Rockin’ The Suburbs

Like pretty much everybody else, I was shocked and stunned when the word got out that the Atlanta Braves would be leaving not-yet-legal-drinking-age-if-it-were-a-person Turner Field for a new ballpark constructed specifically for them in Cobb County, north of the city of Atlanta.

2010 Upper Deck #542 - Atlanta Braves BP - Courtesy of

2010 Upper Deck #542 – Atlanta Braves BP – Courtesy of

From a sheer business standpoint, it’s a no-brainer.  Your lease is coming up, someone’s gonna give you a far better deal, you jump at it.

From a more subjective standpoint, this seems kind of shifty somehow.  Of course, as a Mets fan, I don’t need any encouragement towards thinking that the Braves are pond scum.

I also wonder what this will do to the Braves attendance.  On the website dedicated to this project, they’ve got a “blood spatter” map that shows that the new ballpark is in the heart of Braves country, at least when you consider where the people buying tickets are located… but that’s where the ticket buyers live.  The real question is “Where are they coming from when they go to games?”   How many of them go to weeknight games from work, and how many work in Atlanta?

1994 Score Atlanta Braves Checklist

I know this isn’t Turner Field, but all of my Braves “stadium” cards feature Fulton County Stadium.

As someone who follows minor league baseball in terms of both prospects and the business thereof, the other thing that sprung to  mind is the plight of the AAA Gwinnett Braves.

The Braves talked up a good game when they moved their AAA team to a different Atlanta suburb from the one they’re moving the big team to.  It sounded great on paper… Putting a minor league team into a market where they have an instant fan base.  The Brooklyn Cyclones do great in the Mets’ backyard… The Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Reading Fightin’ Phils do extremely well in the shadow of Philadelphia, as do the Frisco Roughriders in suburban Dallas/Ft. Worth.

But check out the average attendance figures for the G-Braves since they moved to Gwinnett County:

2009:  First season, brand new ballpark, disappointing honeymoon – 5,966 avg. attendance, 12th in the International League, 20th in AAA

2010:  4,818, 13th in the IL, 26th in AAA

2011:  5,095, 12th in the IL, 24th in AAA

2012:  4,680, 12th in the IL, 26th in AAA

2013:  4,762, 13th in the IL, 26th in AAA

…So in 5 seasons in suburban Atlanta, the G-Braves have never averaged 6,000 fans per game, and have never finished higher than 12th in the league in average attendance or 20th in AAA.  I know there are probably several dozen reasons why it doesn’t apply to the Major League club, but it does makes me wonder.

I  do hope that this is a bad move for the Braves, because the fewer chanting, foam tomahawk-waving zombies there are, the better.

At any rate, it’s all good for the Atlanta Braves, because in their new ballpark they’ll be rockin’ the suburbs…


A message to readers of The Shlabotnik Report: I’ve noticed that many of the blogrolls show my most recent post as being from this past Friday, but as you may have noticed, that is decidedly not the case.

Please be aware that I publish every day, usually around 7am EST, so if I’m not showing up on the blogroll of your choice, please don’t think that I’ve abandoned you.

Thank you,

Joe S.

My Favorite 2012 Orioles, Part 2: The Gold Glovers

The Orioles had three different Gold Glove winners this year, much to my surprise… Not that I think any of the three are not worthy, but I’m just used to my teams getting snubbed for these types of things. Unlike so many things with the Orioles, the last time the Orioles had multiple Gold Gloves in one year was not 1997, but rather 1998 when Mike Mussina, Rafael Palmeiro and Roberto Alomar won at their positions. At least Raffy actually played first base that year… in 1999, while with Texas, Palmeiro won the Gold Glove despite the fact that he played only 28 games at first, and appeared in 128 other games as a DH.

…but I digress…

J.J. Hardy became my favorite Oriole last year, he was just so much fun to watch in the field… in fact, the t-shirt I wear to Orioles games is an orange J.J. Hardy faux jersey. It’s hard to believe that the Orioles got Hardy and Brendan Harris from the Twins for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey, neither of whom are in the Twins organization anymore.

Although J.J. didn’t hit for much average this year, he had 22 homers and 68 RBI, not bad for a defensive shortstop.

Matt Wieters is also fun to watch, especially when someone tries to run on him (not usually a good idea). Because Matt Wieters cards are few and far between, I’ve made a few customs of Mr. Wieters. I could show another one here, but I’d rather show off my relatively new Matt Wieters collection. I got this 2010 Upper Deck card – my first real Wieters – at the National.

…and a month or so later I got what I consider the “key card” to the Triple Play set .

I showed this card to Mrs. Shlabotnik; she laughed and said that the image looks more like Matthew Perry than Matt Wieters. As Chandler Bing would say, “That is SO not Matt Wieters!”

I had to defend Adam Jones to some co-workers after he misjudged a ball against the Yankees. Someone pointed out that he was so nonchalant about it that he was blowing a bubble while going after the ball, and I had to explain that he always blows bubbles when going after a ball… it’s not an indication of effort or focus, that’s just Adam. Incidentally, this was his second Gold Glove; he won the first in 2009.

Upper Deck Really Didn’t Give A Crap, Did They?

I got this card out of a dime box, and it just floored me. You probably all know the deal with the 2010 Upper Deck baseball set…. Here’s a company that was producing a set not licensed by Major League Baseball, and they weren’t supposed to show any team logos or use the trademarked team names or anything like that. And yet, they use this photo of the “Anaheim ballpark”:
By my counts there are 5 Angels logos prominently featured in this photo, along with the word “ANGEL” clearly visible against a bright blue sky.  I suppose the UD lawyers might’ve said that the park is a public venue and they can’t control what logos might happen to fall within such a photo of a municipal facility, yadda yadda yadda.

Or they just didn’t care.

An Arbitrary Selection Of Mets I Got At The National

…and, just because it’s Labor Day, my top 10 songs with “work” in the title:

“A Clean Break (Let’s Work)” — Talking Heads
“Dirty Work” — Steely Dan

“Don’t Gotta Work It Out” — Fitz And The Tantrums
“Finest Worksong” — R.E.M.

“I Never Go To Work” — They Might Be Giants
“There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis” — Kirsty MacColl

“We Can Work It Out” — The Beatles
“Workin’ At The Car Wash Blues” — Jim Croce

“Working Man” — Domestic Science Club
“Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me Girl” — The Spinners