Category Archives: Sports

Stop worrying and love the stadium: Braves to Cobb a done deal

Look, I’m not a huge fan of the idea that the Atlanta Braves are going to call the suburbs home starting in 2017. While stadiums are notoriously bad at spurring economic growth in surrounding areas, several cities have had great luck developing the area around ballparks and making it a great place to hang out. Colorado and Cincinnati are just two examples to cities and teams making a commitment to downtown areas and bringing growth along with them.

The Braves just couldn’t get it in Atlanta, so they’re moving. The debate has moved away from Cobb vs. Atlanta and turned into a battle between the pro-business Chamber of Commerce types against the anti-tax, cleaner government types (another strange alliance between the Tea Party and Sierra Club). They have a legitimate beef with the county over with how quickly Cobb moved to sign, seal, and deliver the land to the Braves, and made their views known at a series of quickly organized town hall events held last night. (If you’re looking for a great analysis of the Mountain View town hall, check out Blog For Democracy’s play-by-play)

While I admire the efforts of anti-stadium groups, they’re coming up short and they know it. Much like Common Cause Georgia’s attempts to derail the new Georgia Dome, efforts by groups in Cobb are coming too little too late, and that’s exactly how Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee and the Braves wanted it.

They kept the stadium deal a secret, dropped a bombshell on metro-Atlanta and Lee scheduled a vote on the issue just two weeks after the Braves’ announcement that they were moving to Cobb.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

It’s a done deal and everyone knows it. Lee’s going to get his votes tonight and the memorandum of understanding will be signed, and an RFP for the development will be submitted thereafter. It’s happening; the Braves are moving to Cobb County in 2017. We better get used to the idea.

Sure, we could argue that Cobb tax dollars should be used for schools, infrastructure improvements, and other needs, but this is a county who’s eschewed from spending money in those areas in recent years. I guess from a glass half-full perspective, at least they’re going to spend money on something major.

Pro-Braves groups argue that millions of dollars in SPLOST revenues will benefit Cobb schools following the stadium’s construction, which is all well and good, but what does the school system do in the intervening years?

There are boundless questions that require answers and sadly, we’re going to get most of them after it’s guaranteed that the Braves are moving to Cobb County. No one needs to go quietly into the night and accept defeat, but Tim Lee, his business cronies, and the Braves developed on hell of a deal, behind closed doors, and for good reason. They knew the anti-tax, anti-growth tea party types in Cobb County would balk at the deal.

Cobb didn’t exactly let the anti-Braves groups have their day in court (they took public comment on the stadium out of the equation) but press conferences, and solitary town hall meetings are about all those groups are ultimately going to get.

Opposition will still be there, long after tonight’s vote is recorded and well into the construction phase of this project. However, the hyperbole and “I hate the Braves” mentality will fade. We’ll all funnel into the new park in 2017, throw money at the Braves, and hopefully celebrate something more than a division title.

 

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Atlanta Braves plan $400 million entertainment district… | www.ajc.com

Here are some preliminary designs for the Braves’ new stadium and surrounding entertainment complex. Regardless of where you stand on the impending move, the designs look impressive.

Atlanta Braves plan $400 million entertainment district… | www.ajc.com.

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AJC: Funding plan for stadium revealed

Courtesy of the AJC, here are all the fun and exciting funding details for the Braves’ new Cobb County ballpark.

Cobb Commission Chair Tim Lee expects a unanimous vote on Nov. 26, when the issue is presented to the entire Cobb County Commission. We shall see…

Funding plan for stadium revealed.

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Atlanta’s Reed promises enormous middle-class development at… | www.ajc.com

Mayor Reed just finished a lengthy press conference regarding yesterday’s announcement that the Braves are leaving downtown Atlanta after 50 years to a new home in Cobb County.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story.

Atlanta’s Reed promises enormous middle-class development at… | www.ajc.com.

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Additional thoughts on the Braves’ move

Throughout the day, I’ve stopped what I was doing to scroll through my Twitter feed, listen to Atlanta sports talk radio, and read through the endless number of news stories regarding the Braves’ stunning announcement that they are leaving the city of Atlanta and Turner Field for Cobb County. After nearly 9 hours, I believe I’ve started to process the decision and provide a few rational thoughts before my day comes to an end.

First of all, I’m not particularly thrilled with the Braves moving to the suburbs. While it brings the Braves closer to the fans that attend games on a regular basis, it puts them in the middle of endless sprawl with nothing aesthetically pleasing about the surrounding area. Sure, the Braves are promising a massive multi-use complex, which was completely lacking at Turner Field, but the new park won’t have the gorgeous Atlanta skyline in the background (a driving factor behind Turner Field’s lack of outfield lights), nor will they be anywhere close to downtown. The team points to Colorado, San Francisco, and Cincinnati as key examples of what they want for the new stadium and other developments. What those parks have in common that the new Braves’ park does not: they’re in the cities.

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Braves bolt for ‘burbs

In a stunning move that shook fans of the Atlanta Braves to their core, the team announced that following the 2016 season, they’ll move to the cozy confines of Cobb County, abandoning the city of Atlanta after 50 years. Unless you are omnipotent, no one saw this coming. The team’s lease on Turner Field expires on December 31, 2016 and it was no secret that Braves’ officials were not pleased with the current arrangement. However, few, if any thought the team would actually move.

It was a lot to process this morning for everyone. News outlets scrambled to report the story, while fans reacted with excitement, hesitancy, and in some cases, anger. Personally, I was shocked and a bit dismayed. Earlier this year, the Braves and the city looked at several proposals to redevelop the parking lots around Turner Field, turning them into the mixed-use development that Braves desperately want (and apparently will get in Cobb County). I knew full well that the Braves’ lease on Turner Field expired and it was going to take something big for the city to retain the Braves. However, I assumed a deal would be reached, because let’s face it, a 20-year old ballpark isn’t that old (Wrigley Field celebrates hits 100 next year) and despite already being one of the older National League parks, Turner Field is in pretty good shape. Yes, the team and city desperately needed to fix an untenable traffic and parking problem, and there’s no question that the area surrounding Turner Field wasn’t exactly pretty, but to pack up and leave? Seems a bit sudden and drastic.

We don’t know a ton about this move, other than the expected cost, the location, and when the Braves are packing their bags for Cobb. However, it will be a sad day for me. Turner Field was my second home as a kid. I’ve been a huge Braves fan my entire life and when I moved to Atlanta in 1998, I was beyond ecstatic for the chance to hang out at the Ted every summer and I did. Every season since then, I’ve attended multiple games at Turner Field and loved every minute of my time there. Over the next three seasons, I hope to make a few more great memories and regardless of where they go, I will always root for my home team.

Anyways, I’ll provide my full thoughts on the move in the coming hours or days as I process everything.

Details on the move:

  • It was going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million to make infrastructure improvements to Turner Field
  • The Braves started discussing improving the parking, traffic, and overall infrastructure surrounding Turner Field with the city of Atlanta starting in 2005; those negotiations didn’t go very far
  • Cobb County offered $450 million to help cover the cost of a new stadium (estimated at $672 million overall)
  • The new stadium will be located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285 near Cumberland Mall in Cobb County
  • The team started talking to Cobb County sometime in July
  • The Braves want to build a large, mixed use developed featuring shops and restaurants to keep fans engaged before and after games, and throughout the year
  • The Braves are meeting with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Governor Nathan Deal on Wednesday at the State Capitol
  • On November 26, the Cobb County Commission will vote on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Braves (this means no new taxes can be created to fund the stadium, but it’s likely some taxes will increase in order to coverthe $450 million cost Cobb County agreed to pay

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From Tomahawk Talkin’: How the fans worry so after a 4-6 start… (oh, Braves win 5-0 against Fish)

Tommy Hanson was so magical tonight, the ball was practically glowing

Originally posted on Tomahawk Talkin’

By Joel Mendelson

Braves fans were tensing up after a miserable weekend against the Phillies and an overall horrendous week (offensively speaking). The Braves struggled to score runs, when they scored at all. It didn’t look good for the home team and fans were irate. Already irritated at Fredi’s insisting on batting Heyward 6th and leaving McClouth in the two spot.

Word to the wise. If you base all of your baseball knowledge on spring training and ten regular season games, perhaps it’s time to start following a sport that requires less patience. Yes, our 21st Century culture has no time for patience, with our instant access to information, but baseball is the beautiful game and requires time. Tonight, the Braves demonstrated just what type of team they can be.
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