As Rob continues his new editorial direction here at Ye Olde Journalista de la Bravos, I’ve been toying with a sort of semi-regular bit called “A-Town Down.” If we decide to make this a part of New More Moderner Less Web 1.5 Braves Journal, Rob will let you know… – ed
In Braveslandia, Tomahawk Take has a video-link to Freddie Freeman saying all the right things. “I want to be here forever.” “Hopefully I can be here for the rest of my career.” Eh’body loves ’em some Fre-Fre already, and this should solidify those huggy-bear vibes even more. You get the feeling he honestly wants to play out a mirror of Chipper’s career dedicated to one team. Yay Huggy-Bear!
There was also a quick hit bit somewhere out there of Thoppy and Snikt stating the obvious; “we’d like to address the alarming lack of power on this team”, in so many words. But I lost the link. I’m a horrible person. Life is hard. Otherwise it’s just a bit of recycling of the same themes we’ve seen for two years now. The farm is good. Ronald Acuna is very good. One day they may be good in Atlanta. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Falconstalk the week before them not appearing in the Super Bowl consisted mostly of rosterbation. “Scouting reports,” free agent options, and more or less the same type of things Braveslandia have been doing to pass the time between actual games. They’re almost certainly going to bring Matt Bryant’s vampire ass back. (duh) They’d like to extend Ricardo Allen if they can, but not if it eats money they’ll need to drop $30m per year into Matt Ryan’s extension. The sort of off-season stuff that only deep dive fans are really going to keep up with. But by all means, if you want a skeleton of UCF WR Tre’Quan Smith as a potential replacement for Taylor Gabriel as the speed option at third WR, or Twitter pics of Takk McKinley in pre-op before a shoulder surgery, The Falcoholic is your stop this morning…
United is wrapping up a massively busy off-season following their inaugural season. Having traded for USMNT starter Darlington Nagbe out of Portland, they then brought in super-prospect 18-year-old Ezequiel Barco on the largest transfer payment (buying rights to the player from his current team) in MLS history. Then they lost 2017 stalwarts Yamil Asad and Carlos Carmona to various transfers away. UTD couldn’t work out a permanent agreement with Velez Sarsfield, Asad’s South American team, who asking the bank for his rights full time. It’s a loss in the attacking half, and Barco will have big shoes to fill in his vacated starting role.
Carmona was sold (traded away) to Colo Colo, a team in his native Chile. The move came a bit out of the blue, late in the winter transfer window and was made to honor Carmona’s wishes to be near his wife as she goes through a pregnancy with complications. You hate to lose a pivotal controlling midfielder like that, but it’s nice to see people respecting family when they should.
UTD start preseason games this week, a welcome addition to the ATL sporting scene in a calendar trough where the news is mostly about Tom Brady not dying in a fire (go Iggles?!) and the occasional highlight of the Hawks tanking. For the record, it’s really odd following UTD as a franchise, because I’m seriously out of practice with Atlanta sports management teams do really smart things repeatedly. 1995 was a long time ago. Very weird.
Speaking of the local basketballers, in their first tank year the Hawks seem to be better at losing intentionally than the Braves were. At 15-36 they’re locked in a battle for lottery odds position with Orlando, Sacremento and Dallas. They have a few interesting young pieces (John Collins particularly flashes potential), but if you hated the 2015 Braves, you probably want to avoid the 2017-18 Hawks entirely. All they’re playing for is draft position, and a quality product on the floor doesn’t help them there.
Finally, in addition to the hot-ticket MLS squad ITP, UTD announced this winter a development team to play in the USL (think of it as AAA) going forward. Ingeniously named “Atlanta United 2” (the marketing department for this franchise will never be accused of out of the box creativity), they’ll be playing their home matches up in Gwinnett, giving Coolray Field another sporting event option when the G-Braves aren’t in town. UTD 2 will act very much like the G-Braves work with the MLB team, shuttling young players back and forth for development when they’re not needed on the big league team’s roster. Northern OTP’ers might want to take note.