Clarksville, TN – Major League Baseball’s yearly general manager meetings typically foster all the wheeling-and-dealing of a hostage negotiation. It’s still too early in the offseason for most teams to know how much money they’ll be playing with and who they’re going to want/need to spend it on.
So the Braves making minimal waves prior to the meetings conclusion in Orlando Wednesday was little surprise. Re-signing lefty Jonny Venters was a natural move, while everyone saw Brian McCann declining his qualifying offer pretty much as soon as the season ended. He’s going to make a massive, justifiable-yet-absurd amount of money from some American League team, and best wishes to him.
Of course, in the middle of all that came the announcement: the Ted becomes a parking lot in 2017 when the Braves move to Cobb County, a few miles away in distance but a world apart from many an outsider (and insider’s) idea of ‘Atlanta’. I suppose I’ll miss the Ted’s history – which doesn’t amount to anything necessarily positive, but remains the place I watched my first MLB game, so nostalgia – and its proximity to old Fulton County Stadium, which gave it more of an historic feel (Hank’s 715, the 1995 World Series, etc.), but let’s be honest: the Ted was not made for baseball. I’ve long watched televised ballgames at other, newer ballparks – San Diego, San Francisco and Houston to name a few – and wondered if they offered the better overall baseball experience that I suspected they did.
Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) (center) reacts with B.J. Upton (2) and Chris Johnson (23) after getting the game hit against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Brewers 3-2.( Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Now we get to find out, I guess. Despite additions over the years – Skyfield, the Hall of Fame, Waffle House – nothing at the Ted ever became that defining, impactful feature that you immediately associate with some ballparks. I’ve been to the Ted multiple times over the years and just never been blown away by the venue. Going to a baseball game isn’t cheap. When you drop your 90 bucks for a pair behind the dugout, you want to feel like you’re getting the best of everything. The stadium just never quite fit the bill, probably because it just wasn’t built for baseball.
And yes, I am aware that Cobb County is on the hook for a significant amount of money in the new stadium and they’ve had trouble paying for much more important things, like teachers, in the not-too-distant past. I’m also aware of the quasi-racism experienced in the have-have not conundrum between Cobb County and Atlanta over the years and understand that many Atlantans feel this move is a slap in the face, not because of the distance but that it seems like they had their ball team yanked away for no good reason. As more comes out on the Cobb County-Atlanta civic/class problems and the more details we find out about the stadium, I think we’re going to feel more uneasy about this.
A few other odds and ends since the playoffs ended…
- Tim Hudson not getting a qualifying offer was unsurprising; that would be a lot of money for a 38-year old coming off a devastating ankle injury. He agreed to a deal with the Giants on Monday, meaning Braves fans final memories of Huddy will be his injury. Terrible final memory of a guy that meant a lot to Braves fans. Guy was a true gamer.
- Reed Johnson’s option was declined. He’s a possibility at a reduced number, but with Jordan Schafer emerging as a great bench-bat/spot-starter, the Braves can afford to gamble on a younger, cheaper prospect like Todd Cunningham or Joe Terdoslavich.
- Normally don’t put a ton of stock into the Arizona Fall League, but according to rave reports that border on fawning adoration, Tommy La Stella has been tearing the cover off the ball. If Frank Wren finds ANY takers for Dan Uggla during the winter, La Stella will be battling Ramiro Pena, Elliot Johnson and…
(I’m not saying this. He’s not good. We’ve got two years proof.)
…Tyler Pastornicky for the starting second-base job come spring time.
- Wren seems content to see what he has in his core, and won’t be making a splashy Upton/Uggla-type move this offseason. Of course, it’s Frank Wren, so don’t be shocked if he trades the entire rotation for David Price, then fails to re-sign him and has to trade him to Texas for Mitch Moreland at next season’s trade deadline.
- Unsurprisingly, Andrelton Simmons earned most every defensive award possible, except Wilson’s Defensive Player of the Year (went to Arizona’s Gerardo Parra, which is cute because no). Freddie Freeman finished about where I thought he would in MVP voting. Fredi Gonzalez was top-three for Manager of the Year, which is just further proof that people are stupid and will one day bow to machines.
- Apparently, there were some hurt feelings in the clubhouse when Chipper Jones picked the Dodgers to beat the Braves, leading to the mascot having to catch his first pitch prior to Game One of the Division Series. Since Chipper was right, I assume this will no longer be an issue next year.
- While it looks like Roger McDowell will be back as pitching coach for at least one more season unless someone calls for a managerial job, Brian Snitker will be gone. He takes over as manager at Triple-A Gwinnett for Randy Ready, who appeared to have run out of friends in the Braves organization in a hurry, since he got canned after a year. Doug Dascenzo joins the big club as third-base coach.
About Colby Wilson
Colby Wilson is a free-lance columnist for the Clarksville Sports Network. He enjoys some of the finer things in life, but is at his most content lounging on the couch watching sports. If you like what he wrote, let him know at email@example.com; if you didn’t, keep it to yourself, okay?
Web Site: http://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork
SectionsAnnouncements, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Featured Story, MLB, Sports
TopicsAmerican League, Andrelton Simmons, Arizona Fall League, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Georgia, Atlantans, Braves, Brian McCann, Brian Snitker, Chipper Jones, Clarksville, Clarksville Tennessee, Cobb County, Dan Uggla, David Price, Defensive Player of the Year, Division Series, Dodgers, Doug Dascenzo, Elliot Johnson, Frank Wren, Freddie Freeman, Fredi Gonzalez, Fulton County Stadium, Hall of Fame, Houston, Huddy, Joe Terdoslavich, Jonny Venters, jordan schafer, La Stella, Major League Baseball, Manager of the Year, Mitch Moreland, MLB, MVP, Orlando, Ramiro Peno, Randy Ready, Reed Johnson, Roger McDowell, San Diego, San Francisco, Skyfield, Teachers, Ted, Tennessee, Texas, The Ted, Tim Hudson, Todd Cunningham, Tommy La Stella, Triple-A Gwinnett, Tyler Pastornicky, Waffle House, World Series