The Braves are playing their last season at Turner Field. They’re also in cost-cutting mode all around. Put those two things together and it’s not hard to imagine that they’re going to cut some corners in their Dead Stadium Walking.
But one corner that shouldn’t be cut, as a matter of player health and safety and out of simple fairness and clean baseball, is the playing surface. Yesterday, there was a report that the Braves players are going to complain to the union about the quality of the surface.
But it’s not just a complaint from the local nine. Today Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, fresh from a series against the Braves, told Cliff Floyd and Casey Stern of SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel that the Turner Field surface is shoddy:
Casey Stern: “Braves players are possibly going to complain to the union about Turner Field. … What did you see, if anything, about the conditions of the field in Atlanta over the last few days you played there?”
Dave Roberts: “Yeah, I was extremely disappointed. And it’s no surprise that those (Braves) players are complaining about it because imagine playing 81 games there. This is Major League Baseball. There are going to be some important games played in that ballpark this year and to have a shoddy surface dictate outcomes is unfortunate. We had some errors there and the players, our guys, will own it. But I think that the playing surface, you know, no one wants extra work there because the field gets beat up and you see Corey Seeger lose his footing. It’s almost, I mean, I think that we get spoiled up here but it’s the Major Leagues and it should be the best of the best. And it’s a little unacceptable to me.”
The audio can be heard below.
I am sure the Braves will fire back hard with comments and will deny that there is anything wrong with the surface. I am sure that they will claim that anyone saying otherwise is not “telling the whole story” or something similarly P.R.-speaky. But if their own players are complaining and the manager of a team that just cleaned the local guys’ clocks and who won’t be coming back to the ballpark again is freely saying it on a national radio broadcast, there is likely fire to that smoke.
It’s bad enough that the Braves are abandoning the city they’ve called home and a stadium that that is less than 20 years old for what can only be described as a cash grab in the form of a new, taxpayer-subsidized suburban ballpark. But to skimp on the playing surface in their final year is a disgrace.