Richmond Braves Moving
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting on its Web site that the Class AAA Richmond Braves are moving to Gwinnett County, which is a suburb of Atlanta.
The move will come following the 2010 season when the Braves’ lease with The Diamond expires.
Reporter David O’Brien cites two unnamed sources familiar with the situation. John Emmett, public relations manager for the Richmond Braves, said the team had "no comment on today's report."
The Braves have played at The Diamond since the mid-1980s and have been a part of the Richmond community since 1966. However, the deteriorating ballpark has raised questions from the Atlanta Braves franchise, local fans and Richmond city officials whether a new stadium should be built or an extensive renovation of The Diamond should take place.
No decision was reached and further discussions were put on hold after the Braves agreed to extend the current lease for up to three years in late August. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the parent team also said it was ready to hike annual rent payments to nearly $750,000 a year over 20 years for a new stadium that would cost around $35 million. That contribution would have accounted for nearly half of the annual cost to finance the stadium.
But the city hesitated and began a search to hire a developer for the Boulevard. The Times-Dispatch reported that this move frustrated Atlanta officials who were eager to sign a new agreement quickly.
It would appear the city was trying to play chicken with the Braves instead of sharing the road. There was no way the Atlanta franchise was going to entirely pay for a new stadium. It would seem each time the parent club tried to be reasonable and nail down a deal, the city came up with a reason to balk.
Now, the Braves have blinked and turned off the road to head back to Georgia. Maybe the city was gambling upon the perceived lack of interest in keeping the Braves. It will be interesting to realize if this notion is true.
A guess? Richmonders will not miss the team.