MAJOR LEAGUE DEAL:
How the Braves came to Cobb
In text and photos, this 100 page coffee-table style book that tells the story of the Braves’ move to Cobb County
and construction of the stadium and The Battery Atlanta. The book is published by the Marietta Daily Journal.
Proceeds from the sale of the book go to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier - The Tim Lee Club.
Purchase online at mdjonline.com/mdjbook or at the MDJ office.
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The lack of progress was disheartening to Braves
executives, but one thing became crystal clear: If the
Atlanta Braves were to have a beautiful stadium and an
energetic nightlife surrounding it, drastic measures were
in order. The team would likely have to move elsewhere,
because those goals were not materializing at Turner Field
or anywhere else in the city of Atlanta.
The bottom line, according to Plant, is that he’d been at
it with the AFCRA for seven years, and could never reach
agreement to pursue the concept.
Hans Utz, chief operating officer for the city of Atlanta,
was one of the people who traveled to Lo-Do in Denver.
After that visit, Plant began pushing Utz for some
commitments; the two men entered into discussions about
similar possibilities in Atlanta, but they couldn’t seem to
make any headway.
“Finally, it was late June, and Hans just threw down the
gauntlet,” Plant remembered. Utz asked, “What are you
going to do, Mike? Where are you going to go?”
Plant answered by citing the lease agreement between
the Braves and the city of Atlanta. “Our existing agreement
says you’re in for a minimum of $50 million to fix up
your house (Turner Field). That’s not even a debate.” Utz
countered by stating that the city simply didn’t have the
money to live up to that agreement, Plant said.
Plant reiterated that the improvements and surrounding
development had to happen, and quickly, and that the
Braves organization would insist on controlling the
development to ensure its success. Utz balked at that
notion, too, answering that the Braves could either bid on
the development piece of that proposition, or they could
be on the selection committee for the developer, but they
couldn’t do both.
Plant went home that night and mulled the situation
over, telling his wife that he was “down by six touchdowns
at the half, and he was going to have to figure something
Reaching for resources, ideas and allies, Plant called
Georgia lobbyist Trip Martin. Martin called Earl Ehrhart,
the state representative for west Cobb County. It was
after that conversation that Ehrhart asked Plant, “Hey, do
you know my buddy Tim? You ever met Tim Lee?” Plant
answered no, he’d never heard of Tim Lee.
At the time, Lee was the chairman of the Cobb County
Board of Commissioners.
“Well, I’ll arrange a lunch,” Ehrhart answered.
Mike Plant and Tim Lee greet each other at SunTrust Park on Oct. 2, 2016. They were there to commemorate the moving of home
plate from Turner Field to SunTrust Park in a post-game ceremony following the Braves’ last game at Turner Field in Atlanta. The
Braves beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 to close the 2016 season and the team’s 20-year run at Turner. (Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)
MAJOR LEAGUE DEAL - How the Braves came to Cobb
MAJOR LEAGUE DEAL
How t he B rave s came t o C o b b