People have been talking around this since the announcement of the Braves move to Cobb County last week, but today Neil deMause of Field of Schemes asks the question directly: are the Braves leaving Atlanta because their primarily white fans hate going to the predominantly black and, allegedly, crime-infested neighborhood in which Turner Field sits?
It’s the sort of thing no one would ever cop to. And the sort of thing where merely asking the question is likely to be looked at as needlessly provocative. But it’s also a fair question given how frequently one sees comments, tweets, etc. from Braves fans that — perhaps even subconsciously — evince a greater comfort with being in the burbs than the city.
My personal view: the move is primarily about money and goodies given out by Cobb County on which the Braves would be silly to pass up. But there is definitely a sense out there that a lot of Braves fans will be happy to avoid what they perceive to be the ghetto on their way to see a ballgame.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.