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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Atlanta Braves should bring back Chief Noc-A-Homa and the teepee

We live in a politically correct world these days, with people sensitive about anything and everything. We can never be in other people’s shoes to understand why something might upset them, but there’s little doubt, it seems easy for everyone to find something that gets their goat.

Perhaps that was a disclaimer that what I’m about to write might upset some, but it doesn’t worry me enough not to write it. Twenty-five years ago when the Atlanta Braves became the team everyone loved, it was easy for Native Americans to complain about things with the nickname that upset them.

That’s a shame. But it’s time to make the Braves special again as they move into Sun Trust Park next season. It’s time to bring back some of the things we grew up with that made the team special.

It’s time to bring back the teepee. And while we’re at it, let’s bring back Chief Noc-A-Homa and Princess Win-A-Lotta.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 08:38 AM | 150 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, mascots

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Credit the Braves for trying stuff. Lots of stuff, actually | Mark Bradley blog

Change is easy when you stink.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 03, 2016 at 10:18 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Braves Play Taxpayers Better Than They Play Baseball

Over the last 15 years, the Braves have extracted nearly half a billion in public funds for four new homes, each bigger and more expensive than the last. The crown jewel, backed by $392 million in public funding, is a $722 million, 41,500-seat stadium for the major league club set to open next year in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta. Before Cobb, the Braves built three minor league parks, working their way up the ladder from Single A to Triple A. In every case, they switched cities, pitting their new host against the old during negotiations. They showered attention on local officials unaccustomed to dealing with a big-league franchise and, in the end, left most of the cost on the public ledger. Says Joel Maxcy, a sports economist at Drexel University: “If there’s one thing the Braves know how to do, it’s how to get money out of taxpayers.”

The Atlanta Braves own most of their minor league farm system, including, along with a Double-A team, the Triple-A team in Gwinnett County, Ga.; the Single-A team in Rome, Ga.; and lower-level teams in Danville, Va., and Lake Buena Vista, Fla. It’s an unusual arrangement. Major League Baseball teams always manage their players at every level, but they usually leave the day-to-day operations of farm teams to independent owners. The Braves prefer more control. “We can create a seamless thread all the way through our system,” says Mike Plant, the team’s president of development. The teams are all named the Braves and wear near-identical uniforms. Even the “Tomahawk Chop” chant is the same from Atlanta to Rome. “We definitely extend that Braves brand through everything we do,” says Plant.

The Braves are similarly methodical about using other people’s money to build their ballparks. In 2001, for example, while trying to persuade Rome to build a $15 million, 5,105-seat stadium for the Single-A Braves, who then played 150 miles south in Macon, the Braves brought local officials to Turner Field for executive dinners and to watch games from the owner’s box. “It was hands down the highlight of my life,” then-Floyd County Manager Kevin Poe says. That November, Rome voters approved a 1¢ sales tax to pay for the stadium by a 142-vote margin.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why Would Anybody Watch the Braves? (Baseball Prospectus)

Fightin’ words:

If you were in the Atlanta area on Sunday, you could have seen matinee performances of ‘Dream Girls’ (at the Cobb Civic Center in Marietta) or ‘Ragtime’ (at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center). You could have attended an Italian Film Festival at the Plaza Theatre, or the Sweetwater 420 Festival in Centennial Olympic Park, where the craft beer was flowing and live music played. It was a free entrance day at several National Parks, including nearby Chattahoochee Park. Instead of pursuing any of those opportunities, 32,085 people bought tickets to see the Braves host the Mets, and I’m writing this article just to ask a simple question: Why?

Why, when the Braves started 4-13 in their final season as true residents of Atlanta, rather than white suburbia, keep throwing good money after very, very bad? Why, when this team’s upper management threw a temper tantrum over a bad month and a half in late 2014 and traded away nearly all of what was a tremendous, successful core of exciting young players, place any faith in their current plan to stomach years of losing in the hope of building another such core? Why, when this team is going nowhere this season and benefits far more from losing than from winning, go to the park and implore them to do the latter?

Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: April 26, 2016 at 06:21 AM | 123 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Friday, April 22, 2016

Braves may complain to union about condition of Turner Field infield

This would never happen with a new stadium!

Unhappy over the conditions of the Turner Field infield, Atlanta Braves players are considering contacting the players’ union to see if they can pressure their own club to make improvements, a source within the organization told ESPN on Thursday.

The source speculated that with the Braves leaving Turner Field for a new stadium after this season, the playing surface is not being treated with the same meticulous care as in the past and that the problem areas are the uneven grass and the unpredictable area where the turf meets the infield dirt….

“This is a tough infield,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “You look at Dodger Stadium versus this field, and this field, the guys talk about it around the league that it is not the best infield as far as playing.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2016 at 02:26 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, field conditions, mlbpa, turner field

MLB’s replay rule can be challenging: When to challenge? | www.ajc.com

Yes, what we need is more replay. How about we cut the game time down to one hour so we can have two hours of replay and still get the game in under three hours?

Francoeur said he’d like to see managers get two challenges per game. “That’s why I get frustrated — it doesn’t make sense that there’s only one challenge,” he said. “That’s such a huge call in the game.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 22, 2016 at 01:53 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, replay

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Braves stock to begin trading Monday

Talk about junk bonds…

Shares of stock in the Braves are expected to begin trading Monday, according to team owner Liberty Media.

Liberty said it completed a long-in-the-works transaction late Friday to exchange its existing stock for three new tracking stocks – one tied to the Braves (Liberty Braves stock), one tied to the company’s 61-percent stake in satellite radio provider SiriusXM (Liberty SiriusXM stock) and one tied to the company’s other holdings (new Liberty Media stock).
Each share of Liberty’s existing stock is being exchanged for one share of Liberty SiriusXM stock, 0.1 share of Liberty Braves stock and 0.25 share of the new Liberty Media stock, according to the company.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 19, 2016 at 08:45 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Braves’ Hector Olivera arrested after domestic dispute

Reports in Washington, D.C. are saying Atlanta Braves left fielder Hector Olivera has been arrested after being involved in a domestic dispute.

ABC7 reported the female victim had bruises and was transported to Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA.

Olivera was at a Ritz Carlton and was taken into custody.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2016 at 10:50 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, domestic incident, hector olivera, police blotter

Monday, April 11, 2016

Braves (0-5) are a minor league product in a major league season | Jeff Schultz blog

NEWSFLASH: The Braves stink.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 11, 2016 at 08:32 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Braves prospect John Gant has one of the strangest deliveries you’ll ever see | MLB.com

Who is the MLB VP in charge of the Ministry of Silly Windups?

Jim Furtado Posted: April 07, 2016 at 08:58 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, john gant

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Where Braves top 30 prospects start the season | MLB.com

MLB Pipeline is publishing a series of articles on where each team’s Top 30 Prospects are projected to start the season.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 06, 2016 at 12:17 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, prospects

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Utley Rule costs Atlanta Braves a baserunner vs. Washington Nationals

This rule is overkill and an overreaction.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 05, 2016 at 06:28 AM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, nick markakis, rules of the game

Friday, April 01, 2016

Dale Murphy on Brycer Harper & Bautista

Dale Murphy was talking with his wife Nancy about this supposed rift between generations. You probably have heard something about it. Bryce Harper wants the game to be more fun, livelier, with more feeling expressed, with bat flips and fist pumps and raw emotion. A few other younger players have said similar things either with words or, in the case of Jose Bautista, with an epic bat flip for the ages.
And in the last couple of weeks, a couple of great players from my childhood — Goose Gossage and Mike Schmidt — took issue with Harper’s words and Bautista’s tactics and the young players’ desire to be more demonstrative. Schmidt wrote that such displays “show a lack of respect for your opponent and the history of the game.”

Gossage concurred. “It was a bleepin’ disgrace,” he said.

Dale Murphy played when I was a kid too; he was a hero of mine. I have three Dale Murphy autographs in this house basically because, if you were a Dale Murphy fan, you just ended up with autographs the way that jeans end up with loose change. He was that kind of nice guy. Murphy was a fantastic player in the time of Schmidt and Gossage. He won back-to-back MVP awards just after Schmidt did. He faced Gossage 23 times, hitting just .130 against the Goose (Murphy did manage a homer against Gossage the very last time they faced each other).

In any case, Dale was talking with Nancy about this goofy rift between old school and new, this disagreement between these crazy kids today with their antics and the staid, respectful players of old who kept their heads down, when Nancy interrupted. ‘Wait a minute? Wasn’t there a player in your time who used to come on to the field doing backflips?”

That was Ozzie Smith, of course. And everybody loved it.

“Funny thing about us old guys,” Murphy says. “We don’t always remember our own time so well.”


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Braves name John Schuerholz as vice chairman, Mike Plant as president, development and Derek Schiller as president, business

Atlanta Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk has announced several organizational changes, as the team prepares to close out Turner Field in 2016 and move into SunTrust Park in 2017. Team president John Schuerholz has been named Vice Chairman, while Executive Vice President Mike Plant has been named President, Development and Executive Vice President Derek Schiller has been named as President, Business. The new titles are effective immediately.

President of Baseball Operations John Hart will continue in his role with the Club and will report to both McGuirk and Schuerholz. Plant and Schiller will report directly to McGuirk.

Rickey! met her in a hotel lobby... Posted: March 31, 2016 at 11:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Braves have pair of young shortstop prospects | MLB.com

If they put put Swanson in High A, he’s probably more on a middle of next year timeline.

The Braves saw enough from Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies during Spring Training to strengthen their confidence that these two elite prospects could form a double-play combo in Atlanta within the next year. Now, they must decide how to best develop these two high-impact shortstops.

After seeing Swanson and Albies develop a strong bond and friendship during their time in camp, the Braves flirted with the idea of pairing the two together on the same Minor League team and having them periodically alternate between middle-infield spots. But it now seems more likely that they will be separated and given the chance to both play shortstop on a daily basis.
“If we didn’t have Swanson, we feel great about Albies as our future shortstop,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “We also feel great about having Swanson as our future shortstop. It’s a good problem to have, but we want to make sure we do the right thing for these kids, because whatever is right for them is going to be right for the Braves.”

If the Braves do separate the two, Albies will likely begin the season with Double-A Mississippi and Swanson with Class A Advanced Carolina.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 30, 2016 at 08:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, dansby swanson, ozzie albies

Braves keeping Francoeur, will add him to roster

Though Francoeur proved productive through his first two Major League seasons, he began to decline and was traded to the Mets during the 2009 season. He has since played for the Rangers, Royals, Giants, Padres and Phillies.

But now, Francoeur is truly coming home to strengthen the Braves’ bench with his right-handed power potential. He can capably handle both corner outfield spots and he has acquainted himself with center field over the past few weeks.

And there was much rejoicing at BTF!!!

eddieot Posted: March 30, 2016 at 08:30 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jeff francoeur

Monday, March 28, 2016

Braves release Nick Swisher, send Alex Torres down

Tough break, brah.

Nick Swisher was a player without a spot on the rebuilding Braves. Injuries and age had robbed him of many of the skills he had earlier in his career and while he did have some positional flexibility, he wasn’t necessarily a desirable option at any of the positions he could play.

After acquiring Swisher in the trade that essentially shuffled bad contracts around with the Indians (sending Chris Johnson to the Indians and taking on Michael Bourn as well), the Braves tried to trade Swisher during the entire offseason. Despite a serviceable spring training stint, no teams bit on a trade offer and the Braves decided to eat the money owed to Nick and gave him his unconditional release….

The Braves will owe Swisher $15 million this season, although some of that was covered by the cash received in the trade with the Indians last season.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2016 at 01:56 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, nick swisher

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tommy Hanson Had It All—Family, Friends and a Sparkling Career. Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Close as we are to loved ones, tight as we become with our best friends, some things are just unknowable. Depression, like a virus, barges in with invisible force and incapacitates with a silent thud.

Most likely, someone you know is fighting a desperately quiet battle with it as you read this. The website Healthline says that more than 80 percent of people with symptoms of clinical depression are not receiving any treatment for it, while the number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 20 percent each year.

Though Tommy Hanson was not diagnosed with depression, many close to him suspect it had him in its grip. When Tommy Hanson slipped away in November, only the shock and grief were tangible.

At the funeral in Atlanta, a who’s who from the Braves organization and others throughout baseball filled the church. Gonzalez, Cox and Atlanta pitching coach Roger McDowell sat together while so many fought a losing battle to keep it together.

“I remember looking around and seeing so many young people, friends of his, friends of his wife, teammates,” Gonzalez says. “You see all of his old teammates sitting with their wives and kids. And I said, ‘My God, this guy was just beginning his life.’”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 21, 2016 at 01:10 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, braves, drug abuse, kris medlen, tommy hanson

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Jace Peterson could be prepping for Braves utility role | www.myajc.com

Playing last year’s Braves starting second baseman Jace Peterson at multiple positions this spring has less to do with Atlanta’s future middle infield duo Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson being in camp than it does having several other versatile veterans.

The signings of Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio and re-signing of Kelly Johnson gives Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez the flexibility to use left-righty matchups or potential platoons at second base and third base. They also return Daniel Castro, a middle-infield defensive standout, who could shuttle between Triple-A and the majors.

Gonzalez believes the options will help the team and could put Peterson in better position to succeed than last year, when the left-handed hitter was not only slowed by a thumb injury for much of his first full season in the majors, but also, in Gonzalez’s opinion, might have struggled at times due to matchups.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 09, 2016 at 07:39 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jace peterson

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Braves, Marlins to play at Fort Bragg on July 3


The Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins will play a first-of-its-kind regular season game in celebration of the nation’s servicemen and servicewomen at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Sunday, July 3rd, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) jointly announced today. The game will air nationally on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” and ESPN Radio at 8:00 p.m. (ET).

A new 12,500-capacity ballpark constructed by MLB and the MLBPA will host the “Fort Bragg Game” during the military post’s annual Fourth of July festivities. Following the game, in which the Braves will be the home team, the ballpark will be converted to a permanent softball field and multi-purpose facility for those who serve at Fort Bragg, a gift courtesy of the Major League Clubs and Players. This event will mark the first regular season game of a professional sport ever played on an active military base.

 

Gamingboy Posted: March 08, 2016 at 03:31 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, fort bragg, marlins, mlb

Saturday, March 05, 2016

The connection between Braves’ Hector Olivera and his manager - Jayson Stark Blog- ESPN

“He’s not 23,” Gonzalez said. “He’s 30. And ... how many big leaguers play to the age of 35? Not many. And the guys who do have been playing since the age of 19 or 20 in the big leagues. They’ve had long careers. So shoot, I’m not worried about (what he’ll be at) 35 years old. I’m worried about now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2016 at 08:44 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cuban players, hector olivera

Friday, March 04, 2016

Braves Sean Newcomb takes lessons from start | MLB.com

Still, even though Newcomb has tremendous promise and a high ceiling, he has made just seven starts above the Class A Advanced level. In other words, he had never faced a lineup that included the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez before Thursday.

“It was definitely different looking in and seeing [Cabrera], but that’s what I’m going to have to be dealing with, so I’ve got to get used to it,” Newcomb said. “It’s just simple mechanical stuff that I’ve got to take care. Stuff that I can tune up as Spring Training goes on.”

After finding the strike zone with each of his first three pitches, Newcomb issued a four-pitch walk to Cabrera. He then got ahead of Martinez, 0-2, before surrendering a single that accounted for the first of Detroit’s two first-inning runs.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 08:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, sean newcomb

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Braves are discounted on field but not at Disney box office (wait, $49?) | Jeff Schultz blog

So how much are you willing to pay to watch so many “Braves of the future” attempt to seize their opportunity? It’s a given that the team will not be good this season: sportsbooks’ projections range from 65 to 66½ games (or 97 to 95½ losses) and the team is expected to have the majors’ fourth-lowest payroll.  So how good will spring training baseball be?

Well, the price gougers at Disney have put a price on the product. And it’s absurd. The Braves are quick to point this is not their call, but admission for Thursday’s spring training game against Detroit at Disney’s Wide World of Sports started — started — at $20. That was just to sit on the berm behind the left field wall, to the right of the foul pole.  Ticket prices went up from there: $25 for general admission on the lawn down the left field line, $34 for an actual seat in the upper level or down the right field line and $49 for lower level reserve.

I believe there’s a 10 percent discount for those donating a major organ.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 03, 2016 at 02:42 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, spring training

Monday, February 22, 2016

Jeff Francoeur returns to Atlanta Braves organization

Well, at least he knows Delta flies there.

The Braves agreed to terms Monday with outfielder Jeff Francoeur on a one-year minor league contract for the 2016 season.  The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Originally drafted 23rd overall by Atlanta in 2002, Francoeur made his major league debut with the Braves in 2005. He played in 631 games with Atlanta, hitting .266 (653-for-2,453) with 78 home runs before being traded to the New York Mets in 2009. Francoeur also played with Texas, Kansas City, San Francisco San Diego and Philadelphia.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2016 at 08:05 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jeff francoeur

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dave Cameron: The Best Transactions of the 2016 Offseason

#2: White Sox Find a Third Baseman
Acquire: Todd Frazier
Cost: Frankie Montas, Trayce Thompson, Micah Johnson

A year ago, the White Sox tried to go for it despite a flawed roster, and ended up struggling due to the vast amount of at-bats wasted on replacement-level scrubs. This winter, the White Sox have again attempted to push their chips to contend in the short-term, but those hopes got a nice boost when they somehow managed to convince the Reds to give them Todd Frazier for a package of talent that won’t cripple the organization. Frazier’s second-half swoon may have dragged his value down below a reasonable level, since teams saw him hit just .220/.274/.390 in the second half, but kudos to Rick Hahn for taking advantage and turning some spare parts into a +3 to +4 win third baseman. With Frazier at third base, the team has turned a black hole into a real strength, and while they could still use some additional improvements, the Frazier acquisition should go a long way to getting the White Sox back into the AL Central race.


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