward to please Blank and the Falcons.

    So this will be good for Kasim Reed; after having the Braves IN Atlanta for 50 years, he will be known as the Mayor who let the Braves leave.

  3. You make good points, Lance. I’m still in shock I suppose and very conflicted about this whole thing.

  4. Lance, you make some good points, but much of that hotel tax is paid by Georgians visiting Atlanta. And why couldn’t they have done something like for the Braves, who have a more significant economic impact on the city.

  5. Any public money at all for pro sports arenas is dumb and wrong. I don’t blame the teams for asking, but public officials should not agree to it. I’ve read some of the research and economists overwhelmingly say it’s virtually always a bad idea. Don’t believe the talk about the huge economic impact. Kasim Reed should not give the Falcons (at least) $200 million, and Cobb County should not give the Braves $450 million. The Cobb money, based on what I’ve read, will probably also come from hotel-motel taxes, like the Atlanta money flowing to Arthur. Still, that’s money that could be used for things we in the city of Atlanta and the people of Cobb County need far more than we need stadiums to replace one that’s a couple decades old and one that’s even newer. And if the Braves can’t afford to keep free agents, how the hell can they afford this? In a grand sense I think it’s fucked up that society can afford billion-dollar ballparks and multimillionaire football coaches at public universities when we can’t keep libraries and fire stations open and bring public schools up to a decent standard. Fuck it. Here we are now, entertain us!!

    The Braves are a private business. If they want to seek the best deal for themselves, fine. I do wish they’d be a little more public-spirited. Finally, I’m highly skeptical of the brass’ talk of needing to spend “hundreds of millions” to bring Turner Field up to snuff. Last I checked the place functioned just fine. And I wonder if in 2037 the Braves and Falcons will again be lobbying for new palaces.

  6. The Braves can move to Cobb County all they want, I’ll just never pay to see them again.

    This move wraps up all the asshole things Braves management has done over the past few years (lack of investment in the team; first pitches by corporate stooges instead of honored Braves players; Religion Day; Nazi Cow; Montgomery Gentry concerts) into one shitastic pile. No thanks.

  7. This is all stupid and extremely wasteful. Even the map that the Braves use showing how the new place will be closer to the majority of ticket buyers is very misleading–I dare you to find a Gwinnetian who would tell you that navigating the top-end during rush hour to get to the game will be easier or feel closer.

  8. What else can one expect from a soulless out-of-state corporation? I don’t even live anywhere near Atlanta, and I think the move stinks. First off, it bucks the obvious trend in baseball stadium siting: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Houston, Seattle, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, even Phoenix all have stadia of newer vintage that are in, or within easy walking distance of, their respective downtowns.

    I’ve never been to a game at the Ted (guess I’ll have to do so within the next couple of seasons), but I understand its location is basically in the middle of a bunch of nothing, with no restaurants or pubs being nearby. So the answer to that is to plop the new stadium down in the middle of suburban sprawl and surround it with crappy chain restaurants? Still stuck in the middle of a bunch of nothing as far as I’m concerned.

    But what really burns me up is the Braves management has decided to join the white flight to the suburbs that has created a geographic racial divide in the city that was the capital of the civil rights movement. The Used Car Salesman may like to point to the RBI program and talk about all the great progress baseball has made in getting black American athletes to take up the sport once again, but crap like this undos years of efforts along those lines.

  9. And really, a park the Braves opened in 1997 is no longer viable? The piece of crap in which the White Sox play is 6 years older, and it sucked eggs the instant it opened, yet I haven’t heard anybody but fans saying it should be replaced.

  10. White flight is all headed intown these days, Tokyokie. The suburbs are the affordable place to live for the growing underclass, which is one reason why the team was able to acquire the property. I love Turner Field, but the city had 20 years to try to build something around the stadium and it’s still a sketchy neighborhood with no amenities, just like it was before Turner Field was built. The Olympics were a blip and a PR boost, not much more. The Braves are doing what makes economic sense to them. Visiting Braves fans in 2017 will have decent restaurants, hotels and nightspots within an easy distance of the new stadium. Traffic will suck, but traffic at that interchange sucks anyway.

    As a Cobb County resident, I will be very interested in the contortions the politicians are going to be going through to justify this, at a time when they won’t even buy math textbooks for the state mandated math curriculum. $450 million in public funding to a pro sports team is socialism on a large scale, as much as any ‘welfare’ program for the poors my rock-ribbed right wing neighbors want to whine about. As long as we all acknowledge that America is a socialist nation then I guess I can live with the new stadium down the road. Just don’t name it for Lester Maddox.

  11. Rob, My guess is it’ll be Coca-Cola Field. The city’s best-known industry, and one that makes products filled with empty calories that promote long-term ill health. Sounds about right.

  12. You actually think Liberty Media cares about the naming rights going to a local company? They’ll whore it out to the highest bidder, and the Braves will end up playing in Wal-Mart Stadium, a perfect ode to the crappy location they’ve decided is best for them.

    And now I see that they’re just going to completely tear down The Ted after this whole thing goes down; my guess is they’ll even pave over Hank’s 715 tribute for some additional mixed-use development!

  13. Liberty Media is likely in for the long haul as owner. Which tells you the Braves are a whole lot more profitable than we’ve been led to believe. Why else would Liberty keep them?

  14. Oh jeez, Caz. That ain’t cool. You’re probably right but that ain’t cool at all. I have to go be ill now.

  15. I know I’m in the minority here, but they had to do something.. Can’t sustain and keep a competitive team drawing, lets say, 12000 ppl on a Tuesday night in April against the Rockies. Plus, people want to talk about loyalty to ATL? What in the world have they done to help put butts in the seats? Not a damn thing.

  16. I wonder if the club will bring all of those division and wildcard pennant signs along or will they be incorporated into Kasim’s new middle class planned community.

  17. So how many here believe that they’ll take the giant Chick-Fil-A cow with them? I’m guessing yes…

  18. Caz, I think you’re right – and sources tell me that “Butt-Cut” is already camped out under the I-75 and I-285 interchange waiting for the Braves to arrive so he can ask for his old job back.

  19. Of greater concern – what do they do with the statues of Spahn, Aaron? They have to move those, right?

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