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Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Editor - Baseball Primer


Atlanta Newsbeat

Saturday, May 28, 2016

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

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.



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