The Braves front office is still in turmoil

Associated Press
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In Atlanta, general manager John Coppolella has resigned in disgrace and old hands — and old friends — John Hart and John Schuerholz are running things at the moment. But if you think that’s providing any stability for the organization, think again. Jon Heyman says that’s not the case at all:

Former best friends John Schuerholz and John Hart, who run the Atlanta Braves now, are said to be at odds over things related to the team and currently having a tough time getting along, so there could be more upheaval in the organization.

People with ties to the team say they believe Schuerholz would love to bring in Dayton Moore, and have Moore, a longtime Braves executive before he went to Kansas City, groom Schuerholz’s son Jonathan, who runs the farm system for the Braves.

First off, can we talk about Jonathan Schuerholz? I know very little about him, but boy, how lucky is it for the Braves that the guy who happens to be John Schuerholz’s son is best guy to run the Braves in the future? It’s very similar to how, apparently, Jonathan Schuerholz was the best player available for the Braves when his father selected him in the eighth round of the 2002 draft. His ascendance must be a function of cosmic forces, beyond the Braves’ control, willing the most qualified guy for various jobs to the forefront, over and over again!

That aside, why on earth would Dayton Moore want this job? While, yes, the Braves system is quite talented and while Moore has ties to the Braves, he has won two pennants and a World Series with the Royals. Also: the GM job would be a lateral move at best and, practically speaking, a demotion given that the Braves keep Schuerholz, Hart and advisors like Bobby Cox around, all who seemed to have influence or veto power over Coppolella. In Kansas City Moore answers to the owner. The only way he’d probably take the Braves job would if he were to be named President of Baseball Operations with no one between him and team CEO Terry McGuirk, which would mean shoving out the two men bickering at the top right now. And the boy wonder who Moore wold supposedly groom to be his own replacement.

The only winner in all of this mess in Atlanta seems to be Brian Snitker, the manager who would’ve probably been fired if it wasn’t for the Copolella scandal but who keeps his job because, hey, you gotta stop the upheaval at some point. Good for him, but it’s saying something about an organization when that’s your basis of job security.

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.