It’s been a while since we’ve simply done a wrap-up of recent Braves news items, so while the World Series chugs along at an American League pace, let’s catch up.
This is the slow season for baseball, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t relevant things that are happening… even for the Atlanta Braves, who still find themselves without a pitching coach.
I have been asked about this topic, but I don’t really see a ‘favorite’ emerging to this point. My opinion is that the Braves are taking the opportunity of the World Series to cast a fairly wide net in their hunt for someone to determine the development direction for the supreme cast of pitchers that this club has assembled.
Baseball (MLB, specifically) prefers to keep the focus on their premier event while it is still being contested, and thus clubs generally refrain from making major announcements at this time.
Whether the hiring of a new pitching coach represents such a ‘major’ news item may be up for debate, but it’s still a good excuse for the team to take their time in the process.
Certainly, the Atlanta job should be attractive to many, though I remain with an expectation that the Braves will go younger with their next PC – one with an embrace of analytics.
Hopefully that will help the pitchers figure out where the strike zone is located.
North Port Coming Along
The construction on Atlanta’s new Spring home in North Port is still on schedule… and well into the point where it is looking like a stadium.
Unfortunately, I can’t post any up-to-date photos here, but at this link you can see how it looked about a month ago.
The plan has been for the facility to host the Braves’ last Spring contest before heading home to start the 2019 regular season.
That game is set for Sunday, March 24th at 4:05pm against the Tampa Bay Rays – the new next-door neighbor. We’ll see a lot of the Rays in the next 30 years since they will be only minutes away – instead of the current 2-1/2 hours.
It looks like the last number we heard is sticking… $125 million for the entire facility… which is much bigger than had been originally announced. Atlanta has to accept the overrun cost, but that will have to be part of the cost of doing business.
At least with a 30 year lease, the team will not have to fret over this locale for quite awhile… and hopefully, we’ll be done worrying about any stadium and instead worry more about baseball itself.
Unfortunately, there are still some non-baseball things that are of concern.
The Atlanta Braves and major league baseball are both named as defendants in a lawsuit filed last week by the family of a fan who fell to his death from the upper deck at Turner Field during a game at the end of August in 2015.
MLB does not regulate the height of stadium railings, though complicating a defense of that policy may be two factors:
- The Texas Rangers unilaterally raised their railings after two incidents at Arlington Park, spending $1.1 million to bring the heights up from 33 to 42 inches.
- MLB has chosen to regulate the extent of protective netting to shield fans from sharply hit foul balls.
The Turner Field railing that Gregory Murray fell over was 30 inches in height, which reportedly still exceeded the standards for railing protecting seating areas.