I read the news coming out of the Hot Stove League and mutter to myself...repeatedly...."you must be joking!"
The Braves, never a huge draw in Atlanta even during their glorious run in the '90's, announced they will be leaving Turner Field for greener pastures. Hmm, I thought, isn't Turner Field relatively new? Yes indeedy! Seventeen years old. In a nation known to tear down its architectural heritage, good, bad and indifferent, abandoning a stadium after less than a two decades residency has to be some kind of record. Are you listening, Guinness? Category: fastest team to leave a new stadium, baseball division.
I don't know the details of the financing, but if all goes according to modern sports franchise tradition, the Braves are going to ask the public to fork over a big chunk of the costs. Now, if the good ole folks of Georgia, a red state by any reckoning, want to carp about big government, they can begin by saying no to taxpayer financing of this move. Oh, sure, the Braves will threaten to move somewhere if they don't get what they want from the public coffers, but would many people outside the Chamber of Commerce in Fulton County notice? Wait, they would be moving to Kolb County. Maybe less than half the folks there were actually born in Georgia. Maybe Kolb Co. is really Minnesota in disguise!
Anyway, the Braves apparently want a retro stadium that seats about 45.000 so the empty seats don't outnumber the filled ones on any given night. Management talked about better access for the fans, but I always thought you had to make the effort to go somewhere to gain access.
Just when I thought nothing else could surprise me about baseball executives and their greed and stupidity, I read the Phillies alleged brain trust was about to re-sign Marlon Byrd to a two-year $16 contract. Byrd, as you no doubt recall, started his career here some time around the turn of the century. Along the way he's played for a variety of teams in North America (yes, sports fans, that includes Mexico), been suspended for substance abuse and turned 36 years old before our eyes. So, desperate for a right-handed bat and an outfielder, Ruben Amaro succumbed to Philareacquaitis (pronounced Phila reacqua itis) , a disease that though rarely fatal causes General Managers to reacquire players whom they previously traded. Presumably, Paul Holmgren likes this deal.