Atlanta Braves: Have Pushed Fan Base to the Edge

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 15: A general view of SunTrust Park during the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 15: A general view of SunTrust Park during the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves are in the middle of an embarrassing front office scandal that has resulted in the forced resignation of their general manager and will certainly lead to more action from the MLB. After three years of watching their best players leave the Braves fan base may have been pushed too far.

The Atlanta Braves have had a tradition since the early 90’s of building around pitching and old school, hard nosed baseball. It is a brand of baseball that Braves’ fans were proud of and even with limited postseason success they could count on their team being in the postseason discussion and playing good baseball.

That tradition continued for years a tradition of winning teams that were in the postseason hunt and it continued through 2014 when the regime change began.

In fairness to those who made those decisions the 2014 season was disappointing the Braves failed to make the postseason despite a talented roster and fell under .500 finishing at 79-83 a year after coming close to beating the Dodgers in the NLDS.

Not a horrible year but certainly one that failed to deliver on the high expectations that Braves fans and players had for the team. It was the last straw for then GM Frank Wren who had just suffered a big free agent bust in B.J. Upton, this was the last straw.

The positive response was overwhelming among both media and fans as John Coppolella and John Hart were named as the new leadership and rumors begin to circulate that a torn down Braves farm system was going to be rebuilt.

In fairness to Frank Wren while he may not have made the brightest moves he did know how to put a winning team on the field and brought in many of the key acquisitions the Braves had during their success including current Braves star Freddie Freeman.

Coppolella and Hart came in with a plan and didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger sending fan favorites Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Evan Gattis out the door to the highest bidder.  Fans were livid with the front office for sending Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis away. They were two of the best stories and faces on the Braves roster and now they would play for other teams.

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In time that anger faded and many baseball wise Braves fans became committed to the rebuild.  A rebuild that hit another bump in the road when the Braves GM decided to part ways with star closer Craig Kimbrel days before the season began.

While keeping Kimbrel would not have been the right move for a rebuilding team the timing of the trade sent a bad message to a team that believed if they could get a game to the ninth it was all but won. The Braves proceeded to go 67-95 with one of the worst starts in Braves history. The season closed the book on Turner Field, as the Braves front office preached a new perspective and a dedication to competing heading into the next season.

The more time that Coppolella spent as the Braves’ GM the more trades piled up with him sending guys like Kelly Johnson to competing teams for minor prospects that he often bundled in other deals to bring in another prospect.

There is no denying that in the matter of three years time the Braves went from a disillusioned fan base to one that had bought fully into a rebuild that again made the Braves’ farm one of the best in the league and could set them up to compete for years to come.

No one saw what was coming and to some extent we still do not know how this will hurt the Braves in the future. What we do know is that John Coppolella was not the GM genius that Braves fans thought him to be.

While excuses were made for several very forgettable deals headlined by a mess of a trade for Hector Olivera even the most ardent Coppolella supporter cannot deny that the Braves are now stuck with black mark on their record because of Coppolella.

Leaving their fan base further disillusioned after two seasons of losing and being told that that a plan was in place for the Braves to compete for years to come. The Braves’ plan has now departed with Jon Coppolella. With it taking away the trust fans had in the rebuild and bringing back many of the same questions that fans had when fan favorite players were being shipped away.

Next: Braves Off-season Targets

If there was any question before there is none now, that the Braves fan base loyal as they are has been pushed to an edge. An edge that many will go over  if the Braves do not bring in new leadership that focuses not simply on prospects but bringing in Major League talent and with it bringing back the Braves tradition a tradition of a proud organization focused on playing the game the right way and most importantly winning.