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So Long, Atlanta Braves (Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out)

A columnist absolutely eviscerates the Atlanta Braves organization as it plays its final game in Turner Field in Atlanta. The team is departing the city for a new suburban stadium in Cobb County.
October 4, 2016, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sean Pavone

"When Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves wrap up their final game at Turner Field on Oct. 2 against the Detroit Tigers, they’ll be throwing away a gift they never deserved," according to an article by Marketwatch columnist Jason Notte. "They’re tossing aside a 20-year-old ballpark in Atlanta proper for a $700 million SunTrust Park in Georgia’s suburban Cobb County for one of the most specious reasons imaginable: The city wasn’t paying them enough money or attention to stay."

According to Notte, Turner Field was a gift to the baseball gods, thanks to the legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympics, hosted in Atlanta. After NBC, sponsors, and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games paid the $209 million cost for the stadium, it was "converted into a ballpark and handed over to the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority in 1997. That group leased the building to the Braves while letting them operate it."

The greed of the Braves, as Notte describes it, came later, after the team's fortunes turned on the field and the team's management came looking for concessions off the field. 

By 2012, the Braves were demanding complete control of Turner Field (for which they hadn’t paid a dime), 55 acres of city- and Fulton County-owned land around Turner Field (which it didn’t want to bid for) and complete control over redevelopment. The city pointed out that this flouted any number of laws, which sent the Braves scurrying over to Cobb County by July 2012. Just four months later, the Braves announced their deal for a new stadium and retail development in Cobb County.

According to Notte, the deal the team made with Cobb County, which he also analyzes, is more about private benefit that public partnership.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, September 29, 2016 in Marketwatch
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