How to Lose Fans and Alienate People: The 2016 Atlanta Braves

It wasn't long ago the Braves had a young core, which included Julio Teheran. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

It wasn’t long ago the Braves had a young core, which included Julio Teheran. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

The Atlanta Braves are rebuilding, and they’re nearly unwatchable. They can’t hit or field and most nights they can’t pitch. They opened the year 4-17. Three weeks later, they fired manager Fredi Gonzalez, which hardly reassured fans that they knew what they’re doing. By nearly every measure they are the worst team in baseball.

This is their last season in the city of Atlanta; next year they’re moving to suburban Cobb County. But if they’re not careful, they could lose fans in the process.

“The product they’re putting out is insulting,” says Jim Tremayne, the editor of DJ Times magazine, a trade publication for disc jockeys. “It definitely feels very cynical to me. The entity that owns this club, it doesn’t feel like they’re interested in winning. At the end of the day, that’s what fans want.”

And, from a practical level, the team’s approach seems self-defeating, because Atlanta is a college football town with a decided fair-weather approach to its pro teams. “I think it’s really shortsighted,” says Cliff Harpe, an attorney in Cordele, Ga. “In Atlanta, if you have a superb product you can make superb money. But if you have a mediocre product, you can’t even make mediocre money.”

The team has taken a rapid plunge. In the 2013-2014 offseason, the Atlanta Braves were in an enviable position. The previous year’s team had won 96 games and a division title with the equivalent of a team full of sophomores: lineup anchors Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons were all 23, and the rotation was equally fresh-faced, led by 22-year-old Julio Teheran, 25-year-old Mike Minor and 27-year-old Kris Medlen, and the team had a 25-year-old ace closer in Craig Kimbrel.

Braves brass believed the future was bright, and brought in former Indians GM John Hart — the man who in the 1990s in Cleveland helped to pioneer the practice of handing pre-arbitration extensions to young stars — and signed extensions with five of them, committing $280 million to Freeman, Simmons, Kimbrel, Teheran and Heyward.

That future is nothing but a hazy memory. Since Opening Day in 2014, the Braves have gone 158-212 and gotten rid of nearly everyone who was on that division-winning team. Among players who played a single inning for the 2013 Braves, only three are still on the 40-man roster: Freeman, Teheran and Eric O’Flaherty, who signed as a free agent in the offseason after spending the last two years elsewhere.

For many fans, the Andrelton Simmons trade was the absolute nadir. The Braves traded the best defensive shortstop in baseball, to whom they had recently handed a long-term, team-friendly extension, to the Angels in exchange for two risky pitching prospects. They also made sure to ask for Angels shortstop Erick Aybar in return. By WAR, Aybar has been the worst player in baseball this season.

And now their ballpark is in its last months as home of the Braves. After 20 years in Turner Field and 51 years in the city of Atlanta, the Braves are building a stadium in the suburbs that they hope will be easier for fans who live outside the city to reach by highway.

But anyone who has ever driven in Atlanta knows the city’s highways are so nightmarishly congested that, as Chris Gigley recently wrote here, “Fans who must take I-285 or I-75 to the game will never make it for the first pitch of any Braves game. Ever. They’ll probably miss the entire first inning. And probably the second.”

A lot of old-timers are reminded of the bad old days in the 1970s and 1980s, when the team was frequently one of the worst in baseball. But back then, the team had heroes to worship like Henry Aaron, Phil Niekro and Dale Murphy. They see nobody like that now.

“They were sort of analogous with the Falcons,” Tremayne said. “I grew up in Columbus, Georgia, so you had a lot of kids who couldn’t bring themselves to root for the crappy Atlanta baseball and football, so they would root for the Cowboys, or the Reds, or the Pirates, or even, later into the ‘70s, the Yankees… You actually believed that they may not be good in your lifetime. I believed that.”

Tremayne grew up in Columbus and started rooting for the team in 1971. “It got to the point where it was a little depressing,” he says. “The only thing you had to root for was individual accomplishments. Aaron, obviously, hitting 715. Or Niekro winning that 20th game. Or Buzz Capra winning the ERA title.”

But Aaron’s chase won the team new fans across the country. “I think I was the only kid in the state of Connecticut who followed the Braves,” says Chris Nicholson, who is now a real estate developer in Concord, Mass. “Hank Aaron, he was chasing the record… and I just thought, he was my guy.”

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

Joel Kauffman had the same experience in Mount Union, Pa. Discovering the Braves was almost an illicit thrill. His father gave him a radio one day, and he started listening to it after bedtime, searching for stations.

“I stumbled on WSB, and there was a Braves game on. I stopped there. And this guy named Hank Aaron stepped to the plate and hit a home run,” Kauffman remembers. “So I listened to the rest of the game, waiting for him to come to the plate again. The next night, I went there, and — there was another game on! That’s how I got hooked.”

Ted Turner’s TBS Superstation played that role for a lot of fans. “I didn’t really come from a family of baseball fans, but I watched the ’95 World Series and I was hooked,” says Karissa Marken, a schoolteacher who grew up in central Virginia. “I call myself a TBS fan — they really were the only team I could get.”

The Braves often like to point out that they are the oldest continuously operating franchise in major league baseball, a direct descendent of the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, the first professional franchise in baseball history. A large contingent from that team moved to Boston — the Boston Red Stockings of 1876 were a charter member of the National League — and the franchise then went to Milwaukee in 1953, then to Atlanta in 1966.

But in their long history, the Braves have won only three World Series, one in each city: 1914, 1957 and 1995. Between pennants in 1958 and 1991, the team made the playoffs just twice, with division titles in 1969 and 1982, getting swept both times. With those two exceptions, the Atlanta Braves were pretty terrible for most of their existence.

“The Braves have sort of always been an underdog,” says Rhett Thomas, who grew up watching the team in Sebastian, Fla. “As bad as it was, I felt like, this is my team, and they need somebody, they’ve got me. And they were on TV all the time. One hundred thirty games a year. If you were a baseball fan you watched the Braves.”

For some, being there for the lean years was a point of pride. For others, it was simply a matter of fact.

“I’ve been a Braves fan for a long time, ever since there’s been such a thing as the Atlanta Braves, and there’s been a lot of lousy teams and lot of lousy seasons,” says Tim Floyd, a law professor at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. “And this is right up there with the worst of them. That expression, ‘There’s No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect’: They hadn’t invented it yet, but I lived it.”

Attendance is always higher for good teams than bad teams. The team is betting on the belief that once the team wins again, fans will come in droves to their shiny new stadium.

By way of contrast, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Mark Bradley points out that “there weren’t many Braves fans” in the 1980s, before the worst-to-first season of 1991 changed everything. He remembers a court case from the 1980s that a colleague of his attended:

It was a guy from TBS. They got free Braves tickets, because nobody wanted them. This guy got free tickets and saw ten to twelve games a year.

One day, he drove to the game and went the same way he always did, and got ticketed by the Atlanta police for a wrong turn. He goes before the judge and my colleague is watching.

And the judge says, “You go to 12 games a year?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Is this gonna be an insanity plea?”

However, Terry Pluto, a Cleveland sportswriter who has written extensively on the Indians, thinks that the benefits of the new stadium may not be quite as great as the Braves would hope. (I quoted his book “The Curse of Rocky Colavito” in April.)

“The Braves are not going to be able to cash in” on the new stadium, Pluto believes, because the contrast with Turner Field is simply not that great. “It’s not like they’re going from a place where the plumbing didn’t work.”

Both the Braves and Indians went from extraordinarily bad in the ’70s and ’80s to extraordinarily good in the ’90s. But they were also fortunate to be the only good show in town: The Browns had left Cleveland, the Falcons were mediocre, and the Cavaliers and Hawks were middling. “When they came in, the door was wide open for them to plant the flag,” Pluto explains. “That’s not the case in Cleveland now, and I don’t think that’s the case in Atlanta.”

Through their first 40 games, the Braves used 21 pitchers. They have the fifth-worst ERA and sixth-worst FIP in the National League. Two of their top pitching prospects, Mike Foltynewicz and Aaron Blair, have respective FIPs of 4.48 and 4.64 in the majors this year. (Foltynewicz’s ERA is 3.95; Blair’s is 7.59.) Blair, who just turned 24 on May 26, was sent back to the minors after a horrendous May 17th start in which he gave up nine runs and recorded just four outs. They may develop — old-timers remember that Tom Glavine put up a rookie ERA of 5.54 in 1987, and John Smoltz had a 5.48 ERA as a rookie in 1988 — but being young and struggling is not a particularly good predictor of whether a pitcher will go to the Hall of Fame.

Watching the team fail so spectacularly, and seeing the front office blame the manager for losing with a roster that Babe Ruth and Joe McCarthy couldn’t save, raises a disturbing question: is the team being torn down and rebuilt by people ill-equipped for the task?

On May 1, the Braves tried to call up Emilio Bonifacio, a player they’d released in spring training then re-signed to a minor league contract. It turned out he was ineligible due to a rule that teams must wait 30 days to call up players whom they have cut and re-signed, a rule the front office had overlooked. “They bungle these little things,” says Bill Smith, a disability benefits specialist in Chattanooga. “You wonder if they know what they’re doing.”

Worse was the team’s blockbuster trade for Cuban defector Hector Olivera. Team scouts and then-manager Fredi Gonzalez loved him and pushed the front office to trade young pitching and prospects for the 30-year old third baseman, who was in the Dodgers’ minor leagues at the time, getting back into playing shape after two years moving through the administrative process of defection. Shortly after the trade, the Braves announced that he was moving to the outfield because they didn’t believe he could stick at third.

In early April of 2016, he was arrested on domestic violence charges and placed on administrative suspension by major league baseball. Before the league announced his punishment, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported that the team was trying to trade him, only to find — predictably — that he is perceived around the league as untouchable. On May 26, the league handed down an 82-game suspension, announcing that Olivera will be ineligible to play until August 1. There is a chance that he may never play another game by the Braves.

“It feels like every move has backfired,” Tremayne says.

The biggest problem, as the team builds its new suburban stadium in Cobb County, about 15 miles from their downtown digs at Turner Field, is convincing the fans that it will all be worth it.

“There’s nobody really that you can pull for,” says Tim Denman, the cybersecurity learning director at Defense Acquisition University in Huntsville, Ala. “I know the players are playing hard, but there’s no part of the game that, as a fan, draws me to them right now.”

It’s hard not to draw a conclusion about how the team feels about its rooters. “The lineup they throw out there every day is as bad as anything I’ve seen,” says Floyd, the law professor. “They don’t seem to care that much about the fans or the product on the field.”

If the Braves win again, they will probably find a way to fill the stadium. But some Braves fans who have been with the team for years may not be with them. There’s a serious empathy gap, and a sense of profound loss.

“I hate that they’re moving it to a mall in some horrible suburb,” says Nicholson, the Massachusetts developer. “Not that I’m tied in with Atlanta or any connection with the South, but I feel I should be rooting for a team that’s in a city, not in a mall, with a bunch of players who come and go.

“I think Bobby Cox cried the day he traded Dale Murphy. Well, okay! That’s my general manager. He feels the way I feel. I think [GM John] Coppolella traded Simmons to show everyone he could do it.

“I hate these guys.”

References & Resources

  • Chris Gigley, The Hardball Times, “If You Build It, They Will Bottleneck”
  • Phone interviews with nine commenters from Braves Journal (a site that I manage): Tim Denman, Tim Floyd, Cliff Harpe, Joel Kauffman, Karissa Marken, Chris Nicholson, Bill Smith, Rhett Thomas, and Jim Tremayne.
  • Phone interviews with Mark Bradley and Terry Pluto.


Alex is a writer for The Hardball Times.
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Brian L
6 years ago

I think you could talk to a subset of nearly any fan base (maybe not Cubs, Royals, Giants) who would say the team is trash, the FO is terrible, and the whole franchise is a disaster. That subset is probably largest with the Braves right now but in my experience that level of pure negativity and “I hate these guys” is not close to the prevailing view. Obviously people complain about the terrible MLB team, and rightfully so, its unwatchable. But most people recognize that some amazing trades have been interspersed with the not-so-great ones, people still love Freddie and for some reason Frenchie, and a large portion of the stadium critique comes from national / outside sources who understand the geography and fan base less.

Maybe I’m just a Braves truther tired of getting bashed on, but I just don’t see the point in collecting the 10 most negative fan quotes you can find and turning them into an article as some sort of summary view on the current Braves experience.

Brian L
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

Very interesting. I probably do not talk to as many older / longtime fans as I do younger fans, although mostly very casual, watch-but-not-analyze types so I figured there would be more similarity and the bigger differences would be more along the sabermetric/traditional dimension. I guess it makes sense that the vibe would be more negative from the group that has been through it before, vs. the ones who grew up with the 1990s Braves. I feel like we could also make some broader age-related connections about optimism, time on this planet, etc. but I’ll stop there.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

And where exactly are the quotes from the more philosophical/optimistic fans? I see nothing in this article about the city of Atlanta refusing for a decade to improve the area outside Turner Field. I see nothing about all of the blockbuster trades they made, except to use it as a negative. I see nothing about all of the players they’ve drafted. I see nothing about how the Braves rebuild looks to be a short term solution, rather than the decade long build that the Royals, Cubs, and Pirates subjected their fan base to. I see nothing about how the Braves improved their MiL system from one of the worst, to arguably the best in baseball. I see nothing about Andrelton Simmons and his 0.0 WAR so far this season. All I see are negative after negative. If you want to right a truthful story it’s best not to quote only a small, yet boisterous, segment of the fanbase. It’s inaccurate and down right negative portrayal of a situation that could be much much worse had the Braves stayed the course and not rebuilt.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

Sure, if you have your head in the sand. Braves have money to spend if they need it, they have trade pieces if they need it, they have, arguably, the best MiL system in baseball. Sure, they’re will be ups and downs, but the future is a whole lot brighter now than it was at the end of 2015, and infinitely brighter if they had tried to stay the course after 2015.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

It’s actually not a question at all. You’d basically have to be accusing Terry McGuirk of being an out and out liar. He has been quoted as saying that the payroll will increase around the $120 million mark. So again, head in the sand.

Peter
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

It’s a question you could have and should have asked. You didn’t. It discredits your overall piece.

Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  Brian L

I agree I’ve been listening to the Braves since they moved to Atlanta, I’m 60 now. We get they’re bad Liberty doesn’t care if they win or loose. The front office appears to be clueless .
But if I can cheer for guys like Biff Pocoroba ,Sonny Jackson, etal then I can cheer for these guys.
If games were still on TBS I would watch every damn one.
I will not apologize for being a fan.
Tim S

John Jackson
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

The front office and management does care, and they are going to spend money on the team but it’s going to be a year maybe two yet, this is a rebuild like none have ever seen before. Personally the only bad move they made was firing Fredi G, made absolutely no sense.

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  John Jackson

“Personally the only bad move they made was firing Fredi G”

Whaaaa….??

Bonney Mack
6 years ago
Reply to  Brian L

Atlanta need more non white players. Look at the other good teams. They find ways to get rid of good non white players or not sign them. Christian Betancourt will become a star. Remember what Lonnie Smith said about John schourholtz

Fred Owens
6 years ago
Reply to  Bonney Mack

It’s past time to get off of this rant, unless you specifically mean African American players whose numbers across the majors are shrinking the roster matches up in non-whites as any.

On the 25 man roster – Julio Teheran, Alexi OGando, Arodys Vizcaino, Williams Perez, Ender Inciarte, Daniel Castro, Mallex Smith, Adonis Garcia and Erick Aybar

On the 40-man – Mauricio Cabrera, Jose De la Cruz, Tyrell Jenkins, Manny Banuelos, Dario Alvarez, Paco Rodriguez and sadly Hector Oilvera

Among their top 30 prospects not on the 40 man roster – Ozzie Albies, Touki Toussaint,Rio Ruiz, Zachary Bird, Ricard Sanchez, Ronakld Acuna and Johan Camargo

Are there teams with more? Sure. Are there teams with less? Yep.

The trade to San Diego was all about lack of performance not ethnicity. I was a big Bethancourt supporter and wrote about it but somehow between 2014 and last year he lost the ability to be the catcher he was supposed to be. After being given the job as Braves starting catcher last year he promptly surrendered it by playing badly on both sides of the ball.

With the Padres Betti seems to be hitting better but he’s still not a great defensive catcher to the point that the Padres are considering using him in the outfield. I want Betti to succeed but it will require a major change in his play to make him a star. I wish him luck but I don;t see that happening.

lol
6 years ago
Reply to  Fred Owens

lol….are you guys really debating this?

Carl
6 years ago

John Stearns, Willie Montanez, Doug Flynn, Frankie Taveras, Wayne Garret, Joel Youngblood, John Milner, Lee Mazzilli, Swan, Falcone, Zachary on the mound, Lockwood out of the pen.

Growing up a Mets fan, can assure you that this too will pass, and turnarounds are possible.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Carl

Agreed, too many Braves fans wetting their pants. Teams historically go thru cycles. Maybe success of the 1990s plays into this. Funny many of the same folks scream that Hawks should be torn down due to consistent mediocrity.

Josh
6 years ago

I think some of these commenters missed the main point of the article – it isn’t that fans quoted in the article lack perspective (clearly, they have tons of it. Most of them have been fans of the Braves for decades.); no, the problem the article tried to get at was that the Braves as a business operation are doing horrible things to their fanbase. That is dumb from any business standpoint you can think of. That’s why fans are losing faith, because they do not appreciate their love of the team being taken advantage of by the business side of the Braves, that wants their money but gives them nothing in return. Actually, by killing the “Atlanta” part of the team and then stripping the corpse through trades that will only pay off – if they do – long after the team has fled the actual city of Atlanta, the ownership and management has given the fans in Atlanta less than nothing. Two years ago, the team announced it was leaving and basically told fans who won’t follow to Cobb County, “enjoy the young, awesome team we have until 2017, because after that we’re gone!” And then, management sold that entire talent pool and replaced it with dog poo. Braves fans in Atlanta have now had 2 years of awful, insultingly untalented, cheap teams to “root” for. So before anyone defends the franchise or tries to tell Atlanta-based fans, “buck up, it gets better!”, they should acknowledge that the Braves pulled a HUGE bait-and-switch on their entire fanbase in order to get their stupid new stadium in Cobb County, and they have given the Atlanta-based fans the finger, no mistake. That is unforgivable and speaks to how poor the current ownership group is at running a sports business.

Bryan Cole
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh

While I agree with you that Liberty Media has mistreated their Atlanta fans and pulled a fast one on the Cobb County taxpayers, I disagree with your last sentence.

Liberty Media bought the Braves in 2007 for $450 million. Forbes’ 2016 valuation (which isn’t perfect, but still) has the Braves at $1.175 billion. That’s about 2.5 times higher in a decade that oh by the way featured a global financial meltdown.

As far as Liberty Media is concerned, the current ownership group is AMAZING at running a sports business. So long as the numbers are going up, none of the other stuff matters, unfortunately.

Butch
6 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Cole

Which is the point! They don’t care about the product or the fans or anything as long as their investment grows. That is the problem with corporate ownership and the Braves will never be the same until there is a new owner who wants to actually own a baseball team not an investment vehicle.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Butch

The problem isn’t Liberty Media. They have already stated that they will never make a single baseball decision and the money the Braves make is the money they can spend; neither are negatives. The problem is that the big spenders spend big because they have lucrative TV contracts and the Braves don’t. LM isn’t responsible for that; Time Warner is. Time Warner were the ones who signed a 25 year, non-negotiable, TV contract right before the TV contract bubble exploded; all because they wanted quick cash before they sold the team. It has already been said countless times that their TV deal is the reason why payroll is the way it is. If you think for a second that LM would take that money you would be wrong. LM is a multi-billion dollar company that cares only about one thing, LM’s main assets making money. First, the Braves are not a main asset, and two, whatever money they make, including TV money, is pittance compared to what LM makes as a whole. If you don’t like the fact that LM doesn’t infuse money into the team. Well, they can’t. It’s against the law. And, if you don’t like that, blame Time Warner for that too. The only reason LM owns the Braves is because Time Warner wanted more control of their company and LM had a ton of their stock. Why? Because LM is a telecommunications conglomerate, that’s why. Time Warner crapped the bed with their purchase of AOL and in order to survive they needed more control of their company. So a swap was made. If LM didn’t have TW stock they wouldn’t own the Braves.

So, if you wanna blame anyone for the state of the Braves, blame Time Warner. They’re the real corporate bogeyman, not LM.

Benjamin Lovelace
6 years ago
Reply to  Butch

John C Malone is the current chairman of Liberty Media, is a huge baseball and Braves fan. From all that I have read he seems to like owing a baseball team and genuinely cares about its success. Just because he leaves day to day operation to those more expert, doesn’t mean no one above Terry Mcquirk cares.

I say “more expert” because I listened to an interview with Theo Epstien who said he believes the Braves currently (in just the last 18 months) have accumulated more total baseball talent in their organization, though not at the major league level, than anyone in the league. He said he himself is a big fan of John Copolella. That is a major endorsement of the braves front office by probably the smartest man in baseball. So all this business about them “not knowing what they are doing” I just don’t buy.

BTW- The Emelio Bonafacio recall was a new rule a couple of years ago that since it involves such a rare set of circumstances had never been tested before and no one knew it including the league office who tried to process the move, Bonafacio’s agent, or the player’s association. When the move was rejected by a computer in the league office (not the Braves office, the National League office), the initial reaction was that it was a malfunction. Can’t fault the Braves for not knowing something no one in the league did.

Mike
6 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Cole

By law, that of the US Securities and Exchange Commission and that of MLB, Liberty Media cannot and will not EVER receive a dime due to the operating expenses of the Atlanta Braves. No one in the Braves front office answers to Liberty Media as to the day to day operations of the club. They look at the numbers, say here are your payroll constraints, go run the team.

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Cole

“Liberty Media bought the Braves in 2007 for $450 million. Forbes’ 2016 valuation (which isn’t perfect, but still) has the Braves at $1.175 billion. That’s about 2.5 times higher in a decade that oh by the way featured a global financial meltdown.”

To be clear, that spectacular increase in valuation was NOT brought about by anything that Liberty has done. ALL sports franchises are skyrocketing in value, primarily because they are a super-scarce good for the “price is no issue” set.

E-Gaz
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh

This is pretty much the perfect summary for how I feel, thank you.

Brian L
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh

The stadiums are like a 20 minute drive apart and the new one is barelyyy outside Atlanta proper, right next to the perimeter. Symbolically sure there’s meaning, but the actual hassle is way overblown, as is “killing the Atlanta” in the Braves. The Braves fanbase was already much much more than just Atlanta proper.

Not defending the move, I just think the attack against it should be from a taxpayer / financial standpoint and not this whole Atlanta vs. Cobb fan thing.

ASR
6 years ago
Reply to  Brian L

I mean, they’re 20 minutes apart if there are no other cars on the road. And the difference for a fan coming from, say, Decatur is quite large.

Brian L
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

No one’s actually driving between the stadiums – that’s not the point.

I suggest next time you’re at Turner ask people around you where they’re coming to the game from. The ‘entire fanbase in Atlanta’ thing is flat wrong. That’s either a lack of knowledge or a willing dismissal of some segment of Braves fans you deem less important.

Balls
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

@Alex Remington: Yeah, if you’ve never driven from Gwinnett to Turner Field at 6pm on a weeknight, you may not understand just how bad IT could be. It’s 60 to 90 minutes. The traffic is a non-factor, a WASH for those in Gwinnett, and a HUGE PLUS for those in Cobb County, which, like it or not, is where most of the money is in metro Atlanta. The only people with a possible beef about traffic are the paying customers living south of downtown (few) or downtown proper (less than few).

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

“The only people with a possible beef about traffic are the paying customers living south of downtown (few) or downtown proper (less than few).”

To be fair, there are very few coming from *anywhere* right now, with that unmitigated AAAA disaster club that takes the field on a nightly basis…

SBS
6 years ago
Reply to  ASR

If they actually were coming from there…the attendance is abysmal and the majority of the fan base was outside the perimeter from NW to NE. You have to go where the money is…just a fact in today’s sports environment.
Plus, Braves now own land and can lease the property and have a vibrant social life around the stadium 365. Blame Kasim Reed. He wouldn’t work with them.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  SBS

Anyone who attended games at Turner Field over the past 5 years saw the neglect of surrounding areas. The park benches directly across from stadium were destroyed, broken bottles, etc. No development (other than a mini golf course) for fans. As for stadium, the City alienated the fans, Braves are taking the PR hit by making a sensible move.

Mike
6 years ago
Reply to  Brian L

The tax money for the stadium was drawn from the Cumberland Community Development something or another (forget the exact name). It was voted on by this group comprised of area businesses. If you don’t want to support the Braves in Cobb County, don’t shop in the Cumberland area. The Braves aren’t pulling tax dollars from schools.

Chief Nocahoma
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh

You forgot boring, bland, cookie cutter, looks much like Turner Field stadium.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Chief Nocahoma

..and you time travelled to the future to experience it firsthand? Tell us, did Heywood ever hit .260 again?

ArtieMacon
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob

Bob’s right. And you should have predicted it coming, Chief.

John Jackson
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh

That’s funny the “fan base” you speak of hasn’t shown up for “their” team in 10 years probably the worst fan base in baseball. Fine you don’t want to watch don’t, but don’t say their isn’t talent just a year or two away, go watch AAA and AA clubs 2-3 years is nothing for a rebuild.

Jeffrey
6 years ago

Perhaps Atlanta is a different type of sports town but if the Pirates can sell tickets after putting garbage on the field for 2 decades, anything is possible. These comments do sound a lot like what people in Pittsburgh had to say in the late 90s-2012 though.

Butch
6 years ago
Reply to  Jeffrey

Didn’t a change in ownership help turn the Pirates around?

J Frank
6 years ago

Thank you, Alex Remington, for summing up feelings that I haven’t actually been able to put into words. I’m disgusted by the team that Atlanta has been saddled with for the past two seasons.

I was born and raised in and around Athens, Georgia, and I’ve been a Braves fan my entire life. I’m in my mid-thirties, and as a kid, my step-dad and I went to games at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Being a sports fan growing up in the Atlanta media market, Dale Murphy and Dominique Wilkins were the only sports heroes I could have (okay, I’m on the shorter side, so I loved Spud Webb).

I was in middle school when the Braves turned it around and in high school by the time they won their only World Series title. For the majority of my adult life, it hasn’t been hard to stay a Braves fan. I never forgot what it was like when I was a kid, though. I’ve always been very aware of lulls in talent and the idea of rebuilding. I joined the Army and lived all over the world. I currently live in the DC area, but my hometown teams have always been my teams…period. My fan loyalty has never waivered, until now.

The current team the ownership group has put on the field is exactly as the author of this post put it: insulting. There isn’t even an effort to “look” like they’re trying to put a competitive team on the field. I was no fan of Fredi, but I know a sacrificial lamb when I see one. His firing, which was also bungled by the airline ticket email, was also, in a way, insulting. Fans are smart enough to know who is really at fault, and making an attempt to show they were on their fans’ side by firing the manager, while everyone knows they are at fault, is openly deceitful.

Atlanta’s sports fans can complain about the mediocre play of the Falcons for the past few seasons, but no one can doubt that Arthur Blank is trying. He’s showing an effort to put a good team on the field, and fans are still mostly supportive. I am, at least. I can’t say the same for the Braves.

For the first time in my life, I’m actually thinking of jumping ship. It doesn’t seem worth it to care about a franchise that doesn’t seem to care whether it wins or not. What I’m finding, though, is that I’m still too loyal to switch teams. The consequence is that baseball, in general, is just dead to me outside of my kid’s little league games. I’ve lost the desire to watch, or even care about, what’s going on in MLB.

Ryan Bruce
6 years ago
Reply to  J Frank

Just go. If you don’t understand that a team can’t win every season, you aren’t paying attention. GO root for the Nats. If tough times get to you that badly, you’re not needed as a fan.

J Frank
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Bruce

Do you lack reading comprehension skills, or are you just a troll? Read what I wrote, specifically about the Braves versus the Falcons. I don’t expect a team to win every season, but I do expect the team’s ownership and front office to, at the very least, appear to be trying to put a winning team on the field. That isn’t happening with the Braves. Why should anyone continue to root for a team that isn’t even rooting for itself?

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  J Frank

What exactly do you think they’re doing right now? They have decided to invest in the future and, by god, they’re doing a whole heck of a lot to make that happen sooner rather than later. If we have to endure a couple of years of losing for ten years of prosperity, count me among those who have the patience to wait. In the meantime, if the team loses I’ll root like hell for them to win. If they don’t, oh well.

Well-Beered Englishman
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Bruce

The fact that “the Nats” are your example of a team that wins every season suggests maybe you’ve only watched baseball for 3 of the last 12 years.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  J Frank

So you are not a fan, as one would use that term in other cities. Cubs -Philly- Sox etc, fans complain, scream, cry, but in spring they show up. Maybe the media is right about Atlanta sports fans. If so, you can’t alienate what you don’t have so why not pursue an alternative business model.

Ryan Bruce
6 years ago

Have you actually considered talking to some baseball people, as opposed to DJs and school teachers? It’s called rebuilding, and it takes more than one season. The Braves were awful in 2014 with all of our good major league talent. Hart put it best when he said that we weren’t breaking up the ’27 Yankees. Upton and Heyward were going to walk for free and we got excellent returns for them. As great as Andrelton was with the glove, he was equally bad with the bat. This is where we were heading, and frankly, it should have happened long ago. The Braves front office are building a pipeline of talent that should hopefully make us a championship contender for years and years. Most Braves fans are content with having a winning record and sometimes grabbing that last wild card spot. There is a bigger picture out there that you do not see, and probably wouldn’t understand if it was thoroughly mapped out for you. This is one of the most ignorrant baseball articles I have ever read in my 30+ years of following the Braves.

Ryan Bruce
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Bruce

*ignorant

Sam
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Bruce

Simmons was garden-variety bad with the bat. He was transcendent with the glove.

Rembrandt Q. Einstein
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

With plenty of alcohol available.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

I watch the young players like Blair, Perez, Smith develop, and also baseball in general. Yes losing is tough, especially like Braves are doing now, but if you accept the rebuild -even grudgingly- you can find interesting things.

John Jackson
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Bruce

Absolutely agree

Reed Storm
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Bruce

Oh so your the kinda guy that thinks the Ozzie Smith trade was a good idea. In 2016.

Ninja
6 years ago

I have been a fan since just about birth. So, pretty much since 1965. Every realistic Braves fan watched as the farm system became depleted under Frank Wren and knew this would have to be done. Is it hard to watch? Absolutely it is, but the avid fan sees what is coming and will tolerate the losing for a season or 2. While Coppy tried to put on a brave face, no pun intended, during the off season, they and the fans knew this would be bad. I don’t know if we expected epically bad, but we had no delusional expectations for ’16 & ’17. The fans of Atlanta get a bad rap as far as national perception, but they are knowledgeable and see the bigger picture for the most part. This franchise will be back in the not so distant future. SunTrust Park will be an amazing place to enjoy the resurgence of a great franchise. We suffered through nearly 2 1/2 decades of bad baseball. 1 or 2 seasons of sub .500 baseball will be worth the wait.

@Braves_Ninja

Ryan Bruce
6 years ago
Reply to  Ninja

Well said.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

That’s an inaccurate statement. It hasn’t been almost 2.5 seasons, the rebuild has gone on for 1.5 years; that first losing year was comprised of the players the Braves traded away in order to rebuild. As for your opinion on the state of the MiL system, here’s a brief snippet of what to expect next year

Albies
Swanson
Freeman
Free Agent/Trade
Markakis
Inciarte
Flowers
Smith

Teheran
Wisler
Folty
Perez/Jenkins/Newcomb/Blair/Gant…

Inexperienced? Sure, but can they compete? Absolutely. Plus, I inserted a free agent/trade in the 4 hole. The thing is the Braves will have as much as $60 million to spend next year, which means they can afford just about anyone. They could also trade Teheran and get near as good a haul as they got for Miller. So, there are so many reasons to believe that this rebuild is only for the short term.

Plus of course, as far as the future is concerned. The Braves have like 4 or 5 picks in the first 80 this year, they’re gonna be the big spenders in int’l free agency, and they’ll probably have the first pick next year.

So, they have the prospects, they have the money, and they have the ability to add to their depth in the next couple of years. This is arguably the best rebuild in baseball history.

Why
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Waggoner

Teheran won’t bring a Shelby Miller haul. He can get 1 very good prospect and a minor piece. Albies and Swanson should both start next year in the minors or they are wasting a year of control. Having smith and inciarte both as starters doesn’t make sense. They have the same toolset with inciarte the better player, smith is just a 4th of. They are giving a lot of the young guys chances to start, but in the end folty, jenkins, newcombe, gant are relievers. Wisler and blair are mid rotation upside but more likely 4/5 guys. Allard is the one legit frontline guy but he is 3 yrs away minimum.

Reed Storm
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Waggoner

Best rebuild in baseball history? Coppy is that you?

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Waggoner

Why said….

Thanks for the thoroughly pessimistic outlook on the Braves future. Your takes make absolutely no sense when you consider there is already talk of bringing up Albies and Swanson right now, but in your expertise they should stay in the minors a whole other year. Smith and Inciarte shouldn’t both be starters? Well, they’re both starters now and if the Braves don’t improve the OF, like exactly how I have it in the lineup I proposed, they’d be starting again. Folty, Jenkins, Newcomb, and Gant are relievers? Excuse me, I need to walk away and laugh for a moment. Stick to your day job.

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Waggoner

“but can they compete? Absolutely”

Eehhhh….that rotation isn’t scaring *anyone*. Nor is that lineup, for that matter, with ??? as your cleanup hitter and a well-past-his-prime-which-was-never-that-prime-to-begin-with Markakis in the five hole.

“This is arguably the best rebuild in baseball history.”

Eehhhhh…..

BrockJ
6 years ago

This is a really one sided article…so basically, you had not a single interview that offered insight…just some fans complaining. I don’t understand how anyone who has actually been to a game at the Ted who can disagree with moving the team. It is in a run down part of town, my car got broken into right down the road, and traffic is horrible without the move to Cobb. This is possibly one of the worst articles I’ve ever read…terrible interviews….a teacher, a real estate developer from Massachusetts, and an attorney. Wow. Those guys are bound to know baseball.

John G.
6 years ago
Reply to  BrockJ

Fortunately, some random guy posting as “BrockJ” is here to balance out the Braves fans who were quoted in the article. Wow. That comment is much more credible.

Burns
6 years ago

A lot of Braves’ fans born around the 80’s 90’s have never lived through a bad Braves team with the 13 straight division titles. That’s what is making it so hard for Braves fans to understand any kind of rebuild process

ArtieMacon
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

I lived thru them, and you are wrong. I know you mean on the field today, at this moment. But unlike today, there was no strong farm system, or a new stadium surrounded by bars and restaurants, or even a hint of a plan. The hands-on individual owner that folks dream about now was killing the team, though unintentionally. The 3500 or so fans peed in a damn trough! I agree that the product on the field stinks today, but the situation is very much better than in the decades of losing.

Kyle
6 years ago

I have several issues with this piece, so let me lay them out as simply as possible. First, what was the alternative with the roster? This team is terrible this year, but they always were going to be. Heyward and Justin Upton were leaving. Medlen and Minor’s pitching arms failed them. Simmons cannot hit. The team has a limited payroll and until last year, they had no farm system. Yes, the Braves could have gone all in for the 2015 season, but what would that have netted? A division title? Maybe. A playoff win? Unlikely. The bullpen would still have been mediocre with Kimbrel, the offense would have been feast or famine, and the starting rotation would not have been good enough to win. The Braves have not won a playoff series since 2001! 2001! Fredi won 1 playoff game in his tenure as manager and had 2 awful collapses with “loaded” teams and the depleted team last which fell off the cliff in the second half. Let’s go back to 2014 when Hart and Coppy started wheeling and dealing, and negate them all. What does the current roster and farm system look like? Your 2016 Braves would be the following: C – Gattis/Bethancourt, 1B – Freeman, 2B – Peraza/LaStella, SS – Simmons, 3B – C. Johnson, LF – Terdoslavich/K. Johnson, CF – Melvin Upton, RF – Francouer/Cunningham. SP – Teheran, Wood, Norris, Perez, Weber. RP – Kimbrel, Avillan, 5 warm bodies. Top Nine Prospects according to MLB Pipeline (current, actual team rank in parentheses) 1. Albies (3), 2. Sims (12), 3. Davidson (15), 4. Acuna (23), 5. Hursh (24), 6. Carmargo (25), 7. Povse (26), 8. Cabrera (28), 9. Parsons (29). Anyone drafted last year cannot be counted due to the draft picks acquired via trade and a different approach to building a team would likely skew the draft philosophy. Maybe they still draft Allard or maybe they draft the best available college guy with a hope to plug him in this season or next. We do not know. This team would have be awful for years to come, not just 2-3, which is the current plan/projections. And all for, at best, what, 20 more wins in 2015? 5 more wins in 2016? This team was destined to be terrible this year, but at least now there is some hope for the future.

Now onto Turner Field. It is not like the Braves are moving to Chattanooga. They are moving to a suburb of Atlanta. Yes, they are moving because they could not fleece the city of Atlanta taxpayers like they are in Cobb County, but all this nostalgia about Turner Field is baffling. The stadium is wildly generic, is the epitome of mediocre Braves baseball, and a death trap (3 deaths since 2008). Traffic to SunTrust Park will be awful, but so is the traffic to Turner Field, it is Atlanta after all. On opening day, it took us over 1 hour to travel less than 3 miles to the ballpark. The new ballpark might not solve any of these issues, and if that pisses you off great, because it should, but being mad because the park is in a suburb and there will be traffic is woefully idiotic.

The biggest issue with losing fans are all of the hot take pieces like this one and what routinely runs in the AJC. The current Braves are an easy target and fanning the flames of fan hatred is easier than being objective and honest about the situation. The Simmons and Wood trades are abysmal thus far, and deserve some vitriol spewed their way. But remember, if Newcomb lives up to his potential, he is the ace that Braves have need since the early 2000’s. If he doesn’t, then the Braves traded Ozzie Smith for the worst SS in the game, even if this gross decline in Aybar could not have been fully predicted. The mid-2000’s in Atlanta are also to blame for the team’s current plight. The pursuit of 14 consecutive division titles and then 1 last hurrah for the old guard was short-sighted, and robbed the team of some very good prospects for rentals on teams that were not good enough to win the World Series. Was 1 excellent season of JD Drew worth the career of Adam Wainwright? One year of Teixeira, with 6+ WAR, worth 5 prospects that ultimately put Texas where Atlanta wanted to be, the World Series? These Braves teams were not merely a piece away, but the trades were done as if they were. A little more prudence then would be beneficial now. I, for one, am happy that the Braves are not putting bandaids on bullet wounds anymore, and hopefully the team can maintain a prolonged success once again.

I’m sure that my stance will not be well received here, but these denunciations have already grown beyond tiresome, and it is still only May.

@bke161

lambert white
6 years ago
Reply to  Kyle

fantastic outlook on the team…..you sir, are a great American!

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  lambert white

Agreed, Remmington out, Kyle you’re in.

ArtieMacon
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob

Yes, Alex, please cut Kyle’s reply out and paste it to your wall. It’s called critical thinking, not just being Katie Couric-like and selecting quotes to fit your purpose.

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  ArtieMacon

So that’s the secret! “Stances I agree with” = critical thinking. “Stances I disagree with” = Katie Couric (?!)

I thought the article was even-handed. Showed lots of fans are generally frustrated with the current direction of the club but many of them having pretty good perspective about it. Then again, I lack critical thinking skills because I’m a Katie Couric clone (or…something?)

E-Gaz
6 years ago
Reply to  Kyle

“The mid-2000’s in Atlanta are also to blame for the team’s current plight. The pursuit of 14 consecutive division titles and then 1 last hurrah for the old guard was short-sighted, and robbed the team of some very good prospects for rentals on teams that were not good enough to win the World Series. Was 1 excellent season of JD Drew worth the career of Adam Wainwright? One year of Teixeira, with 6+ WAR, worth 5 prospects that ultimately put Texas where Atlanta wanted to be, the World Series? These Braves teams were not merely a piece away, but the trades were done as if they were.”

I don’t really disagree with that but the problem is the same guys who made those decisions are STILL IN CHARGE.

Kyle
6 years ago
Reply to  E-Gaz

Not exactly. Schuerholz and Cox are still involved, but Copplella and Hart are pulling the strings. For proof of this, look no further than Fredi finally getting fired.

John G.
6 years ago
Reply to  Kyle

OK. You’re a Braves fan. We get it. The biggest issue with these sorts of hot take responses is that a few vocal members of the fan base get so worked up over how wonderful their team is that they fail to grasp the basic point of the article (*perceptions* of the team’s actions in this case, as opposed to whether or not the actions themselves are or will be the greatest decisions ever made in the history of MLB), and instead they just spew off-topic vitriol at the author and anyone else who doesn’t unconditionally praise the Braves for the inherent infallibility of the franchise.

For the rest of us, it is an interesting article, even if we all don’t agree on every point. I’m sure that my stance will not be well received here, but those sorts of denunciations (“my team is perfect and you are a #@*&ing #@*& if you don’t say that my team is perfect”) have grown tiresome.

Clinton
6 years ago

I was going to make similar points as Ryan Bruce but he speaks for me. Go tell me how that loaded roster of 2014 is actually doing today. They are collectively terrible and the Braves were able to restock their severely depleted farm system in under 18 months to make it a top 5 farm system. It’s actually a miracle they are at where they are in terms of future talent and will climb even further ahead of the pack after this crop of international signings and high draft picks. Also, this idea that the new stadium is so far outside the city limits is ridiculous. It’s just barely outside the perimeter. Only 400k people live inside the city limits and almost 5 million live in the suburbs. Everyone north of the city (which is most of the fanbase) hated the commute to get down to the Ted. I’m not saying that the commute to the new stadium is going to be great but at least it will be closer to a majority of their fans.

DailyPlung
6 years ago

I’m 37. I was born in Atlanta. I grew up outside of Columbus. I went to the first ever World Series game in Atlanta. I live in Florida now and watch most of the games. I don’t care if they play games in Stone Mountain. I never had any great affinity for Turner Field where they have a 15-22 postseason record. It’s a converted Olympic Stadium with nothing of interest going on around the park.

It’s a pain in the ass to get to the park and there’s nothing to do around the park. It has a great skyline. I don’t care. Atlanta isn’t NYC. It’s always been a sprawl town. I think it’s dumb taxpayers keep getting screwed by paying for these parks, but I don’t begrudge the Braves for finding a sucker to build them one. Falcons fans don’t seem to mind that Atlanta is also paying for pointless new dome.

The Braves haven’t won a postseason series in over a decade. Hart was brought in the season after we won the division b/c the front office realized that things were falling apart on the farm. Wren had run off a lot of our top talent scouts.

If you want to bitch and moan and blame someone for the Braves troubles find the morons who signed the TV contract. That’s the Braves biggest revenue issue. The Braves front office can’t do anything about that for another 12 years. They have to do something and this rebuild is necessary. I applaud them for doing the right thing even though the “man on the street” is apparently too dumb to realize it’s the only way this team will win in the long run.

Maddog31
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

But that’s not all you pointed out in your article is it? You lambasted the moves since 2014 as all bad (and as many pointed out, failed to mention what has to be one of the best trades of all time) without evaluating the alternatives. Kyle above lays out what sticking with that 2013 team would have meant, and that disaster is squarely on poor decisions and planning on the part of the brain trust that won the division in 2013.

Yes, Coppolella and crew haven’t gotten it all right (pro tip, NO ONE does), and aesthetically, you’re right, this team would be a lot more fun night in and night out watching Simmons conduct his wizardry at SS. But the plan appears to be a good one and I’ll still enjoy Freeman and see which young players come up and build the foundation of the next great Braves team. Bitching about it in #hottakes here or on the AJC doesn’t do a damn thing.

Public financing of stadiums is stupid, losing sucks, but in the zero-sum game of sports, sometimes it takes a tough rebuild to put a winning product back on the field. That’s what the Braves are doing now.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

So clearly you just admitted that this was purely a trash piece in order for you to complain. You grabbed quotes to fit your narrative and you ignored any that ran counter. It’s cool if you’re not happy with what’s going on, but don’t pretend your opinion is in the majority. It’s disingenuous.

How about next time, before writing an article bashing the team you’re supposed to be a fan of, you think about what you would have done instead and write an article about that. It’s easy to complain, it’s a lot harder to actually have to think of solutions yourself and put them out there to be ridiculed.

John G.
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Waggoner

Wow. It’s an article about perceptions of the franchise. Average attendance at Braves games has dropped to 21,000+ so far in 2016, down nearly 10,000 from 31,000+ in 2013, and only about half of the 42,000+ per game in the season that Turner Field was opened.

It’s cool if you’re happy with everything the Braves have been doing. But don’t pretend that your opinion, that it’s “arguably the best rebuild in baseball history,” is in the majority. *That* is disingenuous.

How about next time, before bashing a writer who put a thoughtful article out there, you think about what the article was actually about (e.g. perceptions of the rebuild, as opposed to the rebuild itself)? It’s easy to complain; it’s a lot harder to actually comment on-topic.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  John G.

Thoughtful? You think this “article” was thoughtful? It was merely a garbage piece written to air a personal grievance that the team he “roots for” is currently losing. It’s called rebuilding and every single team in sports does it. If you can’t handle that then maybe watching sports isn’t for you.

It doesn’t have to be all pie in the sky, but when you compare what the Braves are doing compared to what the Cubs, Pirates, and Royals have done, it’s pretty clear the Braves have put themselves in a better position to win faster than those other teams.

And I still stick by my assertion that it’s easy to bash the team, it’s a lot harder to come up with solutions of your own. This writer would have been better served doing that than wasting 2000 words complaining and questioning everything.

And what, Alex can’t defend his words? You have to do it for him?

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Waggoner

Agreed, I thought the article was thoughtful also. Maybe it’s just you. “HOW ABOUT NEXT TIME” you sit this one out, chief. Maybe just stop talking for a bit.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

So clearly you just admitted that this was purely a trash piece in order for you to complain. You grabbed quotes to fit your narrative and you ignored any that ran counter. It’s cool if you’re not happy with what’s going on, but don’t pretend your opinion is in the majority. It’s disingenuous.

How about next time, before writing an article bashing the team you’re supposed to be a fan of, you think about what you would have done instead and write an article about that. It’s easy to complain, it’s a lot harder to actually have to think of solutions yourself and put them out there to be ridiculed.

Daniel
6 years ago

My feelings towards the Braves are summed up by the quote
“Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”
Were we built for the long term? No. Did we need a rebuild? Yes.
The problem is that ownership/management mistreats fans and cities. Remember “parallel paths” and “we are a better team”? The team has driven up prices while slashing payroll. They have fleeced cities for stadiums (http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-atlanta-braves-stadium/). They will not admit to mistakes. They need to tell the fans we are bad, we know it, and we make mistakes instead of tooting their own horns.

Amru
6 years ago

You know what makes this team watchable for me? Even in the midst of a historically poor season, there are still flashes of brilliance.

The Andrelton trade was tough for a lot of reasons, but I’d wager to say that Ender Inciarte is about as close to Simmons as it comes in defensive ability, tenacity, and baseball acumen. Win or lose, his effort is always all-out, which is more than can be said of a few unnamed players on the roster. He’s already won over a lot of fans.

Mallex Smith is still incredibly raw and often overmatched, but he’s already starting to adjust. Once he works out the base-stealing, he’s an exciting talent.

Teheran and Wisler are two of the top pitchers in baseball. Sure, they get no run support, but their effort isn’t lost on the fans. Will Teheran be traded too? Probably, but not for less than a king’s ransom now that Strasburg is off the FA market.

See, that’s one thing this article ignores: The majority of these trades have been wins. Heyward trade? Huge win. Justin Upton trade? Huge win. Kimbrel/Upton trade? Win. KJ/Uribe?Win. Shelby Miller? Huge win. Olivera trade has, to this point, been an utter disaster, but let’s see who they get with the competitive balance draft pick before damning the whole thing. And as for the Simmons trade, Aybar was a throw-in and a placeholder, trade bait at best. The big get was Newcomb and Ellis. Newcomb is still raw, but the upside is definitely there. That’s what keeps fans watching, is that there’s a plan in place. Coppolella acknowledged that not every prospect gamble is gonna hit, but he’s accumulating enough talent to mitigate those losses.

The on-field product stinks, but any educated baseball fan knows the ends justify the means. I’d rather wait a few years to see a cohesive team win together than a random jumble of miscellaneous parts. As for the jaded fans, they’ll be back once the winning starts.

tengopreguntas
6 years ago
Reply to  Amru

“Teheran and Wisler are two of the top pitchers in baseball. ”

Uh, what? By fWAR Teheran has been the 32nd best pitcher and Matt Wisler is 47th.

W.C.G.
6 years ago

Thank you for writing this, Alex. I’ve been feeling exactly this way for the last couple years. Some of the commenters here are focusing on what I think is the wrong question – the question isn’t “was this rebuild strategy necessary and will it work?” The question is “what relationship does this organization have with its fans?” And all evidence points to the idea that they see us as idiots with wallets, which isn’t a good look.

Since that playoff loss where Fredi kept Kimbrel in the bullpen, the organization has:

– sprung a secretly-negotiated publicly-funded stadium deal out of the blue, without the approval of the taxpayers responsible for paying for it (and this week’s chairman election indicates that Cobb County’s voters do not, in fact, approve)

– fired one guy at the head of the FO and internally promoted the rest of the FO, while pushing a narrative that the one guy they fired had decimated the MiLB system

– made Astros-style teardown trades while never publicly acknowledging that they’re deliberately getting worse in the present to be better in the future. (“Dual-track,” “we think there’s a case to be made that we’re better with Aybar,” etc. If Coppolella is as good at player evaluation as he is at basic PR, expect a lot more Olivera trades.) Just say what you’re doing out loud! Sam Hinkie at least did that.

– made no concession to the fact that they’re offering nothing to come out for. Would it kill them to offer half-price food and beer or something? Even the Falcons just did that and they’re competitive!

– made no effort to help the people who would want to go to their games next year actually get there. There’s no public transportation AND fewer parking spaces at the new park, and there’s a pedestrian bridge that may or may not get built because the ballpark had to be presented as fait accompli before anyone could vote against it or iron out all the funding issues.

It’s one thing to be a bad baseball team for a while. We can all deal with that. It’s another to constantly piss on your customers’ heads and tell them it’s raining. That’s where you lose people. That’s where they’ve lost me.

Brian L
6 years ago
Reply to  W.C.G.

Hinkie got fired for being honest. You’ve already solved why Coppy & co. have to be optimistic and basically lie. They can’t see their plan out of they’re fired midway through.

Windu
6 years ago

The rebuild was necessary. Their farm system was horrible, they had no money, they had key offensive players leaving the next winter and their rotation was a mess. They were either going to be a .500 team in 2014 and really bad for many years to come or really bad for a shorter period of time with cheap talent and payroll flexibility on in the future. The minor league affiliates have been fun to watch, lots of pitching depth and after this draft and international signing period they should have the unanimous #1 farm system. The future is bright with the braves, you just have to be patient.

phil
6 years ago

Fans being upset their team is bad. I’m flabbergasted.

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  phil

On the contrary! Some think they’re in the midst of the greatest rebuild IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. (See inexplicable comments above.)

Bob
6 years ago

As a resident of the city of Atlanta and also as a Braves fan for 20+, I can say this article pretty much sums up how myself and how most of my fellow baseball friends feel. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but it hits on my personal experience perfectly and the same could be said of those that I know.

It’s not just simply the recent rebuild, either. All teams have rebuilds. No, this has been a long, drawn-out, relentless, ~10-yr emotional beat-down of the fans… and that’s something that a lot of us are never coming back from. Never.

Dick Enz
6 years ago

I now live Florida. I have been a Braves fan since 1953 when I lived in Wisconsin. I tend to agree with the writers that claim that the Braves Front Office does not care about the fans is not truthful about wanting to improve the team. They trade away good players for players like Aybar, Inciarte, and Olivares. To fill the roster they sign castoffs like Franceur, Johnson, Pierzinski, and Stubbs. I don’t see Why the Braves keep Aybar and continue to play him. He can’t hit. he can’t field, he can’t throw, and he makes bad decisions. The Braves scouts must have been drunk when they evaluated Olivares and Inciarte. Even if Olivares weren’t in legal trouble, can’t hit and neither can Inciarte. The Braves have players currently on the bench that are better players than these and the Braves should play them.

Tommy Poe
6 years ago
Reply to  Dick Enz

For what it’s worth, his name is Olivera.

And they also got Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis in addition to Erick Aybar. They didn’t trade anyone to acquire Aybar. They wanted Newcomb and Ellis.

And they also got Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair in addition to Ender Inciarte, who is every bit the player Shelby Miller is (if not better).

Bob
6 years ago

This article pretty much unreadable for me. How do people not grasp the fact that our young core from a few years back weren’t actually that good. We sold high and did very well with the returns. Our future is much brighter right now and that isn’t even counting this year’s IFA’s and 2016 + 2017 draft (#3 overall pick and probably another top 3 pick).

I get that people are upset with this year’s team and feel anger with the front office about the product being put out on the field. Those same people, for the most part, aren’t aware about the young talent making its way up. This article fails to point out that the Braves went from #30 to #3 farm system in a year and a half. That is almost unheard of. After this year’s draft and IFA signings we will almost certainly be first.

I guess what I’m getting at is why write such a negative article? Why not write something positive and show the fans there is something to look forward to. Is it just easy low hanging fruit when pressed for an article. I get we are very bad and will be for the next couple of years. I’m just tired of short sighted articles being put out one after another.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

So now you are proposing that the training staff is alienating the fans?

Steve
6 years ago

Our minor league system is one of the best in baseball now. In the next few months when Albies, Newcomb, Jenkins, and Swanson etc get called up, how high will our minor-league system rank then? A good GM would have been able to find a way to keep Heyward for home discount, not get rid of the only Lefty in our rotation Alex Wood, and not trade Simmons who was the most exciting player I’ve seen on the field since Andruw.. a good GM would have been able to do all these things and build our minor leagues at the same time.

Jimmy
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve

As soon as the young prospects gain a little seasoning at the major league level, will we trade them to rebuild for future again?

tengopreguntas
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve

@ Steve -Found a way to keep Heyward at a discount? This isn’t a video game, you can’t force things. Which gm has been able to do the things that you suggest. Your post is wrong for so very many reasons.

Sleepy
6 years ago
Steve Cole
6 years ago

The first casualty of the re-build was Tommy LaStella, who could actually put the ball in play. Fans clamored long and hard for him to be brought up to replace Uggla. When he finally was, he became practically the only Brave who could get a hit. He’s now on the Cubs major league roster. I frequently see his name in their box-scores. The Cubs are probably the best MLB team, so LaStella’s presence on their big team speaks well of him. Who do the Braves ultimately have now in their system as the result of shipping LaStella to the Cubs? Why has he seemingly been forgotten by fans who list the bad trades?

tengopreguntas
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve Cole

they traded lastella for vizcaino.

Steve Cole
6 years ago
Reply to  tengopreguntas

Oh! Well, I guess that’s sorta OK, then. Thanks, tp! (Still, though….he could move runners around with timely hits. Oh, well.)

MNewton
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve Cole

You mean the guy that hit .251/.328/.317 with a -.04WAR and 85 WRC+ when he played for ATL? He’s currently sporting a BAPIP 40 points higher than his career norm. Don’t think that he’s all of a sudden morphed into a different player because he’s on the Cubs now. His defense is still suspect and when he regresses back to his norm he’ll still be the same fringe starter/utility player he always was. Trading him for someone who has turned into one of the best closers this year was a no brainer.

Ben T. Mause
6 years ago

Good article. But what yall need to get is this is a REBUILD. It isn’t supposed to be pretty. It’s not fun. But the Braves front office has done and looks like they will continue to do what NEEDS to be done for this team to not only contend, but win a World Series. You said it yourself, the Braves only have three titles. I admire the front office for doing what they have to do to build a World Series winning team, even though they know the process to reach it stinks, and that the fans would hate it. But if they succeed, the fans and sports writers will call them geniuses.
About trading Simba for pitching prospects. Yes, it hurts, but as great as Simba was with the glove, he doesn’t have much offense. Not to mention we have two exciting SS prospects nearly ready for the bigs. I know they are prospects, but this is the way to rebuild a dynasty like the one in the 90s.
Completely agree with the stadium though. Should’ve left it in Atlanta.

Caleb T.
6 years ago

I’d be interested to see where this writer stands in a couple of years when the Braves are thrashing through the National League, like the Cubs – a team that suffered through several years of awful product. If Braves fans are as fair-weather as we’re assuming, myself not included, then they will be flocking to SunTrust Park when they’re winning with extensive pitching depth and all-star middle infielders Swanson and Albies. Let’s go ask some more people that have no knowledge of how franchises build winning teams and see what their expert opinion on the matter is.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Caleb T.

Alex will then write 2000 word articles on how great the Braves FO is.

Jason B
6 years ago
Reply to  Caleb T.

“I’d be interested to see where this writer stands in a couple of years when the Braves are thrashing through the National League”

Eehhhhh…..

Stinky
6 years ago

Good article. I watched some horrible 70’s and 80’s Braves teams that never even sniffed of the likely 120 losses that the 2016 edition of my favorite team is likely to endure. Those teams were bad. This team is putrid.
My confidence in the front office is shaken to the point that I keep imagining that I smell ostriches. (Anyone remember the Braves ostrich races in the 70’s?)
Anyway, the smell of a bad front office / ostrich is in the air and it permeates everything. We supposedly have a top 3 farm system (with lots of pitchers who had lots of surgeries at young ages). A lot of the same people who praise that system also predicted 65-67 wins for the braves this year. Hah. I’ll be elated if they win 50.
And the bald, short, snot nosed, Snuffy Smith looking suck up GM who strutted around after the Shelby Miller trade assured every one that the Bravos would be better this year. So he knows what he’s talking about, right?
And his mentor, the should be retired, senile, tap dancing President of Baseball Operations wouldn’t formally state that the Braves were in rebuild mode for more than a year. His lie of omission was an insult and now the fans are staying home. (Less than 20k attendance on a Friday night against the fish.)
I know teams have to take a step back sometimes. But the Braves gutted their roster and then amputated vital, minimal components of that roster to the extent that the 100+ year old franchise is now reduced to playing like a worst case scenario expansion team.

Jeremy benischeck
6 years ago

Let’s look at the players they got rid of and see if we are doing the right thing

J-hay yet to hit a homerun this year and is batting around 230-240
Justin upton having the worst year of his career
Shelby Miller trade some calling it the most lopsided trade ever and with him having a terrible season u start to see a trend here
We do have one of the best farm systems in baseball due to the trades we are basically doing the same blueprint as the Cubs and Astros but we did it much quicker with this draft and the international pool of players we are going to get this year the future is very bright

Col. Edwin
6 years ago

Sure hope there’s going to be a follow-up article telling us more about the throngs of Braves’ faithful who spent 1974 rooting for Buzz Capra to win the ERA championship.

I see that his home starts after the first of September drew an average of almost 3700 fans. How else did their enthusiasm manifest itself? Did they stop by Chief Noc-A-Homa’s tent and get buzz-scalped? Did they sit in the upper deck with a giant slide rule and recalculate Buzz’s ERA as opposing batters paraded back to the dugout?

If a guy who edits a magazine for disc jockeys says it’s true, it must have happened.

John G.
6 years ago
Reply to  Col. Edwin

If a random guy posting as “Col. Edwin” misinterprets a quotation of a Braves fan, it must be the new true meaning of that Braves fan’s comments. After all, he’s a Colonel.

Chris Maurice
6 years ago

Hey Alex, how about interviewing one person from… Atlanta for your expose on the despair of the Braves fan.
To me the last quote with the guy from Boston, with no ties to Atlanta, complaining about the team moving to Cobb County perfectly sums up the stadium moving experience. People from the northeast talking down about it while atlantans are happy because it is going to improve the experience.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Remington

Bingo.

Brent
6 years ago

Some of these posters (as well as the author of this garbage article) do not remember the rotten years. The 1991 team had no chance either.

Spencer Swinson
6 years ago

If this is how you feel then you aren’t a real fan and don’t understand that for every hill (The 90s/early 00s) there is a valley. Went to the game today and it still feels like my first Braves’ game everytime. The new front office has performed magic setting up the organization for a lot of future success.

Bob
6 years ago

Everyone has their own opinion of the Braves, but it really just comes down to what your expectations are of an organization. Ever since Ted Turner left, there’s been a growing segment of the fanbase that feels the organization hasn’t made a good faith effort to put the most competitive team possible on the field. That bothers some people and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for closely watching the last 15 years or so and being turned off… and if someone genuinely feels that way, it wouldn’t make any sense to invest their time, money, emotions, etc. It’s good to be a fan, but there’s no harm in looking at an organization objectively.

As with all businesses, it matters if the company genuinely cares about making a worthwhile product for its customers.

Ryan Waggoner
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob

If there are fans that think the Braves haven’t made an effort to win since Ted Turner left then they haven’t been paying attention. They traded for JD Drew, they signed Gary Sheffield, they traded for Mark Texieria, they signed Lowe (The 2nd best FA pitcher that offseason), they brought up Heyward and Freeman early, they traded for Dan Uggla. The Braves have done quite a lot in order to win, while having payroll constraints the entire time. The fact that, prior to the rebuild, they had only 2 losing seasons since Turner sold the team speaks to the fact that there was good faith by the FO to build a winner; it just didn’t work out.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Waggoner

Well, the primary reasons they had to overpay on that 4th year to Lowe, hand three years to Kawakami, and trade for Vazquez that offseason was because they’d gone cheap on the rotation for years and were literally starting to panic on whether or not they were actually going to get enough innings from their staff to complete a 9 inning ballgame. For years the rotation had been cobbled together with journeyman middle relievers like Jorge Campillo and Buddy Carlyle. They were more than content to trot out pre-arbitration JoJo Reyes for 100+ innings. They weren’t that far removed for low-balling Smoltz. It wasn’t that they were splurging on Lowe, it’s that they’d backed themselves into a corner and really had no choice but to make sure he was in ATL and to also overpay for an unproven international free agent.

Same thing with Uggla. For years, they’d been talking about finally acquiring a RH power bat before eventually opting to sign a cheaper option: we’re talking about the likes of Garret Anderson, Brandon Jones, and Josh Anderson. We’re talking about settling on platooning Matt Diaz (yet again) with some bargain bin veteran because it was cheaper than paying up for a real solution…. and then Uggla wound up being available for next to nothing on the trade market because the Marlins were asking too much and teams like SF didn’t think his defense at 2B was worth it. ATL jumped on him not because he was the answer, but because he wound up being dirt cheap. He cost them a utility player and a reliever. They promptly handed him an extension because at that point it was clear that landing 30 homers in free agency was going to be more expensive and they didn’t want to put themselves in a position where they’d have to actually pay for a more well-rounded player. So, they took the cheaper route and extended the highly flawed player that other teams didn’t want. We saw how that ended.

The same thing happened with BJ Upton. One of the first things Wren said when he landed BJ was that they felt comfortable pouncing on Upton because they thought the CF market was on the verge of really getting out of hand and they felt like BJ was going to wind up being the most cost effective option. So, just like Uggla, they ignored all the red flags and pounced on what they thought would be the cheaper option.

The most important thing, above all else, is to remember the context in which all of this happened. Every year (for 15+ years) this team would make a staggering early exit in the playoffs, or collapse in the last few weeks of the regular season, and every offseason we’d get the same penny-pinching with the offense, the same platoons with cheap veterans, and the same half-measure middle relievers to fill in the holes in the rotation. Every year the disappointment would get a bit heavier and every year we say goodbye to players that were getting too expensive or long for free agents that we knew from the start weren’t going to be offered enough money to come down to Atlanta.

I hope things change one day, but the way this franchise operates is disappointing. There’s just no way around it.

BuccosFan
6 years ago

Fans have a right to be upset. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t a “real fan” if you are upset with the product on the field. As a Pirates fan, I was beyond fed up with hearing that line. The Pirates fielded dreadful teams for many years that were, as this article put it, unwatchable.

I hope the commenters that made points about how quickly the Braves appear to be rebuilding are correct. I wouldn’t want the Braves fanbase to suffer through 2 decades of losing like the Pirates.

But we Pirates’ fans were told many times over those twenty years that the team was “rebuilding”… only to have any even halfway decent player traded away for “prospects” as soon as he played well enough to have any value. It was unbelievably frustrating. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t like there were superstars coming through town, but now and then a decent enough player would put in some time (but never for long).

The organization finally changed hands and has been on an upward trajectory for the last few years. It has been a fun ride. Even so, we are skeptical of the front office after this last off-season, when the team did virtually nothing to strengthen itself while Division rival Cubs dominated the scene. The lack of activity is haunting the team now with very mediocre starting pitching and dreadful relief pitching. Stellar offense is the only reason the team is not far below .500. If the offense “comes back to earth”, the playoffs will be a pipedream, and a losing season could be a reality.

I say all that to say this: “real fans” analyze what they see. They get mad when the organization insults them by fielding minor league teams at the major league level. If it is a true rebuild, then there is hope at the end. If it is like the many Kevin McClatchy inspired “rebuilds”… good luck.

Luke
6 years ago
Reply to  BuccosFan

Being upset with the product on the field can be just as thoughtless and myopic as unconditional optimism and support.

If you understand the value of prospects and the situation the organization was in at the end of 2014, there’s no reason to feel despondent over what’s happened since then. Certain moves have been questionable, but it’s terribly easy to cherry pick bad decisions over a long enough time period.

It kind of sucks watching the Braves right now. It’s impossible to approach the MLB Braves without a scintilla of cynicism. They’re horrendous. But that’s not because they traded for Olivera, traded away Simmons, or decided to use taxpayer money to build a stadium in the suburbs.

I make jokes about the team’s (lack of) quality, I’m critical of transactions and acquisitions I don’t like (see above paragraph), and I’m still fairly comfortable with the state of the organization. The rebuild may not work out. Rebuilds are risky. But after 2014, there wasn’t much of a choice.

Elliott
6 years ago

With all respect, this article is one of the most Bravey things an (assumed) Braves fan/sympathizer could write. I think there are real important conversations to be had about Liberty Media’s ownership, public stadium financing in general, the traffic issues that will exist around the new field and the general inability of this offense to score runs right now. However, you seem to try and coalesce all of these moot, minor, debateable gripes (failure of Olivera trade, despite Wood being equally terrible in terms of value over the same stretch, trade of Simmons, who’s on the DL anyway and still NOT HITTING, etc) into a story about how the FO is “betraying fans”. Please, tell me who the Braves should have/could have spent money on this off-season that wouldn’t be wasting a year or two worth of value on a team not ready to compete. The answer is there aren’t those types of players available in todays MLB. You either build through the draft, trade from the farm or pay ~15 mil per win (/WAR) for a guy and sacrifice long term flexibility. This team had too many holes, it was always going to be bad.

If you really think people won’t watch when the team is good again in 2-3 seasons, well, you don’t watch sports. Plenty of Cubbies hats popping up all around town all of the sudden this Spring.

Curly McLain
6 years ago

As a Braves fan who suffered through a lot of losing seasons, I occasionally wondered why I spent so much of my time this way. Then finally, I did it! I cut the cord! I quit following them. Quit reading the box scores every morning. Quit tuning the games in on the radio. I had moved away and didnt have cable and didnt see other people every day who talked about the team or saw the headlines in the paper. I could go several days without wondering how the Braves were doing. Maybe check the standings once a week. I felt like I no longer had this scarlet letter on my forehead. Unfortunately, the year was 1991, and such forced indifference was never going to last.

So this time around, I think I will just bide my time. They do stink, but Go Braves.

Marc Schneider
6 years ago

I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. First, some of the comments and fans, generally, seem obsessed over the evils of “corporate ownership.” While I have no great love for corporations or Liberty Media, in particular, let’s not romanticize the benefits of individual owners. How would you like a team owned by Peter Angelos (O’s) or Jeffrey Loria (Marlins) or, until a couple of years ago the Dodgers (I can’t remember the names). Fans are seduced by the idea that individual owners automatically want to win and will do whatever it takes. Well, that’s not necessarily true and, even if it is, that’s not always a good thing. Look at Detroit, where Mike Illitch is apparently desperate to win a World Series before he dies. From a fan’s standpoint, he is spending money hand over fist to try to bring a championship. But, the Tigers haven’t won a championship, and their insistence on winning now has resulted in a pretty barren farm system and an aging major league core. Peter Angelos has been a disaster for the O’s. At least Liberty Media hasn’t tried to make baseball decisions, at least as far as I know. I have lots of issues with Liberty Media, not the least of which is sticking taxpayers with the bill for a new stadium, but those kinds of shenanigans aren’t limited to corporate owners. The fact is, individual ownership is no panacea.

Alex talked about the young core of the team after the 2013 division title. But, IMO, the core wasn’t that good. That team had a career year from Chris Johnson. But look at the others. The pitchers (Medlen, Beachy, Minor) have all gotten hurt. Freddie Freeman is a good but not great player. Everyone bemoans the trade of Andrelton Simmons, but this was a good (alright, great) field, no hit guy. It’s not clear that (1) Simmons’ offense will ever get much better, or (2) that his defense will not get worse.

The big issue, though, was Jason Heyward. It was obvious the Braves weren’t going to keep him. IN fact, the trades for the Uptons were designed to go for the ring while they still had Heyward. But, while I know there is a lot of dispute over just how good Heyward is, I can’t really blame the Braves for not wanting to spend big money on a guy that is, at best, a slightly above average hitter, no matter how good his base running and defense are. I suppose you could chastise Liberty Media for not being willing to overpay for Heyward, as I think the Cubs do, but the point is, once Heyward was gone, the Braves had no reason not to try to rebuild because the remaining core just was not championship caliber.

Now, Alex has said in the past that it’s easier to go from being a mediocre team to being a great team and that might be true. I’m not going to argue that the Braves did not go too far in tearing the team down. But I don’t really buy the idea that the Braves were in great shape if they had just kept the core of the team together.

MG
6 years ago

I’m not even sure what the point of this article was besides some basic rehashing of well-known shortcomings the Braves have had this season.

Braves still have a very good farm system, two very tradeable players in Freeman & Teheran, and are poised to have a very high draft pick along with spending big on the international markets this year.

Fans in Atlanta are simply fair weather fans when it comes to all sports but college football for several reasons with the most notable one being the high degree of transplants to the area. Atlanta has lost 2 NHL hockey teams in the past 35 years, the Falcons only attract wider attention when they are among the best teams in the NFL, and the Hawks can’t get good attendance or ratings even when they put a very good product (2014-15 team that went 60-22) on the floor.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  MG

Most fans I know aren’t put off by the rebuild… or the present short-comings of the team. Has more to do with the last 15 years and a perception that the front office is complacent.

Not everyone shares that view, but that’s to root of the negative opinions.

Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob

*the root

mike
6 years ago

Did not the taxpayers pay for the new stadium and not ‘the Braves?’ Further, they did not win 14 straight division titles, they won three, nobody won in ’94, and then they won eleven. Impressive, but not 14 in a row.
The team will get better eventually, but fleecing taxpayers to replace a stadium barely twenty years old is wrong, problems with the surrounding area notwithstanding.

Jwillie
6 years ago

Let me say this. I have been a Braves fan since 1956. I use to crawl up on the counter top in the kitchen when my parents were sleeping to listen to night games, so I have a extensive history. The current status is sad and unbelievable. This management group has destroyed the Braves. For the price that is charged for the experienced, these people need to look in the mirror. 1# this management group needs to be compensated on performance or fans in ATL need to protest until they are replaced. I now live in Florida so I have little opportunity to watch the Braves so I have no skin in the game. This organization sounds like the Federal Government when looking at these posts. This new team manager who is he? If you really want to compete you have to hire the very best in all positions. Is this manager comparable to Cub, Indians, Dogdgers, Red Sox to name a few? NO! If I were running this organization, there would be a new game in town. You need to seek out the best. I lived in ATL for 32 years, but I were there now I would not attend games.