Holding his tongue can't be easy for former Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner. He has a history of, well, saying what's on his mind.
An exception: The topic of the Braves moving from downtown Atlanta to suburban Cobb County and a new $672 million stadium, plans for which the team announced in November. At first, all Turner said was that he didn't own the team anymore, he hadn't since 2001, and he hoped they kept winning in their new home. It was almost a "no comment." Later that month, a TV station in Atlanta got Turner to say at a Turner Field event, "I'd like to see 'em stay here." Ah. Now we're getting somewhere.
Turner on Wednesday finally said what has been on his mind since November: He wouldn't have moved the Braves out of Turner Field. The Atlanta Business Chronicle cornered Turner briefly at the Georgia Technology Summit being held, coincidentally, at the Cobb Galleria Theatre — practically in the shadow of where the new stadium will go:
After the fireside chat, in a one-on-one brief interview, Turner elaborated on his thoughts about the Braves planned move to Cobb, which he made a point of saying is not in Atlanta.
Asked why he was against the move, Turner said: “It’s tradition. I never would have done it. They tried to get me to move the Hawks and I didn’t do it.”
Attaboy, Ted! Give 'em heck. Further, he's more cynical than sentimental about the prospect of the city tearing down Turner Field, which was named for him and has housed the Braves since 1997.
“The one in Cobb is not going to be named after me,” Turner said. “That’s probably why they want to do this. They can make a lot of money selling the naming rights.”
(Side note: Those naming rights aren't as profitable as you might think, Ted.)
Give him credit: In his day, Ted was always pregnant with ideas. He was a broadcasting pioneer, putting the Braves on TV nationwide; he started the cable news industry with CNN; he colorized "It's A Wonderful Life." OK, so he didn't always knock it out of the park.
As lovable as ol' Ted has been, there are reasons he doesn't own a baseball team anymore — and they're not insulting ones, either. The Braves are run by a corporation whose first loyalty is to shareholders and not Braves fans. The best deal for the Braves is, probably, the one they're getting from Cobb County.
What's Turner doing these days, anyhow? He's off trying to save the world, literally. A noted environmentalist and peace-lover (before it was cool), Turner also recalled how he tried to better relations with Russia back in the day by creating the Goodwill Games — an attempt to remove politics from the Olympics.
“We did a lot of work with Russia and the Goodwill Games,” Turner said. “We’ve got to be very careful and respectful of each other. We each have the ability to destroy the world, and I don’t want to see that happen. I like the earth. Time Warner canceled the Goodwill Games. I wouldn’t have canceled them. I wouldn’t have moved the Braves to Cobb County either.”
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