The Braves Ballpark Bamboozling is beginning on schedule

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A little more than 48 hours after the Braves announced their move to Cobb County, an editorial has appeared in the Marietta Daily Journal celebrating the move. And, boy is it a celebration:

The move by the Atlanta Braves to Cobb is a homerun for this county. The economic impact will be huge, the new stadium “will be one of the most magnificent ever built,” according to Braves president John Schuerholz … Schuerholz has strong management skills but, most importantly, he has integrity. He is not given to hyperbole … this deal should be a slam dunk for commissioners … What is so appealing to the commissioners is the economic impact which obviously will be very substantial.

Obviously. Except nowhere in this endorsement if there any consideration or assessment of that impact. The closest we get to it is when he says that there will “probably” be hotels.  Really. A companion editorial is a little less cheerleader-y in tone, but says this:

Revenue bonds could be paid off with funds generated by the stadium complex, although county taxpayers could still be responsible for making up the difference if stadium or other revenues fall short . . . A more likely scenario, though, is that the stadium will more than pay for itself and that its presence will unleash a flood of additional sales and hotel/motel tax revenues.

More likely? Based on what, peyote hallucinations? How about some acknowledgment — even the slightest acknowledgment — that every single stadium ever built has been accompanied by promises of economic development that have gone unfulfilled. That pie-in-the-sky “it’ll pay for itself” rhetoric is almost always shown to be utter baloney in the end. How about a little more critical thinking and a little less magical thinking

Not happening, because boy howdy, magical thinking is clearly the order of the day here. To wit: there are acknowledgments of traffic problems that are quickly dismissed with an assertion that they’ll surely fix those problems by then. How they’ll fix it is all vague, but we have top men on it. Top. Men. And there is an assertion that “99% of taxpayers” will not feel any sting from this thing because of some magic taxes that don’t have any economic implications at all will take care of it. Don’t worry your pretty little head.

None of those kinds of assertions ever turn out to be the case, of course. Stadiums always cost more than first claimed. The public part of the bill is always bigger than it’s initially claimed to be. The economic impact of these places is always far less, if it even exists at all. But this time it’ll be different, though! Because Jon Schuerholz has integrity. And the commissioners find it appealing. It’s a home run/slam dunk hybrid, after all.

Why do people continue to peddle this stuff? Maybe it’s because people buy it. Or don’t care. But whatever the case, the fact that it is peddled at all is an absolute disgrace. It’s cheerleading disguised as journalism.

And all of it will be forgotten when there’s a “Marietta Daily Journal” sign painted on the left field wall of the new ballpark and when the publishers and editors of the paper are ensconced in their luxury boxes, watching the Braves play ball.

(h/t to J.C. Bradbury for the heads up)

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.