Are the Braves leaving Atlanta because of crime? Because of race?

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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.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.