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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Goodbye Atlanta Braves, Hello Atlanta Surge?

Turner Field, home of the ... Atlanta Surge?
If one man gets his way, Turner Field won't get razed in 2017 after the Atlanta Braves move up to its new Cobb County stadium. Instead, a brand new baseball team - known as, wait for it ... the Atlanta Surge - would replace the longtime professional baseball club at the Ted.

The idea for the Surge comes from veteran Atlanta ad exec Mike McDonald, a self-proclaimed lifelong baseball fan, who wants to bring a second Major League Baseball team to metro Atlanta. And he wants the Surge's slogan to be the following: "Let's Turner Lemon into Lemonade!"

The AJC's Tim Tucker, who first reported on the proposal last night, writes from behind the AJC's paywall:

He has presented the idea to some local politicos and business folks. He has talked to lawyers about how to challenge MLB. He even wrote a letter to the Tampa Bay Rays, asking if they'd be interested in relocating. The Rays haven't responded and McDonald has decided he'd prefer the fresh start of an expansion team.

[...]

McDonald already has a name in mind for the AL team he seeks: the Atlanta Surge, drawn from the city motto Resurgens (Latin for rising again). He envisions the city and county receiving an equity stake in the team in return for use of the venue, and an investor group operating the team with him. He says MLB should waive an expansion fee as a way to settle the damages of the Braves leaving the city limits.

He expects people to "take shots" at his plan and says that is fine.

McDonald believes that Atlanta and Fulton County are "owed" a team for their longstanding financial and emotional investments into the Braves' franchise. But it's unlikely the region will land another ball club. There's not enough demand, according to one expert. Plus, the Braves have exclusive rights from MLB for all home games played in most of the metro region - which could be problematic.

The Atlanta Braves declined to comment on the prospects of the Surge. But at least Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts said the proposal was "a magnificent idea." That's a start!

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