Bradley’s Buzz: The best franchise? It’s not Atlanta’s

The 40th-best owner would like to enhance your "stadium experience." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The 40th-best owner aims to enhance "stadium experience." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Having time on its hands in these long hot summer months, ESPN The Magazine has trotted out its annual rankings of professional sports teams (link requires registration) but not so much as competitive teams as corporate entities. To quote from the mag, “Which teams are most worthy of your hard-earned dollar”?

None of our local clubs crack the top 20. The L.A. Angels rank No. 1, and the L.A. Clippers rank 122nd, or dead last. And one of ours finished in triple digits. Guess which.

Tick, tick, tick … time’s up!

27. Atlanta Braves: Attention, Bobby Cox bashers! The Braves receive their highest rating (15th) for coaching. (Er, shouldn’t that be “managing”?) They’re 21st in affordability and a surprisingly high 32nd in “title track.” But they’re only 54th in ownership and 59th in “stadium experience.” What, you mean not everyone’s a sucker for “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”?

43. Atlanta Falcons: The Birds made the largest jump in the rankings. (They were 119th, or third from the basement, last year.) They get their highest ratings for coaching (18th overall) and players (28th), their lowest (90th) for “stadium experience.” Which will give Arthur Blank — who ranks 40th as an owner — all the more reason to go build that new stadium he wants so much.

80. Atlanta Hawks: They have their first winning season in a decade and win their first best-of-seven series since 1971, and they move up six whole spots. Their best rating: Bang for the buck (27th). Their worst: Well, take your pick. They’re 110th in title track, 102nd in coaching, 101st in players and 100th in fan relations. But only 85th in ownership! Helpfully, ESPN quotes one (unnamed) fan as calling Josh Smith “a spoiled kid” and then misuses the word “flied.” (Hint: If it doesn’t have to do with a popup, it’s “flown.”)

108. Atlanta Thrashers: Remember the owners who ranked 85th? They also ranked 120th, which means they must be a heck of a lot worse at owning a hockey club than a basketball team. (According to ESPN, the hockey side of Atlanta Spirit is exceeded in its ineptitude only by the New Jersey Nets and the Phoenix Coyotes.) The Thrash doesn’t rate above 81st in any category, and the No. 81 comes in coaching. Take a bow, John Anderson!

John Anderson: The shining light the dark tunnel of Blueland. (AJC photo by Jessica McGowan)

John Anderson: Shining light in the dark tunnel of Blueland. (AJC photo by Jessica McGowan)

104 comments Add your comment

HawkKingBibby

July 2nd, 2009
7:23 am

I wonder if there are 101 coaches in sports who’s teams have improved their records each and every year they have coached the team?

BrittishAnger

July 2nd, 2009
7:54 am

Fish Freeman

July 2nd, 2009
8:07 am

Sometimes the Atlanta paper comes to my house and I don’t even bother to take it out of that little plastic wrapper. More often than not, though, I do unwrap the paper. You can stack those narrow little papers on top of each other, wet ‘em down, and make a pretty nice compost for the garden. I’d rank ‘em about 81 for journalism and give ‘em about 10 for composting.

JSS

July 2nd, 2009
8:20 am

Arthur Blank gets a phone call from his Master Roger Goodell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLdGa-ID2W0&feature=related
With his sidekick the hatchet man Thomas Dimitroff…
Have Fitzgerald and Bolden stopped running yet?

Jed

July 2nd, 2009
8:20 am

How can an ownership group which is suing itSELF place anything but dead last?

Fish Freeman

July 2nd, 2009
8:21 am

That new narrow paper makes it just about right for lining shelves. You’d have to trim the old paper if you wanted to line a shelf the right way. My wife and I were talking last night about how practical the new paper has become. What we don’t understand is how the few journalists remaining at the paper could adapt so quickly to writing those narrow little columns. Henry Grady would be proud. Ralph McGill would be ecstatic. Reg and Bill, too. Let’s keep the 81 for journalism and put the new narrow format at around, let’s say 68. I’d give the remaining journalists an 8 for adaptability.

Mac

July 2nd, 2009
8:22 am

That’s all well and good, but I’d like to see the Falcons sign their two top draft picks, the Hawks move on the free agent front and the Braves start a spurt. The Thrashers? Only time I ever think about them is when I see the word in the AJC … but only in passing.

Jed

July 2nd, 2009
8:24 am

The compost quote is funny & great, but in fairness, Bradley is only quoting another member of the media (and an electronic one at that). My computer I rate a 10 for range of information available, but 138 for composting. Too much mercury.

C-Rip

July 2nd, 2009
8:30 am

No…no I’m not a “sucker for ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’” during the 7th inning stretch because the Braves swiped it from the Baltimore Orioles who have been playing it for decades – much like they’ve swiped all of their other “traditions”. Get your own identity!

Jurrjens4NLCY

July 2nd, 2009
8:46 am

Why the hell would the Orioles play “Thank god I’m a country boy?” I suppose it’s because of all the farming and cropping in MARYLAND. Just doesn’t make sence. And all teams rip off tradition because there is no such thing as a new idea anymore. Example: Everyone in sports chats, “Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye.” EVERYONE.

Benjamin

July 2nd, 2009
9:03 am

The Angels are first?

For the first time in my life, I wish I had ESPN Insider access, just so I could go to their comments page and type “LOL” about fifty times…

The Angels aren’t even in the top three in baseball.

Jeoff

July 2nd, 2009
9:04 am

Well the O’s did steal our pitching coach…didn’t work out too well for them though (either the team or the coach).

$ Bill

July 2nd, 2009
9:14 am

Who’s the chick in the green sweater behind Anderson?! LOL!

Rufio

July 2nd, 2009
9:23 am

so when am I supposed to use “flew” ?

woody

July 2nd, 2009
9:28 am

Steelers are #3 and the Penguins #8 ..How sweet it is! Maybe its time to move back. Go ahead give your best Southern hospitaility charm and maybe i will pack my bags and move back to Pittsburgh. This place is going to be a desert in twenty years.

Matty Ice-man

July 2nd, 2009
9:38 am

Do you guys see the “jugs” on that woman in the lime green shirt in the hockey bench picture? And what exactly is she doing with that beer bottle? sorry…….could not resist! :)

IlliniBrave

July 2nd, 2009
9:52 am

So once again – why in the hell do we have a hockey team?!

Mario West

July 2nd, 2009
9:56 am

Hawkkingbibby

When you start at the very bottom there is nowhere to go but up!

Mark Bradley

July 2nd, 2009
9:57 am

Glad to see you guys are, shall we say, paying attention.

Mark Bradley

July 2nd, 2009
9:58 am

Use “flew” when you get really sick. And make sure to get a flew shot every year.

Mac

July 2nd, 2009
9:59 am

Who are all three of those ladies? That’s better than Schultz’s countdown babe feature, because we got a a three-fer.

I'm back...

July 2nd, 2009
10:03 am

FALCONS #1 BABY!!!!!!!!!!!

Otto

July 2nd, 2009
10:11 am

Why does Atlanta have a hockey team?

It maybe the only sport in the state that has more fans than its college counter part.

Falcons, Hawks, yawn.. who cares? They are teams for the transplants to come and watch their hometown team.

Eric

July 2nd, 2009
10:12 am

Just looked over the list and it is so ridiculous. They have the Memphis Grizzlies ranked better than teams like the Phoenix Suns.

Tom Davis

July 2nd, 2009
10:13 am

You want to blame John Anderson for the crap team DON WAD aka D WAD put together? JA has only been around for one season.

BobL

July 2nd, 2009
10:16 am

It is easier to improve each year when you start so near the bottom.

Happy 4 Falcons

July 2nd, 2009
10:17 am

It is NO coincidence the Atlanta Falcons took such a huge leap up in the overall rankings.

Once all the “Vick Supporters” stopped coming to the Dome on Sundays after their god was placed in shackles & chains and thrown behind bars, the game day experience of going to Falcons game became more about football and cheering for clean-cut, law-abiding players and much less about FreakNik.

The Falcons may not sell out the Dome any longer without the “Dog Whisperer,” but at least many of us can now safely take our families there without getting an unwanted crash course in debauchery, poor English, rudeness, profanity and drunken stupidity.

Keep Up The Great Work, Falcons!

George H.

July 2nd, 2009
10:19 am

I anticipate the Falcons being in the top 10 in another couple of years.

BeachGaBulldog

July 2nd, 2009
10:19 am

I have looked at an ESPN Magazine, and that is the most pathetic excuse for a sports mag I have ever seen.
Plus, I don’t give a damn what ESPN thinks about any of our sports teams. I hate most of the anchors and announcers, and don’t watch it anymore.

Huh?

July 2nd, 2009
10:20 am

What a shock. When has Atlanta ever rated highly on these types of lists? Never has and never will. This is a transient town with very little identity. I’d like to see the statistics on how long people stay here. I bet it isn’t more than 3 to 5 years and then they move on with their lives. You can’t build successful pro sports franchises with those kind of demographics. Then there are the increasingly rare natives like myself who grew up watching the Falcons, Hawks, and Braves totally embarrass themselves. We have no tradition to hold on to. The Braves are our best thing going and I’m a fan, but even they can’t ever win the big one. And the Thrashers? Give me a break. Want to hear a funny joke? Here it is: Hockey in Atlanta, Georgia. What a complete waste of time. I said it was a boneheaded idea when that was announced and I was right thank you very much. Hate to be such a Debbie Downer but this is all very much a true story. Good day.

Karl Childers

July 2nd, 2009
10:21 am

We have best french fried potaters….

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……………

Mz. Hawkdafied

July 2nd, 2009
10:26 am

Otto, you gotta be kidding me! The Falcons and the Hawks are much more interesting than the Thrashers. They can get rid of the hockey team for all I care, more money to put into the Hawks. :-)

jimmy a

July 2nd, 2009
10:28 am

just fire wren

Come on Guys

July 2nd, 2009
10:29 am

So what if that lady in the green top has big ones, she’s not very much to look at…unless you’re 50. Her friends on either side look ok though. Perhaps I’m just in a younger demographic than what Bradley’s aiming for.

Additionally, I also predict the Falcons will be up in the top 25 next year on the ESPN list after Matt Ryan’s second year. Now that we have a true franchise QB (sorry MV7, I used to love you), we can expect more stability in our record and a better chance of winning year in and year out. Heck, we might even have a second consecutive winning season for the first time ever! Now if we could just get them to move up to that Doraville location, it would be perfect. Go Falcons!

Boss Hogg

July 2nd, 2009
10:31 am

woody: As Lewis Grizzard used to say, “Delta is ready when you are”. BTW: The Pirates are really going places! NO WINNING SEASONS since 1992. Maybe the Rooney’s could buy the Pirates & improve that sad sack franchise.

Mz. Hawkdafied

July 2nd, 2009
10:33 am

ESPN can kiss Atlanta’s place where the sun don’t shine. Muah! Let them rank that! Now they’re riding LA’s nuts, last year it was Boston. Fudge them. GO HAWKS, FALCONS, AND BRAVES!!!!!

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 2nd, 2009
10:46 am

Stadium experience? I was fortunate enough to take in a game at Wrigley Field once and it was great. No exploding scoreboards, no 1000 decibel sound system, etc. You just go there and watch a ballgame. What a novel idea.

Horatio Cornholer

July 2nd, 2009
10:46 am

At least Pittsburgh has two recent championships to make up for its lack of a decent baseball franchise (or ANY trace of a basketball team).

woody

July 2nd, 2009
10:53 am

Haha Pirates good one. In Pittsburgh baseball is just a sport to pass time until football season. Nobody in Pittsburgh gives a shiite about the Pirates. I think everyone realizes that the Pirates make their money by developing cheap young players and then selling them to underachieving teams like the Braves.

Huh?

July 2nd, 2009
10:53 am

I couldn’t agree more Hillbilly. At what point did baseball become a freaking circus? I mean the fact that people don’t have the attention spans to just sit there and watch a baseball game is really really sad.

Thank god for UGA and SEC football or Atlanta would be absolutely worthless as a sports town. True story. This is a college football town and for that I am very proud.

jeffrey d

July 2nd, 2009
10:53 am

How did the Hawks rank in “stadium experience”? I noticed when the Hawks go to a place like Cleveland (sorry, Mark) they play some exciting hip hop music to get everyone pumped up. When the Hawks go down the court at Phillips, they have a lonely snare drum playing the SAME beat all season.

Wabe

July 2nd, 2009
10:54 am

What makes the Braves such a highly rated franchise?

And how are the Angels THE BEST FRANCHISE in pro sports?

I’ll take both the Falcons and Hawks > Braves. Even though they are the only team to bring this city a championship, let’s keep the conversation up to date. They haven’t done anything lately – while both the Falcons and Hawks are coming off of playoff seasons…

Mark Bradley

July 2nd, 2009
10:55 am

Actually, I’ve always thought Cleveland was the bestest city with the bestest teams.

Mark Bradley

July 2nd, 2009
10:58 am

The Hawks were No. 56 in stadium experience. The Cavs were 14th.

jeffrey d

July 2nd, 2009
11:00 am

And I can understand Turner Field’s high ranking in stadium experience. They’ve been playing the same tired songs and sound effects for years. I cannot imagine what kind of conversations they’re having in the sound booth…

A: Braves are down by 2 with a man on in the bottom of the 11th. What should we play?
B: Hit em with some Gwen Stefani again. That’ll pump up the crowd

And they’ve been ending innings on the same G chord on the oregon for about a decade now. I also noticed how lame everything sounds on that oregon. It’s like church music for old ladies. And did anybody else notice that everytime Jason Bay came up to bat, they played “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay” on that oregon?

Willie Coyote

July 2nd, 2009
11:02 am

Josh complains a lot but not nearly as much as some of the league’s “superstars” when they don’t get their requisite free-throw numbers or get eliminated from the playoffs when Nike & ESPN crowned them champs before the playoffs even start.

Josh should handle it better but the refs should also call a dang foul every once in a while.

Ted Striker

July 2nd, 2009
11:14 am

The ratings don’t mean much to me. I’m not an Angels fan so I don’t care that they’re #1. And if I were a huge Clippers fan in LA, I’d still probably attend the games or watch on TV even though they were last.

If someone surveyed restaurants where you lived and Sushi Palace was #1 and the Varsity was #122 — it wouldn’t matter much — if you hated sushi and loved gut bombs.

Besides, ESPN ranked last years Falcon team 3rd from the last — and they looked fairly decent.

I.C. Wiener

July 2nd, 2009
11:14 am

The Thrashers should be ranked pretty high in stadium experience. They definitely have the most exciting game day experience in Atlanta…who else plays rock and roll?

Now if only they would start the game with “Kickstart My Heart”…

woody

July 2nd, 2009
11:21 am

What you dont like hearing the start of theme song from “Carwash” every two seconds at the braves games?

I loathe the Braves and this cities(especially the media’s) unwarranted obsession with them.

Hellooooooo, Baseball Fans!!

July 2nd, 2009
11:22 am

We’re here live on location from the State of Organ!