Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blog Transition to ATL All Day

Hey everyone. I just wanted to let yall know a piece of news that I got this week. I contacted the guys over at Fansided, a partner blog with Sports Illustrated, and they really liked the work I've been doing here on Braves by the Numbers. So, they've offered me a staff blogger position at ATL All Day, the local Atlanta sports blog on their Fansided Network.

It's a great opportunity to head over there and do some work for them covering the Braves and some UGA sports with a great group of other passionate bloggers. The downside is that they have a non-compete so I can't do both blogs at once. The upside is they have links to SI, a picture sharing deal with USA Today, and an audience of almost 30,000 to 40,000 viewers a month. Really, I'll get to work with a team, which will cut down on some of the work I have to do daily, but it will mean more exposure and opportunities, which is the great part about it.

So I want to let you know that you can find me over there at ATLallday.com writing under my real name Ben Pace. You can also keep track of things I'm doing on my twitter @BentheCPA. During this 2014 season I'll be working with them, and I'm looking really forward to it. I hope you look forward to checking out my articles over there with all the new fancy pictures.

So make sure to take a look, and let me know what you think of the change. It should be a great way to track the Braves as they get ready to take on the 2014 NL East.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Spring Training Schedule 2014

For those of you who are looking forward to baseball season beginning again (like me), here's the Spring Training Schedule for the Braves. Most of these games aren't televised unless you have MLB's package or whatever, but I will be recapping them semi-weekly in 3-4 game bunches so we can have some talking points on the new Braves roster. Anyway, the countdown to the first Spring Training game is on, and it's about 50 days away if you're counting.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Bobby Cox Elected to Hall of Fame

Tom Glavine: 305 Wins, 3.54 ERA, 22 Seasons, 682 Starts, 56 Complete Games, 2607 Ks
Greg Maddux: 355 Wins, 3.16 ERA, 23 Seasons, 740 Starts, 109 Complete Games, 3371 Ks

Two legendary pitchers of Atlanta Braves history are going into the Hall of Fame today on the first ballot. It's well deserved for both given their on the field performances. We're unlikely to ever see another 300 game winner the way rotations work now in the MLB, let alone how the Tommy John surgery has claimed season after season for young pitchers. Greg and Tom anchored a staff along with John Smoltz that helped the Braves dominate the NL East for over a decade.

Greg Maddux is the pitcher I think of when I think of the most accurate hurlers alive. Maddux could masterfully pain the corners with his fastball, put the ball exactly where the mitt was placed, and catchers would jokingly say you could catch the man with your eyes closed. He's the perfect picture of consistency, tendency, and baseball IQ. He knew hitters and knew how to confuse them. He knew where they would and wouldn't swing. He knew how to change speeds and go up and down the ladder at will. Most importantly, he was a stubborn bulldog who never wanted to give up on any pitch or any count.

Glavine was the classic young lefty who started with good speed on his fastball and later developed into the traditional "crafty lefty" that could beat you with a combination of the fastball and changeup. He would confused hitters at the plate and then catch them off guard with an array of other pitchers that included the curve and the slider. If Glavine were pitching today in his 20s, he's probably be as famous as Clayton Kershaw, or David Price. He would be the Ace that every team would want to pitcher first in the playoffs for their team. And Atlanta had THREE of those guys during the 90s with Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. It was an embarrassment of riches. It also shows you how much pitching matters when it comes to winning games.

One legend across all of baseball, Bobby Cox, was also included in the Hall of Fame this year, and we'll forever remember Bobby as the manager during these pitchers' tenure in Atlanta, as well as bringing Atlanta its only professional sports championship in 1995. Without that, the city of Atlanta would have absolutely nothing to be proud of except for a continuous streak of division titles. And let's be fair, we'd trade that for another World Series ring.

Those were the glory days of the Atlanta Braves. We're probably not going to win that many division titles in a row, nor will any other baseball team. But we do have a good shot at putting 3 dominant pitchers on the mound to win a World Series. The Braves have always valued good pitching over all else, and it shows by all these men making it to the Hall of Fame today. I congratulate them all as a fan and ticket-holder.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Phillies sign $2.5 Billion TV deal

Yep, take that handful of salt and rub it all in the wounds of our current payroll situation. A couple billion could buy our way out of a lot of problems like Dan Uggla and BJ Upton if he doesn't turn a corner. The Phillies will get about $100M takehome a year in their deal just on TV rights alone. The Braves will get about $20M max a year on that same period.

For the next 14 years, we're completely screwed on TV dollars.

That's why we moved the stadium, because the Braves will soon be the only team in the Majors that isn't making at least $50M a year on their TV rights, and we have a larger following than almost anybody in baseball. The Braves have to find a way to make the revenues match up to other teams through better attendance, more parking money, more naming rights money, and more amenities. For now, we're going to be okay. In the next 5 years, we might be okay. In 10 years, I'm not sure.

There are possible dark days coming between 2020-2027 when most teams will have already renegotiated their TV deals, and the Braves are still operating a team at $95M in payroll. The Braves are already in 18th place in payroll in 2013.

But hey, money isn't everything. Several teams spending less than the Braves made the playoffs, like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Oakland. It's not impossible to craft a team with a low payroll threshold and produce a consistent winner on the field. The Marlins proved in 2003 you can even win a World Series with the 25th payroll in the league. Still, your winners this year were the Boston Red Sox, a team that was 4th in payroll. The Giants in 2012 were 8th. The Cardinals in 2011 were 11th. The Giants in 2010 were 10th. I can go on and on, but for the most part, the winners of the World Series have averaged out in the top half of payroll in the MLB. That means the bottom half has for the most part gone wanting on the big trophy, regardless of playoff appearances.

If there's one thing the Braves need to lobby for it's either amnesty out of bad contracts, or a salary cap in the MLB. Otherwise, Frank Wren is going to have to become a master of moneyball.