HERE’S WHY LIBERTY IS HOLDING ONTO THE BRAVES
Why is the media conglomerate from Colorado — the one that as of today is worth $15.29 billion on the open market — holding onto our baseball team, or that tax writeoff/asset that somehow greased the conglomerate’s big deal with Time Warner a few years ago?
I’m thinking it has something to do with the figure 47 percent. That is how much the value of the Braves franchise has increased just since Liberty bought it in 2007. You and I probably don’t own anything that’s appreciated that much since the recession started. As of October 2013, our Bravos were worth $760 million, according to Bloomberg, which crunches numbers for a damned good living. So even after accounting for inflation, the value of the Braves has soared by nearly half since Liberty took them off Time Warner’s hands.
Not a bad return for the work Liberty’s put in. Why, the conglomerate has ….um, reduced payroll since 2007 by nearly 10 percent in inflation-adjusted terms while slightly raising the cost of attending a game and convincing a county government whose busiest highway is named after a dead president of the John Birch Society to hand over $300 million to help fund a suburban ballpark/office park/shopping center.
Pastornicky’s rehab from ACL tear going smoothly
ATLANTA — Given all that he has endured while rehabbing over the past five months, Tyler Pastornicky will be disappointed if he is not healthy enough to be a part of Atlanta’s Opening Day roster. But the Braves infielder is also cognizant of the potential pitfalls that he could encounter if he returns before his surgically repaired right knee is ready to be subjected to the regular season’s daily grind.
“I’ve just put so much hard work in and dedicated my whole offseason to try to be ready,” Pastornicky said. “I’m going to try. But it’s one of those things where if I’m not, I’m not. I don’t really want to come back and reinjure it or have injuries all year. I want to make sure I’m 100 percent when I come back.”
Pastornicky spent the past couple of days participating in the Braves Country Caravan. As he walked the halls at suburban Atlanta’s Brumby Elementary School and interacted with students on Friday morning, he did not show any lingering effects of the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered when he collided with Jason Heyward in shallow right field during an Aug. 14 game against the Phillies at Turner Field.
Dan Uggla: Atlanta Braves’ hottest mistake
Atlanta Braves’ second baseman, Dan Uggla, may look great in his tight-fitting uniform, but most would argue that he doesn’t fit so well on the baseball diamond.
Uggla stands on a five-year contract and has two seasons remaining. While the Braves tried their best to hand him off to another team this offseason, they had no takers.
At this point, for another organization to pick up the second baseman, it would probably be a result of injuries, a weak farm system, and the Braves’ desire to pick up some of his hefty contract.
Even with Uggla’s ugly stats, the Braves managed to dominate the National League East this past season. They finished second in the National League, just behind the Dodgers. However, it’s doubtful they will do so in 2014 if Uggla does not improve significantly.
Lucas Sims stepping into No. 1 prospect spotlight
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – Tucked into the overlapping suburban sprawl that is Gwinnett County, just 40 minutes northwest of Atlanta’s Turner Field, Lucas Sims grew up a short car ride from his best-case scenario. And for as long as he can remember, that scenario centered around playing baseball for the team on his parents’ TV, watching and watching until he couldn’t watch anymore.
Night games in the Sims household were typically five- or six-inning affairs for those who couldn’t stay awake to watch Maddux or Smoltz or Glavine, or their bullpen, put the finishing touches on opponents. A younger Lucas Sims, the eventual No. 1 draft pick of the hometown club in 2012, usually called it a night around 8 p.m., maybe 9.
But not before dreaming.
“I was a tired kid,” he said, “but watching those guys do what they did, they’re a huge reason I am who I am today.”
This winter has brought back some of those memories, with Sims, the 19-year-old right-handed pitching prospect, gearing up for his first season carrying the “Atlanta Braves’ Top-Rated Prospect” title while tuning in to see two of his childhood heroes, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, get voted into Cooperstown. He’s getting closer and closer to the dream those guys and John Smoltz — his true personal favorite for maternal reasons: “My mom, that was her favorite player. And then once I started growing up and maturing as a baseball player, I started looking at his stuff and I kinda could relate to him.” — helped set in motion not so long ago.
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