Your next great Falcons general manager: Brian McCann

In this corner, the undisputed A.B.F.L. champion: Brian McCann.

In this corner, the undisputed A.B.F.L. champion: Brian McCann.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — In the past few days here at Braves camp in Florida — or possibly North Dakota, sometimes I can’t tell with the weather — I’ve tried to mix some off-beat blogs in with the normal stuff. And so, we brought you closeups of the parking lot where rookie Jason Heyward has been crushing the cars of team executives and the new massive $5,000 tattoo on Eric Hinske’s back.

Today, we bring you the football brilliance of Brian McCann. Yes, that is McCann behind the sunglasses and wearing a converted wrestling heavyweight championship belt. (True story: I had to help him get the belt on. It  made me feel like a member of his entourage. Suddenly, I had the urge to yell, “You’re the champ!”)

It’s a Sunday. So this is kinda timely. McCann won his football fantasy league. It’s comprised of 12 Braves players. He stomped Tim Hudson for the championship. He bragged about a key late-season trade that brought him Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson. If McCann can learn the nuances of the salary cap, I’m sure he’ll be line to replace Thomas Dimitroff in Flowery Branch.

Anyway, McCann was so excited about his title that he went onto eBay and typed, “championship wrestling belt” into the search window. Then he bought one. For $350.

“There were a ton of them, ranging from $350 to $15,000,” said McCann, who apparently went on the cheap. “Every year I have the worst team. So I knew if I ever won the championship, I was going to let everybody know it.”

The word “wrestling” was on the belt. So McCann had somebody grind it down. Then he replaced it with the letters, A.B.F.L. (Atlanta Braves Fantasy League). You see, he’s not low-keying this. The belt sits on top of his dressing cubicle at spring training. I’m pretty sure it can be seen from China.

Here’s something else: The Braves in this A.B.F.L. are so into this thing that when the NFL and MLB seasons overlap, it’s not unusual during Sunday baseball games to have somebody keep up on the football scores.

Said Chipper Jones, “Whoever is sitting on the bench and not playing, they are summoned to check out the scores. It’s like, ‘Hey, did Drew Brees throw any touchdown passes?”

Jones quickly added that this happens only in “very isolated” situations. Yeah. Sounds better.

Not surprisingly, smack talk is big in this league, particularly after the baseball season when the players communicate on a message board.

“We lost some of the funniest banter when [McCann's] little brother left,” Jones cracked, referencing Jeff Francoeur. “When Frenchy and [John] Smoltz were in the league, I wouldn’t turn on the computer until 12:50 because of how bad it was.”

Earlier posts from  Braves’ camp:

Bobby Cox’s reality: It’s not the end, it’s time to play

Braves’ Answerman: You asked, they answered

Are we expecting too much too soon from Jason Heyward?

Live from the parking lot! Jason Heyward’s landing zone

The maturing of Yunel Escobar

Eric Hinske and his $5,000 tattoo

♦ Derek Lowe looking forward after rough year and trade talk

Flying south, and taking your Braves’ questions with me

26 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

February 28th, 2010
11:02 am

Schultzie – you the man!


February 28th, 2010
11:04 am

Third by the time I finish writing this sentence? Anyhow, how does this work? If you write an article on a late Sunday morning, I’m assuming it appears in the Monday paper?

Jeff Schultz

February 28th, 2010
11:13 am

Chris — I may write 15-20 articles a week online but only have four appear in print. The ones that are in print generally had been posted online the day before. Occasionally, a Sunday print column will be posted as early as Friday.

andy a

February 28th, 2010
11:31 am


February 28th, 2010
11:33 am

Shultz, I would imagine that being at spring training for a week would be one of the most enjoyable assignments you could have?
Has DOB taken you to the bbq joint he mentioned on his blog?
Do any of you get to cover the nfl draft? Or speedweeks in Daytona?

McFann Ô

February 28th, 2010
12:29 pm

:lol: Thanks, Mr. Schultz…good stuff!


February 28th, 2010
12:30 pm


Great article. Even better was the one that was in the AJC today. One of the best I have read on Bobby. Do you happen to know the name Tom Turner? He is my father who worked at the AJC for close to 30 years in Advertising. Retired now.

jeffrey d

February 28th, 2010
12:56 pm

I wonder if this belt will be given to the winner every year, or if McCann intends on keeping it


February 28th, 2010
1:03 pm

That belt is gonna be heisted… If Adam LaRoche was in Florida, I would say it would be gone by now…. who would the other suspects be since Adam is in Arizona?

Jeff Schultz

February 28th, 2010
1:10 pm

Bravissimo — No BBQ this trip. We did go to Quiznos together. … Never been to draft in NY or Daytona. Covered all drafts from team’s city and other NASCAR races.

Jeff Schultz

February 28th, 2010
1:10 pm

Thanks McFann

Jeff Schultz

February 28th, 2010
1:12 pm

Thanks Steve. Didn’t know you father but that’s not unusual — the paths of editorial and advertising don’t cross much, except at the executive level (which I’m not).

Jeff Schultz

February 28th, 2010
1:13 pm

Jeffrey D — I left it out of the blog but McCann said it will be passed to winner every year. Wants to put a plate on it where name of winner can be engraved every year, like the Stanley Cup.

Frankie Knuckles

February 28th, 2010
1:43 pm

Interesting article. Keep em coming!

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 28th, 2010
1:45 pm

He looks like a young “Double A” Arn Anderson, brother!!!!

tampa braves

February 28th, 2010
1:58 pm

Key questions I’d like for you to address: 1. Will McLouth continue to be a big disappointment, (2) Can Glauss produce RBI, (3) Will Chipper produce anything near all star numbers?

Jeff Schultz

February 28th, 2010
2:14 pm

Tampa Braves: 1) Don’t know; 2) Don’t know; 3) Don’t know.


February 28th, 2010
2:37 pm

You’re welcome, Mr. Schultz!

Furman Bisher

February 28th, 2010
3:13 pm

I know what I just produced…

Has anyone seen my bedpan?!


February 28th, 2010
3:20 pm

If I were Bobby, I’d put an immediate stop to this. Looks like the guys are ready for the offseason to play fantasy football… Not a good sign…


February 28th, 2010
3:23 pm

That was cool, Jeff. Keep up the good job.


February 28th, 2010
3:37 pm

ready for McCann to add a MVP trophy next to that championship belt

[...] ♦ The next great Falcons’ GM: Brian McCann? [...]

McCann Fan

March 1st, 2010
10:37 am

Attaboy Mac! I wonder if there was a large monetary grand prize for winning the league.

Lord Stromboli

March 1st, 2010
10:44 am

Enter your comments here


March 9th, 2010
9:25 am

Mac lookin a little bit like Arn Anderson?
not the outfit obviously but the beard kinda reminds you …