Braves’ move has some folks sour and dour
by Dick Yarbrough
May 31, 2014 12:00 AM | 4902 views | 4 4 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
Would somebody get Jeff Schultz his binky before he hurts himself? Schultz is a sports columnist for the Atlanta newspapers whose humor I generally admire. (He predicted a number of years ago that the winner of an Alabama-Mississippi football game would be granted admission to the 21st Century. Not Furman Bisher caliber, but pretty funny stuff.)

Alas, the man is in a sour and dour mood these days over the proposed move of the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County. Schultz has accused Cobb Chairman Tim Lee of everything from starting World War II to the heartbreak of psoriasis.

He was especially peeved at how last Tuesday’s bond hearing went and that supporters of the move of the team to Cobb County had out-maneuvered the gaggle of professional dissidents and secured all the allotted slots for public comment. Schultz quotes none other than my main man, Rich Pellegrino, of the Citizens for Government Transparency — not to be confused with all the Whatevers for Whatever for whom he has provided his invaluable leadership over the years.

I assume Pellegrino was Schultz’s highest and best source that evening since a valued member of the opposition team, Tea Party stalwart Debbie Dooley, is still in Blue Ridge receiving accolades for having kept Georgia House Speaker David Ralston’s re-election margin to plus-or-minus a landslide.

Pellegrino told Schultz that he and his gang weren’t able to get speaking slots at the meeting because “We don’t get corporate welfare — we have to work.” Oh, please.

I am going out on a limb here, but I suspect that Justin O’Dell, a highly-respected young attorney in Marietta and one of the speakers in favor of the move, works too; maybe as hard or harder than Pellegrino, and to my knowledge has never encouraged high school kids to walk out of class to protest a piece of legislation he didn’t like or enticed two poor souls to go on a honey-and-lemon fast in one of his protests de jour while somehow managing not to get included himself.

I’m not sure why the Atlanta newspaper feels this urgency to protect us from ourselves in Cobb County. I would suggest it is one more example of the Our-Sweat-Doesn’t-Stink-But-Yours-Does mentality that emanates from the City of Atlanta, aka “Malfunction Junction,” where the sewers don’t work and neither do a number of its inhabitants.

But that can’t be it. The Atlanta newspapers are not in Atlanta anymore, Toto. They are chunking their spears and arrows of righteous indignation at us from their offices in bucolic Dunwoody, which is further from downtown Atlanta than the Big Chicken is.

Maybe Schultz and his colleagues are frustrated because, unlike the Braves, their bosses didn’t choose to move to Cobb but opted instead for DeKalb County, that paradigm of honest and transparent government. (Insert joke here.) Maybe they should consider a honey-and-lemon fast or walk out in the middle of a slow-pitch softball game in downtown Dunwoody. Or maybe they should get over it. The Braves are coming to Cobb County, whether they like it or not. Get the binkies ready.

On the other hand, I would suggest that Tim Lee not make it so easy to incite the folks in Dunwoody with what is coming across as arrogant and high-handed management of the process. Most everyone I have talked to — note to Atlanta newspaper scribes: I live and work in Cobb County. You should try it — are pleased to see the Braves coming to Cobb County. And we are smart enough to oversee the details for ourselves. We don’t need an out-of-town newspaper and a group of publicity-seeking special interest groups — or warm-spit anonymous commentators — to do it for us.

But let’s have a little less bullying. This is a democracy, after all. While I enjoyed seeing Pellegrino and his crowd put on the defensive because the other side was the more aggressive, it would not have hurt to give the naysayers a few minutes to fulminate. What Lee did in denying them their 15 seconds of fame was the baseball equivalent of stealing second base while leading by 10 runs. Not classy.

I had no love lost for the Atlanta Braves in the days of Ted Turner and Stan Kasten, the unpleasant president of the team during our run-up to the 1996 Olympic Games. This is a different group. Mike Plant, the team’s executive vice president and point man on the deal, is a straight-shooter and has shown a willingness to deal with questions and concerns from proponents and opponents alike. Chairman Lee could take some lessons from him.

In closing, let me thank the folks in Dunwoody for their concerns about our well-being here in Hooterville, but I think we can take it from here. Dan Uggla needs you worse than we do.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139; online at or on Facebook at
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Rich Pellegrino
June 05, 2014
Dick, thanks for the accolades, as always, but you didn't do your research well enough about my escapades, and those of Justin Odell--otherwise you would have known that when Justin recently switched parties to run for the State House, he reached out to me and my loony immigrant friends and groups to campaign for him--and we helped him reach out to the Latinos in his district--so I guess we are or were both outside of your mainstream bunch. I guess Justin is trying to get back in the "club" by cheerleading for billionaire corporate welfare and shady back room deals which have always constituted "the Cobb Way"--which you so aptly defend.

And in this Braves and transparency fish fry it appears that I have joined the mainstream even more so than Justin since the recent polls taken in half of Cobb indicate that 87% of the people feel as I and our group, Citizens for Governmental Transparency, do about this whole Braves either we are influencing public opinion or we reflect public opinion--overwhelmingly--otherwise the Braves (funded) groups would not be scrambling to put up billboards and other PR desperation.
You Fancy, Huh
June 04, 2014
This would be an example of what the experts call "sore winning." Cobb county pays $400 million for a baseball team and now they won't stop complaining that there are some people who don't like the deal. Suck it up, Cobb, and own your decisions. If you're happy with your new baseball team, you shouldn't care what anyone thinks.
Looking at both side
June 01, 2014
- I will agree with the fact the Lee is arrogant and needs to take lessons. As far as most people are glad to see the Braves coming (and I live and work here) - obviously you haven't talked to some of the people I have or the people that work and live in that very area (Cumberland). You should have stated that we CAN'T take it from here because economists have stated "they know of no major league ballpark that justifies public subsidy". How can you ignore the American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institute, and Cato Institutes actually stated there was a dip in per capita income and a net loss of jobs after a stadium was built. To top it off - you can't even get the Braves to commit to a minimum $$ investment or a date for the private development completion (time to look at the Gwinnett lack of development)!!! I for one do not like my tax dollars being decided on without my say so (my vote) and am totally against SPLOST dollars that I voted to fund something specific being redirected to something else (there has to be some ethics violation there)!
June 01, 2014
Well said.
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