Thursday, January 24, 2008

More on the Braves Blame Game

Thanks, Scott Bass. You saved me some time.

That’s because I’ve been meaning to write a piece about the early role the Richmond Ballpark Initiative played in the unraveling of the relationship between the Atlanta Braves and Richmond, Virginia. Bass has done a good job of it in this week's STYLE Weekly.

That isn't to say RBI was up to no good, but it did play a role. And, its proposal seemed to be much more about real estate than it ever was about baseball and baseball fans.

One of the things about this sad story that has annoyed me the most has been how some of the most blameworthy personalities have sought to cast the Richmond Metropolitan Authority’s general manager Mike Berry as a villain. Scott's piece in STYLE Weekly debunks that notion, somewhat, and reminds us of what might have been.
The owners of The Diamond, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, had been working with the Braves for two years on the $18.5 million plan; the bond issue was ready to go. All three jurisdictions — Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond — had agreed to kick in the funding to make it happen. You remember the plan, right? There was a grassy berm in the outfield where you could bring a picnic blanket and watch a game with the kids, something all the new stadiums have. It was pretty cool — improved fan sightlines, a new field and new locker rooms for the players.

But here was the most important part of that plan: The Braves, having worked with the authority for two years on the financing, had agreed in principle to a 10-year contract extension, keeping them in Richmond through 2014...
Click here to read Bass’ open letter to RBI.

Who remembers the downtown ballpark that former City Manager Calvin Jamison floated around before the RBI proposal surfaced? Click here to read "Field of Schemes," penned by yours truly in 2001 for

Meanwhile, the local blogosphere has been churning with angst about, and chuckling at, the news about losing the R-Braves. Links to a sampling are below:

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