Archive for February, 2008

Braves Withdraw from Richmond

bravespeanuts.jpgMinor League affiliation can be a slippery thing. MLB teams change partners seemingly on a whim, sometimes bringing excitement to a small town, sometimes taking it away.

In the case of the Richmond Braves, however, the recent decision to move the Braves affiliate closer to the parent team came as an absolute shock. Richmond has been a Braves town since 1966, and fans thought they would always be a Braves town. The AAA affiliate will play one more lame-duck season in the central Virginia city and then move to the Atlanta suburbs.

A stadium for the Richmond Braves could be built on land the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve purchasing on Tuesday. Tuesday’s commission agenda lists a $5 million “purchase and sale agreement” of about 12 acres of land owned by Brand Properties. Brand Morgan, Brand Properties owner, declined to comment on the sale or what the land will be used for, but did say he plans to attend a news conference at Gwinnett Center on Tuesday.

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Richmond had been working on a long-term lease deal when the news came down, and the feeling is that they may not have been working fast enough, or following the avenues that the Braves wanted them to pursue. The Diamond is the Braves’ home in the city, and it lags behind other AAA venues in amenities.

Richmond city officials seem to have accepted the loss and moved on. Attempts to attract another team to the area are already underway []. It seems likely that a drop to AA ball might be in the cards if a deal is to be done quickly.