Jan 26, 2012, 12:03 PM EDT
Braves fans were spoiled when Ted Turner owned the team. The games were broadcast all over the country and they spent on whatever they felt like it because Turner was simply mad. Mad, I say. Ah, those were the days.
In recent years the team has been owned by Liberty Media Corporation. That has been the opposite of fun. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of emotional investment in the team by ownership. Surprising considering corporations are just like people and everything.
But more to the point, it’s because Liberty Media sets a budget, sticks with it and seemingly has no interest in the Braves doing anything more grand than keeping the corporate balance sheet tidy. Oh sure, I imagine they’d like to see the team win, but not if it meant that someone would have to go back and edit an Excel spreadsheet to make it happen. That would be dreadful. And it may distract from pressing matters in the film or news divisions, and that just wouldn’t do.
Anyway, the team’s Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk sat for an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently, and it doesn’t look as though the thrilling efficiency that is Atlanta BravesCorp will be changing any time soon:
The Braves have set a player payroll budget of $94 million for this year, leaving them with several million dollars still to spend, the team’s chairman and CEO said.
Terry McGuirk, in a wide-ranging interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in his Turner Field office, also said team owner Liberty Media has expressed no intention of selling the club in the near future.
And on another significant note, McGuirk disclosed that the Braves are locked into 25-year local TV contracts that will prevent the franchise from cashing in on Major League Baseball’s trend toward dramatically higher telecast rights fees.
OK, fine. They have “several million more to spend.” But they seem to have no intention of spending it. And call me crazy, but I bet McGuirk gets a shiny star placed on his annual evaluation if he operates under budget. That’s how corporations work.
The TV thing is what kills me. We’ve seen a lot of teams make crazy-good TV deals recently that have allowed them to substantially increase payroll. The Rangers and Angels are just two which come to mind. Meanwhile, the Braves — owned by a media company which maybe should have seen the explosion in rights fees coming — are going to be locked into 2007 thinking for the next 20 years. Mercy.
Thank God it’s past noon now. I’ll be in the lounge for a few minutes.
- Video: Watch Kris Bryant get his first major league hit and RBI 4
- Yordano Ventura ejected for hitting Brett Lawrie with a pitch 15
- Pete Rose joins FOX as a baseball analyst 18
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 55
- Josh Hamilton’s teammates say he’s in great shape and ready to play 28
- Mike Trout hit his 100th career home run to become the youngest member of the 100 HR/100 SB club 26
- Make that two: Alex Rodriguez hits second homer of the night, giving him 658 for his career 48
- Alex Rodriguez hit his 657th career home run 49
- The Commissioner’s Office thinks that the Angels could indeed go after Josh Hamilton under his contract (153)
- “Why Ted Cruz is like the Atlanta Braves” (150)
- “We no longer need the terrorists. We’re now so good at terrorizing ourselves.” (143)
- Another argument in favor of making the DH universal (127)
- When it comes to Josh Hamilton, Arte Moreno is a craven opportunist, not a “smart businessman” (116)