Braves send letter to frustrated fans

The Braves’ franchise-worst September collapse, in which they blew an 8-1/2-game wild-card lead in 3-1/2 weeks — matching the largest lead ever blown by a National League playoff contender in the final month — has resulted in an unusual response from the top of the organization to season ticket holders.

In what amounts to an organizational mea culpa,  Braves president John Schuerholz sent a letter that thanks fans for continued support, cites several accomplishments by the team during the 2011 season and notes the depth of the organization, and then says that ultimately the team failed to reach its ultimate goal because of a performance in September that was “unnacceptable to all in the organization.”

For an organization that prides itself on keeping an even keel and reacting to all situations in a sort of button-downed, measured tone, it was a noticeably strong response from the person who has long been the primary force behind that philosophy.

We might add, it was a smart first step toward soothing some of the disappointment, frustration and, yes, outright anger expressed by many fans since the end of the 9-18 September debacle.

Here is the letter, which was shared today by a fan named Steve (last name withheld).

(Braves logo here on letterhead)
755 Hank Aaron Dr SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30315

October 6, 2011

Dear Steve,

On behalf of the entire Braves organization, I would like to thank you for all of the great support you showed us this season. Your continued involvement in this team plays a pivotal role in our ability and drive to succeed. While there were many exciting moments during our 2011 season, unfortunately, we fell short of our ultimate goal. Together, we share in the disappointment and frustration of how and when this season ended.

For a majority of the season we owned one of the four best records in baseball. We had five members of our team representing the Braves at the All-Star Game, and we had the two best rookies in the league on our team – either Kimbrel or Freeman will surely win the Rookie of the Year Award. We witnessed an historic hitting streak by Dan Uggla and his incredible defense all year. Throughout the season, we began to see the remarkable depth of talent in our young players.

However, our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal.

Like you, I am very proud of the history and achievements of your Atlanta Braves organization. However proud we are of that legacy, I would like to reiterate to you that our focus is on the future and our goal for next season is to win a World Championship for you, our loyal fans.

Once again, I appreciate all you do to support the Braves organization and team. I truly hope you will continue to be part of the great atmosphere and community we all share in Braves Country.

Sincerely,

John Schuerholz
President
Atlanta Braves

399 comments Add your comment

Geaux Braves

October 6th, 2011
11:09 am

JackDennis

October 6th, 2011
11:10 am

nice gesture

Pierson Brave

October 6th, 2011
11:12 am

Hmm. Sounds good but the proof is in the pudding. We will see if the team can respond to this next spring.

GrahamLIOG

October 6th, 2011
11:12 am

I guess Schuerholz is taking advantage of the fact that “incredible” doesn’t necessarily mean “good” when referencing Uggla’s defense.

Kane337

October 6th, 2011
11:14 am

notbspn

October 6th, 2011
11:15 am

Decent of John to write this. I go into why the Braves collapsed in much greater detail on my blog.
http://notbspn.com

Bryan

October 6th, 2011
11:18 am

Here’s an idea…quit being cheapskates when you play in a division with the Yankees of the NL. Philly is willing to spend money to get key players. The Braves keep trying to scrape by on the cheap.

bruce

October 6th, 2011
11:21 am

If I was a season ticket holder (live in DC area), I would appreciate receiving this letter.

kpokeefe

October 6th, 2011
11:21 am

Let’s see…File that in the round filer.

epinez

October 6th, 2011
11:27 am

Ya know, I’m glad to see that both Wren and JS are not taking any of this lightly. I don’t know if the “Bobby Cox effect” has worn off a bit or what, but from listening to Wren and reading that letter, the front office seems a little pissed off. I don’t know what, if any, affect it’ll have for next season, but I for one am somewhat appeased by the reaction the FO has had thus far. Still not happy, but somewhat appeased nonetheless.

Pogo

October 6th, 2011
11:29 am

I hope he evaluates Prado and a pitcher to someone who can play leftfield and hit when it means something.

Frediot

October 6th, 2011
11:36 am

As long as I still get the to waste outs with bunts and idiotic hit & runs. Also can we resign my boy, Proctor?

why?

October 6th, 2011
11:36 am

This was sent out to anyone who purchased tickets off the Braves website this year, not just season ticket holders.

Hedley Lamarr

October 6th, 2011
11:37 am

How’s about they publish this in the paper where all fans can see it, not just the ones on their mailing list?

So?

October 6th, 2011
11:38 am

I will wait and see what happens in the off season before committing to this team again.

Josh Gr

October 6th, 2011
11:41 am

@Bryan

Heres an idea- tell Atlanta fans to quit being cheapskates… The Phillies have sold out 200+ consecutive games, how many did the Braves have all year? 5? You can’t spent more than you bring in, unless your the US government of course…

Bama Mike

October 6th, 2011
11:44 am

My response to John and I will shorten it was six years ago I held 6 season tickets. Then came the so called excitement and challenge of achieving our goals with a reduced payroll and then the ” Baby Braves” while the talent on the field dropped and our competitors seperated themselves. I now have only 2 season tickets dropping 4 consistent with the body of work Braves managment kept handing to Bobby Cox expecting him to inspire lightning in a bottle year after year. Our anger is centered at Wren. While he should be given credit for some moves Bourne and Dan Uga. The bad acquistions borderline punitive ie., Klaus and Kamakami. His mishandling of Glavine, Smoltz and Francour did not sit well with us faithful followers and Braves management was slow to pick up on the disconnect.

boots

October 6th, 2011
11:45 am

I got the letter also and am not a season tix holder. Still, as a fan who frequents the games (in person), I must say these types of collapses are hard to overcome. The best way for them to start fresh is to make two big name acquisitions: one starting pitcher and one offensive bat. I’m not talking about signing Matt Diaz either. Money talks and BS walks…

Marteen is a Ballplayer

October 6th, 2011
11:49 am

I think epinez states my feelings on the matter to a T. Ultimately, I want Fredi gone, been saying it since May; however, that is not going to happen. I too will take a mea culpa in being a loud supporter of TP being demoted as batting coach. I owe him an apology.

Coming back around to FG, his in-game management, choice of hires (Parrish), and simple inability or fear to walk out of the dugout and support his players is unforgiveable and was all evident after the first month of the season. The only positive spin I can give him is that he will bench a player that is not producing (Heyward) and juggle the line-up (Chipper). He appears to be an excellent bench coach, but not a manager for a premier organization.

PMC

October 6th, 2011
11:50 am

I didn’t require a letter. It’s not like I’m ever choosing a new team to root for. It’s not even about spending money either. This team just didn’t play well enough to win down the stretch.

They could just say, look, we’re going to spend the entire off season finding out how we can improve this teams fundamentals and overall health. That’s primarily what they need.

That, and about 6 .300 averages

Tech75

October 6th, 2011
11:51 am

The Braves will not get anyone’s attention in this town until they show us that they’re willing to go after the talent they need to compete on a level playing field with Philly.

Why should we pay exorbitant amounts to see this product?

Personally, although baseball is what I played, I find it boring among all the other entertainment choices I have in ATL.

yunel asscobar

October 6th, 2011
11:52 am

A serious evaluation of the “team” begins at the top; with the manager. Speed of the leader, speed of the team. The team goes no farther than its leader. Period.

Fredi was and is, clearly in over his head. He is simply no match for LaRussa, Manuel, Girardi, Roenicke, or even Hurdle. If Clint Hurdle had the talent that FG had on the field, the Braves outcome would have been decidedly different. Without heart, passion, leadership and baseball acumen, results in 2012 will mirror those of this year.

It’s not about experience – it’s about leadership! Look at how his team responded to Kirk Gibson’s leadership in AZ. He wasn’t parked in the dugout with a deer in the headlines, “Gee, I’m just learning” expression on his face this season. He was on the field, having the back of his team – actually LEADING! I don’t see any of those qualities in Gonzalez.

Time to stop going on the cheap and instead, get a world-class manager in here.

tbravefan

October 6th, 2011
11:52 am

Season Ticket Holders get this same email every year – got mine this morning too. It always details the disappointments but outlines how excited JS is at what steps the organization is taking to improve results… I have almost 10 years worth of this very same email – reworded according to what went wrong and what fixes they hope to have. I guess one man’s PR is another man’s BS…

Sioux Brave

October 6th, 2011
12:03 pm

Im glad I had a nerf football in my hand that last game, instead of a real leather one, I stll would have been picking up glass today from my TV. Is this a good gesture?, yes but to a dedicated fan only time will soothe the pain, not a letter.

Frank Williams

October 6th, 2011
12:04 pm

The Braces collapse fits right in with Frank Wren’s history as a General Manager. His tenure with the Baltimore Orioles was eerily familiar.

TommyP

October 6th, 2011
12:05 pm

Schuerholz/Wren can only worry about what they can control. They can’t control how large the budget is….give it a rest!!!!!!!!

Very smart, classy and great PR move by the front office.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 6th, 2011
12:07 pm

Yeah, ticket holders get this every year. Don’t think this is anything out of the oridnary. Nothing to see here other than maybe a bit hotter tone, but not much otherwise. But I am pleased that DOB is at work today. Anything is better than nothing. That is, anything other than updates on what he is having for lunch or listening to on his IPod on the official AJCBraves Twitter. Just the facts, please. Save the other for your personal twitter. And, before you go all emotional, I know, I know, I don’t have to read this blog. I just hope against hope that MY team and MY newspaper will eventually wisen up. A guy can dream, right? Now I will go look for some lyrics that may reflect this mood.

Bama Mike

October 6th, 2011
12:07 pm

Oh and please retire Chipper. Every season it is new gaffe of some sort. The best one came this season when he said he lost the grounder “in the lights”

Little Mike

October 6th, 2011
12:09 pm

I agree with Frank Williams. Frank Wren has go to go! He’ll dismantle a pretty good team and leave us with a doormat, just like he did in Baltimore.

Felix

October 6th, 2011
12:15 pm

Okay. I’ve read the letter, but I’m still angy. Sounds like they are going to have a bunch of meetings to discuss everything ad nauseum. We don’t want no stinking meetings, we want to see some action!

Beast

October 6th, 2011
12:18 pm

Frank Wren is no John Schuerholz! And Fredi is no Bobby Cox! But Fredi will get better.

Eric

October 6th, 2011
12:19 pm

Yea! Great letter! It was awesome witnessing Dan Uggla’s hitting streak! How about his .233 batting average?!?! How about our “once-in-a-generation” caliber Jason Heyward?!?! .227 batting average! We have got to go out and spend money this offseason. Billy Beane baseball doesn’t work! (see Oakland Athletics for last 10 years) I know our cap is around $90 million, but 30 percent of that is coming from Derek Lowe and Chipper. We need a superstar. We will not win without one. I love the Bourn adding at the deadline, but he’s not going to drive in 100 runs, or hit 35 homers. Uggla’s power numbers were great, but if everyone is batting .250, every time he hits a homer, it’s a solo shot! We need a power hitting outfielder, or maybe a guy that can play shortstop and not bat .230.

Kentavo

October 6th, 2011
12:19 pm

I know Freddie F. will probably be ROY – but sign Pujols or Fielder and move FF to the outfield – that will fill some seats!

Ted M

October 6th, 2011
12:22 pm

I like it.

Did Boston do something similar?

extremus

October 6th, 2011
12:23 pm

It’s a nice gesture by Scheurholz and one that has precedents in other sports franchises that have laid some serious eggs. And I’m sure that he and Wren will try to do SOME things to address the issues…but I’m not sure whether they’re ready to address ALL of them at once. This is an organization steeped in stability, and one which to say the very least is stubborn about changing direction or admitting a mistake.

The body language and comments by Freddi Gonzalez after so many losses combined with the “deer in the headlights” look the entire lineup had throughout most of the season tell me the problems don’t begin and end solely with Larry Parrish. More heads need to roll, including Freddi’s; the Braves desperately need a new managerial approach (preferably from outside the organization), one which may differ greatly from Bobby Cox’s “player friendliness” but nonetheless expects championship results. Every player that finished the season in a Braves uniform in 2011 needs to be told that their job is no longer guaranteed. EVERY ONE of them, from Chipper to Prado to Heyward to Hanson to whomever, should be required to fight for the right to be on the team; THEN we may just see better results (and this is a great argument for the END of long-term, guaranteed ludicrous contracts. It’d sure be a help to the game!).

But will it all happen? Will the Braves’ front office really do EVERYTHING necessary to turn things around? Until we see significantly more action as opposed to words, I’m not holding my breath.

chase

October 6th, 2011
12:25 pm

Josh Gr

The phillies stadium holds about 10thousand LESS SEATS!

So tired of hearing about “sell outs”

Like sure we hear about Boston’s record sell out streak all the time and how bad Atlanta fans are…but the fact is that Turner Field holds 20 thousand MORE people than Fenway Park!

The Braves and Red Sox have about the same attendence BUT the Braves’ fans are labled as “bad” and Sox fans are applauded for supporting their team……

and the Braves have HUGE Revenue Streams from all their TV networks…so they HAVE the money…they just don’t want to spend it

2-10 against ranked teams(Bulldogs) worse than collapse of 8 1/2 games??

October 6th, 2011
12:26 pm

Wanna make a statement, fire Fredi, hire Francona, tell Chipper to retire, release Lowe, demote Heyward back to AA, sign Bourne long term, and puh–leeze, find a couple of corner outfielders who can hit…..

otherwise, all this letter is is backround noise….

The Truth....

October 6th, 2011
12:27 pm

OMG! This team will never win with the current brass….What has to happen in this organization to lose your job? They sure are good at making excuses…You gotta tip your cap to John for this nice letter tho! haha

2-10 against ranked teams(Bulldogs) worse than collapse of 8 1/2 games??

October 6th, 2011
12:28 pm

oh and please, please baseball gods……have Liberty sell to Mark Cuban

chase

October 6th, 2011
12:29 pm

what is all the hate on Chipper? he had a .285 batting average and nearly 20 hrs…not bad production from 3rd base

Texas Braves Fan

October 6th, 2011
12:31 pm

As a Cowboy season ticketholder, I would have appreciated this type of letter last year and last week!

I would still be pissed though!

herby hancock

October 6th, 2011
12:33 pm

This franchise needs an enema. The Bobby Cox mentaility that is still carried out by FG that ‘all my guys a re professionals, they know what to do on their own’…is total crap! The manager runs the team. We need a baseball man in here that is a leader. Not a cigar store indian that does litterally nothing but stand there. Rid the team of this losing way of doing things and go in a completely different direction. Our fanbase isn’t stupid..well most of us. If they fired FG and hired Franconna this afternoon…I guarantee their ticket sales would go up much more than if they added a player. Everybody knows this FG thing isn’t going to work. Why wait? Let the fans know that you are in fact serious about winning a WS!

Frank Wren

October 6th, 2011
12:35 pm

Spending $30 million this season for Derek Lowe, Kinchen Kawakami & Nate McLouth, in addition to another $14 million for Dan Uggla’s .232 average and meaningless solo homeruns, would be
grounds for termination in places like Boston, New York or Philly, where fans demand more from their sports teams.

Thankfully, I’m in Atlanta where fans are forgiving and complacent with mediocre baseball, as long as they have memories of the 14 consecutive divisional championships.

Hopefully, Liberty Media will increase the team payroll so I can waste even more money in 2012 !

Casey Stinkle

October 6th, 2011
12:36 pm

I don’t think it’s necessary to apologize to the fans. The front office tried their best to put together a good team, and by and large they did. Considering the $ Mr. Wren had to work with, this team was entertaining most of the year. It’s time to pony up more $, go get a Pujols, a Braun, someone that can hit. The pitching for this team looks good for the future.

Mitchell

October 6th, 2011
12:40 pm

I was afraid it was going to be to me.

Thanks anyway, Mr. Scheurholz. Totally over it.

Not “I’m okay with it.” Just over it. Don’t care anymore.

buster brave

October 6th, 2011
12:40 pm

nothing that a healthy team, heyward at aaa, d.lowe demotion?,pastornicy/wilson @ ss, medlin in rotation,and a hittin’ coach that can get through. won’t fix!!! oh yeah,freddie sometimes baseball is an emotional game,maybe show some when needed,just saying. great tear,horrrendous (sic) september. we have it better than most mlb teams, need appropriate tweeking. word out!!!

Ted M

October 6th, 2011
12:41 pm

Kentavo that is not gonna happen. The mire suggestion is crazy particularly when they could just sign Kemp for the outfield. Which, btw, is not gonna happen either.

Chris from the Rock

October 6th, 2011
12:42 pm

Can we now get a letter of apology from Liberty Media for being cheapskates? It’s time to make the Braves a top-5 payroll again.

John PA Brave

October 6th, 2011
12:44 pm

Agree completely with “yunel asscobar.” How many times during and after the collapse did Fredi say, “It is what it is”? NO CRAP! That’s such a meaningless, cop-out, cliché. He should have argued vehemently when Bourn was called out at third (but was actually safe) in the last game. Fredi has no passion. At least show your players (and fans) that you care!

Ty Cobb's ghost

October 6th, 2011
12:47 pm

Bobby Cox’s imprint is all over the Braves’ organization, from Atlanta down to the lowest team in the low minors: Swing at the first pitch and aim for the fences ! Stealing bases or bunting is not in the play book.

The Braves need to hire a roving hitting instructor that will teach the art or science of getting on base and advancing runners. Wade Boggs or Rod Carew comes to mind. Anyone that recalls Whitey Herzog teams (Royals & Cardinals) of the 70s and 80s will know what I’m talking about.

Knowing the Braves they will let Michael Bourn get away and they’ll bring in some reject like Melky to take over.

Eric in Tampa

October 6th, 2011
12:47 pm

Why is he not chastising the fans for not showing up! Wait, that’s the Rays MO, my mistake. Would you rather have this letter, or an owner in the media doing what Rays owner Stu Sternberg (A Mets season ticket holder) do what he did?

@fauxfrankwren

October 6th, 2011
12:48 pm

The Faux GM Open Letter to Ticket Holders

http://t.co/qXq8aRo5

From the Desk of Faux Frank Wren

756 Hank Aaron Dr. SE

Cubical 6 w/ the Dale Murphy ‘Power Alley’ Poster

Atlanta, GA 30316

October 6, 2011

Dear (insert your name here),

What a year in Braves County! Even though we failed to secure the Wild Card, there were many positives that the organization will build on into 2012.

Let’s see, first there was, um, uh, oh right, positives…the Bobby Cox number retirement ceremony. Then we won the trade for Michael Bourn when our two other CF’ers failed to produce. Our reliever Peter Moylan had successful shoulder surgery and his pal Kris Medlen got over 10,000 followers on Twitter. Then there was the guy in the wedding dress that ran onto the field before the B-52’s concert – he was removed very quickly. The contracts for Kenshin Kawakami and Nate McLouth expired. We reached our health insurance deductible faster than ever before. And last but not least, we had five all-star representatives that helped secure home field advantage for either the Phillies, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, or Brewers.

That’s some 2011! And looking back, let’s not forget a few things that have led to these current successes: the friendly contract that we signed Brian McCann too years ago that continues to help us be competitive within our budget. The Jair Jurrjens trade with Detroit for some prospects whose names I can’t remember. And most recently, the trade that brought us Michael Bourn, that coincidentally, will also save us from future peanut-allergic reactions in the clubhouse.

As an organization we are all disappointed that we did not make the playoffs. We do however feel like we are there in spirit. The new HDTV’s we installed on the executive level really make you feel like you are there in person! They’re amazing. I could actually see the individual hairs on the Busch Stadium squirrel.

So on behalf of the entire Braves organization, even the Assistant to the President (not Assistant President!), Tom Glavine, we thank you for your continued support of the Barves and look forward to a successful 2012. And please pray Jason Heyward’s MRI comes back clean ;) .

Fauxfully,

Faux Frank Wren

@fauxfrankwren
The Unreal General Manager, Atlanta Braves

(with all apologies, of course)

RaleighDawg

October 6th, 2011
12:51 pm

Chase – Chipper had a .275 average and for the last three years has an average of .268 with 15 HR and 62 RBIs, while averaging 121 games played. Abysmal for $14M a year.

Steve Withheld

October 6th, 2011
12:52 pm

Hey! That’s my letter!!! And I tip my cap to the postal service for delivering it!

Pat

October 6th, 2011
12:54 pm

I want Schuerholtz and the rest of the Braves brain trust to do a lil less back-patting before they struggle to say that things weren’t a success… the Yankees have no issue saying WE STUNK!! PERIOD! The Red Sox have no issues saying it: SOMETHING IS WRONG.. WE WERE TERRIBLE!!! But the Braves pull the usual… sugar coat it… continue to start all discussions with what a wonderful season it was again… leaving aside this little problem or that.

These folks just don’t understand that the approach they take may have worked on the easy-goin’ Atlanta of yester-year… but EVERYONE LAUGHS AT IT NOW!!!

richie

October 6th, 2011
12:56 pm

what winning team has a veteran thats arrogance and false sense of entitlement merits him to play 4 games out of seven when healthy. What winning team runs out a veteran that is guaranteed multiple DL stints in a season. Of all the teams in the playoffs, there isnt a single team that treats a player like we treat Chipper Jones except maybe the Yanks with Jeter but he plays more. Can we win a WS as long as Chipper is on this team, no.

bvillebaron

October 6th, 2011
12:56 pm

Eric:

Are you planning on donating the money that the owners won’t give Wren to spend so that the team can buy all those players you recommend? If not, give it a rest already. If you don’t know by now that Wren is handicapped by a limited payroll and that this isn’t going to change under this ownership (unless perhaps fans start selling out the games like in Philly) then you haven’t been following this team.

JoeBravesFan

October 6th, 2011
12:56 pm

I agree with 2-10…we need to shake things up a bit. Fredi isn’t going anywhere, but I’d love to have Francona manage us, Chipper to retire and become hitting coach, get rid of Lowe and get a superstar to put some butts in the seats and balls over the wall.

Brave New World

October 6th, 2011
12:58 pm

Schuerholz should have added: “P.S. my sincere apologies for making one of the worst trades in baseball history sending Harrison, Feliz, Andrus, Saltalamachia, and others for a rental of Texiera.

scott

October 6th, 2011
12:58 pm

chase,

Actually it’s about 6,000 more seats than Citizen’s Bank park and 12,000 more than Fenway. But you make a good point.

don

October 6th, 2011
12:58 pm

Who cares? The Rangers are doing well in the post season in large part because of the bonehead trade made several years ago. I’m quite sure that Harrison, Feliz, and Andrus are pleased to be in Texas rather than in Atlanta. Looking for a winning organization? Tesxas is it.

Ozzie

October 6th, 2011
12:59 pm

Let’s see some action and aggressive moves. Look at this team with a jaundice eye and broom weak links.

You are going to have to trade one-two of your arms, Prado and probably Heyward to fix this club. I no longer think Prado is the answer for 3B. He is what we that he was – super ut but trade him before others pick up on that reality.

Chipper needs to move immediately into a platoon if Prado stays and open LF up to a 30hr/110rbi player. Uggla will never be that guy. He is a 30-40 hr solo shot guy. In his 30s that won’t change much.

Ozzie

October 6th, 2011
12:59 pm

..thought he was….

Powder Blue

October 6th, 2011
12:59 pm

ChillyMutt

October 6th, 2011
1:00 pm

Is Frediot still managing the Braves?

Powder Blue

October 6th, 2011
1:01 pm

“Depth of the organization.” We have no hitters.

Ozzie

October 6th, 2011
1:02 pm

PS – Hire Francona. He just fell into your lap and you know if he was available last year Fredi doesn’t get this gig.

Bobby is gone you don’t need to appease him anymore. If you do consider your cushy jobs at risk.

You should have signed Gibson to manage (AZ 10x the team from an excitement.fire level as ATL).

A proven, hard nosed winner but that ship has sailed.

Francona is wearing WS rings what does Fredi have on his hand or resume?

Nepotism stops today!

richie

October 6th, 2011
1:04 pm

i have a question? what made Gonzalez qualified for this job in the first place?!?!

Ron Roberts

October 6th, 2011
1:04 pm

It’d be nice if Liberty Media realized that “towing the line” isn’t getting fans excited and rushing to buy season tickets. Sure, the Phillies out-spend us 2-to-1, but how much of their season-long sellout at Citizens Bank Park has to do with their fans KNOWING the organization is putting the best product on the field?

Shopping in the bargain bin, over the years, hoping for career rejuvenations from the Jaret Wrights, Raul Mondesis, J.D. Drews) and standing stubbornly pat with players who never met expectations (Nate McLouth, Jordan Schafer, Derek Lowe), along with not being “in” on marquee free agents over the years (can you REMEMBER the last time the Braves were involved in a major free agent acquisition chase?) .. it wreaks of “cheap,” and I think the fan base is tired of that.

The way the Phillies go about it might seem more like the Mets/Yankees way, but at their core, they know how to build their rotation. I’m not saying we needed to go after Cliff Lee and/or Roy Halladay, but this organization needed, a long time ago, to realize that the Derek Lowe deal was a whiff on their part, accept that, and either deal him or move him to the ‘pen as the most expensive relief arm in the bigs, and get ONE of those two guys (just an example).

Michael Bourn may have been a “good” pickup, but Hunter Pence was THE mid-season pickup. We’re not a hit-and-run team, and honestly, we’ve never been a “roll the dice and steal a base” team before he was here, either, so why did we go get a guy that flourishes in that kind of role? Especially when Prado and Heyward were struggling and we NEVER know, day-to-day, if Chipper Jones is going to play. Speed can “find” its way on base (we had Constanza, apparently, who could have played CF if we’d gotten Pence) but with nobody assuredly hitting them over and/or in behind ‘em, we were down stream without an oar.

There are core assets (McCann, Uggla, Jurrjens, Hanson and Hudson), and many of them are young and on the cheap (Heyward, Freeman, Venters & Kimbrel) so nobody will fault the team for using them. But if the Braves want to ‘excite” the base, they need to make an occasional splash. Derek Lowe was the “bridesmaid” in that free agent season; let’s not forget that. We “settled” on him when we lost Vasquez and couldn’t get A.J. Burnett (who’s not been Cy Young, but hasn’t been Derek Lowe, either).

Make a splash; excite us. We’ll come to the park if we feel confidence in our beloved team. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Powder Blue

October 6th, 2011
1:05 pm

The Braves need new:

owner
manager
hitting coach
baserunning coach
shortstop
leftfielder
rightfielder

Mark (another one)

October 6th, 2011
1:06 pm

I think the letter is appropriate based on what happened this season. The Braves understand that their fan base allows them to pay the bills, and they want to maintain or expand that base.

The season can be tied to poor production early in the season from CF, RF and 2nd and bullpen depth. Two of those positions were also pulling larger than average salaries. There was also the salary drain by KK in AA Mississippi. Late in the season, Prado had his leg issues, and since he backs up Chipper, Chipper’s injuries complicated things even more.

McLouth has been replaced with a quality CF. Uggla finally remembered how to hit so 2nd is hopefully solved. They used their minor league pitching talent late in the season to shore up the pen, and Medlen is returning. So, the questions for next year is about Prado getting back to form and is Heyward going to return to being a major threat? I’m not that worried about the pitching. It RF and LF along with all other positions carrying their share of the run production load.

The final concern is the infield depth. Prado plays left but is the only true major league proven backup for 2nd and 3rd should there be a major injury. Also, there is not a major league proven defensive SS behind Alex. Part of the money recovered from KK’s and McLouth’s contract will go to Bourn but some needs to be used to shore up the bench, hopefully with people that can compete for starting roles.

steve

October 6th, 2011
1:06 pm

Nice to see that our organization cares in that all of us real Braves fans were so disappointed by our finish and not making the playoffs, it is obvious we need some outfielders that can hit , Bourne did his job and I would like to see us make him a 5 year offer that is acceptable, Chipper had a good year but he is not the 3 hole hitter that he used to be , Uggla needs to be a better RBI guy for this team, McCann struggled for the first time and I look for him to bounce back, our pitching is fine if we move Lowe to the bullpen or trade him, Linebrink needs to go also or learn how to pitch in that you just can”t throw fastballs over the middle of the plate and expect good things to happen, Libertyneeds to either sell the team or bump up the team salary to at least 100 million which is not asking that much since their CEO gave himself an 85 million bonus.

Powder Blue

October 6th, 2011
1:07 pm

Props to Wren for going over Fredi’s head and doing what needed to be done by firing Parrish. This organization needs more change…and fast.

Pat

October 6th, 2011
1:07 pm

Gibson would never be a candidate here.. I heard Schuerholz say the other day on 790 The Fan that “you don’t need a manager who yells, throws things, is angry one day and happy the next… you need a stable, dependable guy who will allow players to play and not rile them.” This says what we all already know… it’s the white bread, country club, mutual admiration society mentality for the Braves!

hawesg

October 6th, 2011
1:08 pm

I like that the people who want to fire Frank Wren also want Chipper to retire.

This is the Chipper who was third on the team in OBP, and lead the team in SLG.

Yes, when faced with the epic collapse of the offense, we should urge the team’s most consistent offensive player to retire, because he only plays about 125 games a year.

Wren has done a good job acquiring talent and keeping the talent we have.

It’s Frediot who hasn’t used that talent effectively.

richie

October 6th, 2011
1:08 pm

Mark Cuban buys the Braves and we will be able to afford any player out there. Thats a man that def wants to win… in everything he takes part.

Mr. Enigma

October 6th, 2011
1:10 pm

Dan’s defense was certainly better than expected, but I still wouldn’t call it “incredible”.

Fred Macmurray

October 6th, 2011
1:10 pm

I Tip my Cap to John.

Powder Blue

October 6th, 2011
1:10 pm

I actually tore up my tickets for the last game vs. the Phillies. Have no intention of going to another game until the idiots who run this show actually do something to win rather than paying cheap lip service which they think will mollify the fanbase.

Brave New World

October 6th, 2011
1:11 pm

This letter is a “touching” p.r. move. The reality of 2012 will probably be a fight for the wild card (the aging Phils have at least one more year of dominance), but played well, the next few years thereafter should be fruitful ones for the Braves. One of the AJC sports writers (not DOB) said 2011 seemed to be missing something. I agree. I think what was missing was an uninterupted “flow” to this team. This was due to many factors including: Uggla’s horrendous first half, Hanson and Jurrgens missing in the second half, Prado’s staph surgery, McCann’s oblique, J-Hey’s not being 100%, Lowe mailing it in for most of the season, and Chipper being an aging star who’s time has passed. We will clear almost $30 million in payroll after 2012 when Chipper and Lowe are gone. We are set with starting pitching and the bull pen for the next 5 or more years. McCann, Freeman, Uggla, Heyward (if he rebounds), and Bourn (if we can sign him to an extension) should be the nucleus to build around in the field. I’d like to think Prado will be our 3rd baseman, but who knows. If Pastornicky is the answer at short, than we need a solid corner outfielder and some bench depth, and we will be ready to roll. GO BRAVES!

CollegeDude

October 6th, 2011
1:12 pm

Somebody in the organization needs to start evaluating Frank Wren. Hiring him as GM was the worst mistake by the Braves organization since Ted decided to sell the team.

Frank Williams

October 6th, 2011
1:14 pm

It’s revealing that our GM is the same guy that released the Orioles plane for takeoff minutes before Cal Ripken made it to the airport. Granted, Ripken was late but held up in traffic, he called to tell the team that he was 10 minutes away.
To leave him behind, as if he had done nothing for that franchise, was the height of arrogance.

How long has he been GM here? Was it 2007? So in 5 years, his claim to fame is the signing of Jair Jurrjens? Heaven knows it wasn’t Tom Glavine, Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus, Adam LaRoche or Derek Lowe.

The Braves need serious reorganization at the decision-making level.

TexasBrave

October 6th, 2011
1:15 pm

Just been dissapointing for years. Bring back Ted or another Individual Owner, hopefully from Atlanta. Who is more worried about winning than spreadsheets.

STRETCH

October 6th, 2011
1:16 pm

Next season, Chipper is going to miss 40 games, maybe 50 so they need to focus on 3rd cause thats destined to happen. Next, look into SS and LF.

What are the chances of getting BJ Upton, Carlos Quentin or a Mark Reynolds to play third?

Powder Blue

October 6th, 2011
1:17 pm

Liberty Media cares more about acquiring Barnes & Noble than winning. Change must start at the top. Then get rid of all the dead weight on the payroll (coaches & players).

Lemke's Knuckler

October 6th, 2011
1:19 pm

I don’t care what everyone says, I’m excited about next year. I always thought they would do well this year, but at the same time I knew this team was still in a bit of a transition period. The young arms in the bullpen have another year of experience under their belt. The rotation will get younger, and healthier in the process. The poor Sept performance was primarily on the offense. And you have to anticipate that Prado and Heyward won’t stink it up again,and McCann and Uggla won’t flop for an entire half of the season. Look at these stats…

McCann
1st half (91-294) .310 avg, 15 homers, 50 RBI
2nd half (35-172) .203 avg, 9 homers, 21 RBI

Uggla
1st half (63-340) .185 avg, 15 homers, 34 RBI
2nd half (77-260) .296 avg, 21 homers, 48 RBI

You combine the good halves (.303, 36 homers, 98 RBI) and the bad halves (.191, 24 homers, 55 RBI) and you get basically get one Albert Pujols and one Jonny Gomes. I thought that was interesting.

USMC DAWG

October 6th, 2011
1:19 pm

You forgot the P.S. at the bottom of the page…. Please, please, puuuu hhhhhleeeeaaassse come buy ticketsin 2012, we have the Yankees coming next year.

FugitivePoet

October 6th, 2011
1:20 pm

With our farm system sure would be nice to see what we could do with half of the payroll of that mercenary northeastern team or, better yet, if a cap was imposed.

ab initio

October 6th, 2011
1:22 pm

Mr. Schuerholz, I think the message that Braves fans are telling you, and what you still don’t seem to get, is that they are tired of weak-kneed offense, and going to the ballpark to sleep the day away. We southerners like dynamic sports teams, sir.

Have you ever watched an SEC game, sir? Ever? That’s what Braves fans cheer for; a team that does whatever it takes to win, and not the style of sports team as what you’ve been advocating since you got here.

If your list of accomplishments are sports teams that overachieve and fall flat on their face when it counts the most, then, you have a point. But we don’t have to pay to validate that point, sir.

sparky

October 6th, 2011
1:22 pm

Thanks John and Frank, but you guys talk you guys are only part of the PC crap we get all the time. FG is a nice guy. Why not make him head of security and hire Francona? Chipper was a great Brave. Make him batting coach. We need a mobile 3bagger who can hit from the right side. We need to package some of our assets and get someone as well as a legit right or left fielder with pop in his bat. I loved what Jorge gave us , but a shortsighted FG pulled him for Jay Hey who sucked. Yes he has pop, but it didn’t pan out. we need a ss who is a good fielder as well a a decent hitter.

Powder Blue

October 6th, 2011
1:26 pm

“If your list of accomplishments are sports teams that overachieve and fall flat on their face when it counts the most, then, you have a point. But we don’t have to pay to validate that point, sir.”

And I won’t pay anymore until the culture within this organization changes significantly.

okiemon

October 6th, 2011
1:26 pm

I may have missed this comment, if it’s already been made, since I got in on this fairly late, but here goes: To those of us, myself included, who think the Braves need another manager, maybe we can take hope from the fact that Schuerholz in his letter talks about what some of the players did and hope to do, what Wren did and hopes to do – but makes no mention of Fredi G. Maybe, just maybe, that’s an indication that he’s not considered part of the management team going forward. As far as Wren is concerned, I’m no big fan of what he’s done, either, but we have to realize he doesn’t have the money to work with that the two New York teams, Boston, Philadelphia, and some others have.

Bobby Cox

October 6th, 2011
1:28 pm

JS keep the condolence letter, and submit the resignation. What the club needs is a complete system flush from owner thru waterboy. That’s the only way to come up with a club that eye’s a Wold Series win more than just making the playoff’s.

john

October 6th, 2011
1:29 pm

JUST WIN……….STOP THE APOLOGIES …
-
Watch the Playoffs – Position Players are so much better than Braves Pos. Pl. -and many Pitchers throw 95 + -Relievers are all over 30 , over 250 lbs , lots with with ugly Beards-John S-Get Braves UGLY

1 really depressed fat fan

October 6th, 2011
1:29 pm

You can’t blame Frank Wren! He’s done a fabulous job. It lies within the Manager! Fredi Gonzalez is on a very very short leash!

Mark's for the Braves

October 6th, 2011
1:30 pm

Nice jesture John, but now if we could just see individual letters from the players who caused this debacle we’d all feel a little better. Lowe’s letter needs to be the longest and Heyward’s should be almost as long.

Bilbo

October 6th, 2011
1:31 pm

Keep Jack Wilson and Brooks Conrad.

Ted M

October 6th, 2011
1:34 pm

DOB – Was Lowe ever put on waivers or did he ever clear waivers? Don’t most teams but a lot of vets on waivers “just to see”?

Ted M

October 6th, 2011
1:36 pm

AGTFan53

October 6th, 2011
1:36 pm

Based on what I read here from the so-called fans makes me think, that most of you got what you deserved. You’ve just got to have a scapegoat don’t you. Most of you don’t deserve a team as good as the one you got.

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