Aug 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; View of stairwell where Atlanta Braves fan 30-year-old Ronald Homer of Conyers, Georgia, accidentally fell to his death during the Braves game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field. Homer fell from the fourth-story platform, where a red sign with the number 1 is positioned (the sign is not connected with the incident. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 11/20

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Aug 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of Delta sign at Turner Field during a game between the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians in the third inning. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Times Herald

Tea Party Group To Mobilize Against Braves Stadium

The Atlanta Tea Party is gearing up to oppose the new Atlanta Braves stadium being planned in Cobb County.

The statewide group’s co-chair Debbie Dooley told The Associated Press on Monday that the group believes the $672 million project is a bad deal for taxpayers. The group will be reaching out to county voters through emails and automated calls detailing their opposition and urging them to contact the county commission ahead of a key vote Nov. 26.

Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee has called the project a good deal, with the Braves assuming 55 percent of costs. The public portion would come from reallocating existing taxes and new taxes on business and tourism.

Dooley says the “devil is in the details” and expects local taxpayers will end up bearing significant costs.

 

Miami Herald

Braves stadium opponents say residents should vote

Opponents of spending public money on the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium say a county commission vote should be postponed to give residents more time to weigh in.

They also say Cobb County residents should get the chance to vote on the plan.

The team last week surprised fans by announcing that it would move to a new stadium being planned in the suburban county northwest of Atlanta. The deal calls for the Braves to fund 55 percent of the cost, with public funds being used to cover the remaining 45 percent.

William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that voters deserve a referendum.

Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee tells The Marietta Daily Journal that he doesn’t plan to postpone the commission’s Tuesday vote.

Out of Tommy La Stella, Shae Simmons, J.R. Graham and Bethancourt, who has the best shot at making the Opening Day roster?

March 5, 2012; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt (68) throws to second in the game against the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

If the Braves end up trading Uggla, La Stella would come to Spring Training as a top candidate to begin next season as Atlanta’s starting second baseman. Graham has made significant strides since his right shoulder sidelined him for the final 3 1/2 months of this past season. Still, while there is a chance he could end up in Atlanta’s bullpen or rotation at some point next year, it seems safer to assume Graham would begin the 2014 season back at the Minor League level.

While Simmons has established himself as one of the organization’s most intriguing pitching prospects, he certainly could benefit from the opportunity to continue developing in the Minors. The 23-year-old right-handed reliever has made 66 professional appearances, and just 11 of those have come above the Class A level.

 

 

Field Of Schemes

New Braves stadium being built to cure “inadequate parking” will feature 2,500 fewer parking spaces

  • Late on Friday, Cobb officials released an outline of a Braves fan transportation plan that relies on “a system of golf-like trams” to shuttle fans to and from their cars parked in existing lots at nearby sites like the Cobb Galleria Centre, nearby hotels, and office parks. Only 6,000 dedicated parking spaces are being planned at the stadium site, which is 2,500less than at the Braves’ current home of Turner Field, in order to leave more room for the surrounding development that the team wants to build.

  • An undisclosed pro-stadium group paid for a “push poll” — a marketing effort where arguments on behalf of a project are disguised as a survey — last Friday, with robocalls “asking” Cobb County residents whether the “fact” that property taxes won’t be increased make it more likely they’d support a new Braves’ stadium, as well as “Does knowing that the new comprehensive transportation plan already exists and is fully funded make it more or less likely you’ll support the Braves’ move to Cobb?” As the AJC trio notes, it’s not clear what the strategy is behind the robocalls when there’s no public vote planned, but hey, it can never hurt to drum up public support, right?

  • On the other side, the creator of the new 300millionreasons.com website and anti-stadium-deal petition has been identified as libertarian activist and anti-birther bloggerLoren Collins. The petition is currently up to 483 signatures, though I don’t think there’s any easy way to tell how many of those of from Cobb County residents.

  • The Atlanta Tea Party and the Sierra Club are opposing the deal, with a joint rally scheduled for next Monday night. “The deal was made behind closed doors and we believe it will result in higher taxes,” said the Atlanta Tea Party’s Debbie Dooley. “We also have problems with land deals made around the stadium, because it seems like the politically-connected found a gold mine while taxpayers will be shown the shaft.” That’s not actually the shaft that “given the shaft” refers to, but points for the attempt at a mining pun!

  • Some unidentified investors found out about the Braves deal ahead of time and bought up properties around the new stadium site in the weeks ahead of the announcement. And speaking of land grabs, the AJC wants you to pay 99 cents to read more about that, so no further details are forthcoming at the moment.

The biggest news here is the bit about the trams, which seems absolutely nuts — most everyone is probably familiar with these kind of park-and-ride systems from airport parking, for example (though the Braves seem to have in mind something more like these), and equally familiar with the fact that it means showing up way earlier before your departure time and taking way longer to get out of dodge once it’s time to leave. Add in that all 41,000 Braves fans are going to be arriving at more or less the same time — and all by car, remember, because Cobb County doesn’t approve of those people being allowed across county lines by public transit — and they’re going to need an insane number of trams to avoid massive wait times.

It’s especially odd since “inadequate number of parking spaces” is one of the reasons the Braves are giving for wanting to move out of Turner Field. But I guess “We’re trying for a development land grab, and anyway people can just park in a mall lot somewhere and wait for a tram to the game” didn’t have the same ring to it.

 

 

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