The ‘Cobb’ Braves

The Southerner

Ever since 1966, the Atlanta Braves have played baseball in downtown Atlanta. At Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field, the Braves have won a combined 2,101 regular season games, 34 postseason games, three division championships, four league championships and one world championship. Over the past 48 years, hundreds of thousands of Braves fans have flocked to these two stadiums and watched players from Hank Aaron to Jason Heyward play ball. And on Nov. 11, Braves president John Schuerholz announced that the team will relocate to Cobb County.

The members of this editorial board were not impressed.

In trying to explain his nonsensical reasoning, Schuerholz claimed that the new Braves stadium will be “a short distance from downtown,” and that it would somehow improve fans’ game day experience.

First of all, Mr. Schuerholz, a 14-mile drive is not “a short distance,” especially when driving toward a location notorious for its traffic. In fact, the new ballpark will be the farthest from the city its team represents out of all 30 major league baseball teams. And the improved fan experience that the new stadium will supposedly bring seems to simply be a euphemism for “fewer poor people.” Turner Field’s current zip code has an average annual income that is $37,000 lower than the zip code of the proposed stadium, and a poverty rate over four times as high.

Schuerholz also claimed the new ballpark will be “in the heart of Braves country.” Granted, the new stadium may be in the area where the fans who can afford the most tickets reside, but to argue that the heart of Braves country is anywhere other than Atlanta is preposterous.

Many unanswered questions remain about this new stadium, including who will foot the $672 million bill. But perhaps the most important question is this: why is the team abandoning its history and sense of city pride in order to cater to its wealthy fans? Given that they will be the first major Atlanta sports team to relocate outside the perimeter, it hardly seems fair that the Braves can even keep “Atlanta” in their title. Then again, the Unincorporated Cobb County Braves just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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