When the news hit that the Atlanta Braves were for sale, the response was immediate, expressive, and overwhelmingly positive. No more out of town corporate ownership! Back to the good old days when a real live human being from Atlanta who really cared ran the team. Many called for the Mouth of the South himself to buy back his old club; many more called for Arthur Blank, the popular owner of the Falcons.
Say hello to an out-of-town corporate media conglomerate owner, Liberty Media. The angst is real, the frustration palpable. Rather than an owner with a face who loves the Braves we will have an owner with a bunch of suits in a board room who sees the Braves as a great tax write-off. And that will come in handy when the Braves need to trade for middle relief and/or a bat off the bench.
On the lighter side, the whole thing has me wondering what might happen in the move from TBS to QVC. (Yes, Liberty Media’s holdings include a home shopping empire).
During live telecasts Skip Caray and the supporting cast could hawk all kinds of jewelry. Each inning could feature a new item. “And with that single, Marcus Giles has just extended your window of opportunity to get this fabulous lampshade in time for Mother’s Day!” (Wait a minute… Marcus Giles doesn’t single that much as a leadoff hitter…)
Of course the Braves could wear even more uniforms than they already do. Those Sunday home-game Red jerseys could be complemented with Thursday Throwbacks and Black Mondays. And memorabilia would be flying off the shelves. “This is the ball that Jeff Francouer actually took to earn a walk!”
When the inevitable cost-cutting measures get enacted, John Schuerholz could hold a very special auction for Marcus Giles (“You should have seen him in the 2 hole”), Adam Laroche (“Somebody out there wants him… look at that glove! OK Adam will be 50% off for the next 2 hours”), and whoever is coming up on arbitration.
That’s compelling television. Why didn’t Jeffrey Loria think of this?