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Braves Stadium Road Access Building May Kick Out Neighbors

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From left: Tim Lee, Cobb County chairman; Terry McGuirk, the Braves' chairman; William Rogers, the SunTrust chief executive; Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia; and the Hall of Famer Hank Aaron break ground for the Braves' new stadium in Cobb County, Ga. in 2014. Photo: John Amis/Associated Press

There are those who really believe baseball is just a sport, like the late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who in 1922 said baseball was a sport not an interstate business in the Baltimore Terrapins case against the National and American Leagues and gave baseball the ability to operate as a monopoly.

There are many fans who don’t want to look behind the curtain and just want to be entertained. But Major League Baseball is just a cold and ruthless industry that cares little about fans and loves well-heeled customers. That leads to the not Atlanta-based based Braves now of Cobb County, Georgia. The cable TV industry giant Liberty Media’s John Malone has moved his franchise to suburban Atlanta after 20 years in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Stadium because Malone and his investors have a chance to make more money.

The country came up with about $376 million to help Malone finance his new factory or stadium. Then came another $10 million for an access bridge for customers to walk over a highway to get to the place. Now comes word that the county plans to build a connector road to the stadium but there is one problem, there are homes in the way and at least 16 homes will be seized by eminent domain with the possibility of 15 more being seized and razed for the road. So people in the neighborhood are being kicked out for the stadium.

The county is hoping to get the construction started next summer or maybe eight months from now. The man who headed the charge for a new Braves stadium, Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee made the deal with Malone and last July voters made their decision to replace Lee. In April, Lee’s project will open much to the delight of Malone and Major League Baseball and some not too happy Cobb County residents.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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