Braves bolt for ‘burbs

In a stunning move that shook fans of the Atlanta Braves to their core, the team announced that following the 2016 season, they’ll move to the cozy confines of Cobb County, abandoning the city of Atlanta after 50 years. Unless you are omnipotent, no one saw this coming. The team’s lease on Turner Field expires on December 31, 2016 and it was no secret that Braves’ officials were not pleased with the current arrangement. However, few, if any thought the team would actually move.

It was a lot to process this morning for everyone. News outlets scrambled to report the story, while fans reacted with excitement, hesitancy, and in some cases, anger. Personally, I was shocked and a bit dismayed. Earlier this year, the Braves and the city looked at several proposals to redevelop the parking lots around Turner Field, turning them into the mixed-use development that Braves desperately want (and apparently will get in Cobb County). I knew full well that the Braves’ lease on Turner Field expired and it was going to take something big for the city to retain the Braves. However, I assumed a deal would be reached, because let’s face it, a 20-year old ballpark isn’t that old (Wrigley Field celebrates hits 100 next year) and despite already being one of the older National League parks, Turner Field is in pretty good shape. Yes, the team and city desperately needed to fix an untenable traffic and parking problem, and there’s no question that the area surrounding Turner Field wasn’t exactly pretty, but to pack up and leave? Seems a bit sudden and drastic.

We don’t know a ton about this move, other than the expected cost, the location, and when the Braves are packing their bags for Cobb. However, it will be a sad day for me. Turner Field was my second home as a kid. I’ve been a huge Braves fan my entire life and when I moved to Atlanta in 1998, I was beyond ecstatic for the chance to hang out at the Ted every summer and I did. Every season since then, I’ve attended multiple games at Turner Field and loved every minute of my time there. Over the next three seasons, I hope to make a few more great memories and regardless of where they go, I will always root for my home team.

Anyways, I’ll provide my full thoughts on the move in the coming hours or days as I process everything.

Details on the move:

  • It was going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million to make infrastructure improvements to Turner Field
  • The Braves started discussing improving the parking, traffic, and overall infrastructure surrounding Turner Field with the city of Atlanta starting in 2005; those negotiations didn’t go very far
  • Cobb County offered $450 million to help cover the cost of a new stadium (estimated at $672 million overall)
  • The new stadium will be located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285 near Cumberland Mall in Cobb County
  • The team started talking to Cobb County sometime in July
  • The Braves want to build a large, mixed use developed featuring shops and restaurants to keep fans engaged before and after games, and throughout the year
  • The Braves are meeting with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Governor Nathan Deal on Wednesday at the State Capitol
  • On November 26, the Cobb County Commission will vote on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Braves (this means no new taxes can be created to fund the stadium, but it’s likely some taxes will increase in order to coverthe $450 million cost Cobb County agreed to pay

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