Disney encouraging fans to get drunk before driving home from Braves spring training games

National radio host Todd Wright attended a Braves spring training game at Champion Stadium in the Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex last weekend and noted the late inning beer special offered at a concession stand:

A food and beverages rep from Disney’s Wide World of Sports told LBS the beer discount is called the “Throwback Special,” and is available during the sixth inning of every game. Three types of beers — Natty Light, Miller High Life, and Pabst Blue Ribbon — are discounted from their regular price of $6.50 to $3.00 during the sixth inning.

Though we appreciate the team/stadium trying to make things more affordable — Wright notes that they generously offer free parking for fans — we’re confused by the contradictory nature of the discount. Alcohol sales are suspended after the sixth inning because they don’t want people driving home drunk. Yet they’re cutting the price of beer in half during the sixth to encourage people to get all their drinking in then.

Disney has earned a reputation as one of the most family friendly companies in the world and their theme parks are supposed to be some of the happiest places on earth. I can’t imagine them sending a more contradictory message. It’s unwise to promote late-inning drinking at the ballpark before fans drive home. If you’re going to discount beers at all, do it very early in the game and limit the quantity.

Braves New Retro-Style Alternate Jerseys for 2012 Leaked (Picture)

Looks like we can add the Braves to the list of MLB teams that are going for a new look this upcoming season.  Once again, retro is the way to go.  Personally, I like the trend.  To this point we have seen three teams unveil a new, retro-style uniform for 2012.  The Mets did very little to change their uniforms and make them more classic looking, simply removing the outline from their jerseys.  Then, there was Toronto announcing they were going back to their old uniforms, which in my opinion kick the crap out of the futuristic ones they had been rocking in recent years.

The Braves jersey you see above was recently featured on OnTheField.com, but the link has since been removed.  Apparently the Braves were saving the unveiling of their new cream-color jerseys for a special occasion.  In any event, these looks pretty sweet.  Also, I like the idea of making the jerseys just a home alternate so they retain some of their luster.  Keep the retro-looking jerseys coming.

H/T to Big League Stew for capturing the photo and sharing it with us

Back in August, a Few Braves Filmed a Skit About Clearing Their October Schedules

The Atlanta Braves blew an 8.5 game playoff lead in September, but you could consider them lucky. Thanks to the Red Sox’s historic collapse, the failures of the Braves have been somewhat overlooked. Not anymore.

Allow us to enjoy this moment of schadenfreude shared by SI Hot Clicks:

I tend to mix up my idioms from time to time, but I believe there is some sort saying about horses and carts. Maybe some of the Braves players could provide some assistance for me. Not like they have anything better to do.

Atlanta Braves May Have Best 8-9 Relievers in Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters

While team like the Chicago White Sox have a struggling bullpen that’s giving Ozzie Guillen stress issues, other teams actually have a solid relief crew. You can look at the Yankees who have the unhittable Mariano Rivera and setup man Rafael Soriano, the Indians have the Perezes and Tony Sipp who have yet to allow a run, and the Padres have been pretty tough the past two years. But the team that stands out to me is the Atlanta Braves, who despite losing Billy Wagner, may have the best 8th and 9th inning combination in baseball.

Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters are the 9th and 8th inning pitchers for the Braves, and they’re both second year flame-throwing youngsters from the South. Kimbrel was a 3rd-round pick by the Braves in 2008 out of Wallace State Community College. The Huntsville Alabama native spent time at all levels of the minor leagues and gave up just 40 runs in 151 career minor league innings. He averaged over 14 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors, whiffing 242 batters while closing 51 games. After mowing down batters in Triple-A last year, he was called up to the Braves where he gave up just two runs in 20.2 innings, striking out 40 batters.

This year it’s been more of the same.

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MLB 2011 Preview: Atlanta Braves Biggest Threat to Phillies in NL East

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central, and this week we’ll take look at the NL East. Since the Phillies have already been named a World Series favorite, we’ll start with the Atlanta Braves; Tuesday: Florida Marlins.

The Top Threat: Atlanta Braves

Off-Season Moves: The Braves lost their top two first basemen, Troy Glaus and Derrek Lee, to free agency. They acquired second baseman Dan Uggla from the Marlins in a trade that sent young lefty Michael Dunn and super utility man Omar Infante to Florida. Atlanta also released last year’s primary left fielder Melky Cabrera.

Strengths: Offensively, the Braves are about average in most categories except for on-base percentage. Atlanta finished last season third in the majors with a .339 team OBP. This year’s team should be able to come close to replicating that, losing some good OBP guys in Lee (.347), Glaus (.344) and Infante (.359), but gaining Uggla’s .369. Last season’s team leader (min. 400 at bats), Jason Heyward (.393, pictured above), will have to avoid a sophomore slump to set the pace again. Rookie first baseman, Freddie Freeman, struggled in just 20 major league games last season, but had a .378 OBP in 124 AAA games last year.

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Derek Lee Could Be Headed to Atlanta

The Chicago Cubs have been nothing shy of terrible this season. That’s why it’s not surprising to hear that Derrek Lee, who has spent the last five years with the Cubs, may be getting traded to the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs are currently 20 games under .500 and 18 1/2 games back in the NL Central. If I were Lee, I’d want out of there as fast as I could.

The Cubs looked like they might be able to turn things around after the All-Star break until then they got slapped around by the Rockies and Brewers.  It’s possible that Lee blocked the trade with the Angels in July because he was still holding out hope that their luck would turn.  However, it’s hard to stay positive and win ballgames when it seems like your own manager has given up on your team.

I think getting away from the Cubs would be a smart decision for Lee.  Chicago’s season is practically over and he would at least have a shot at a World Series ring if he went to the Braves.  That should be all that matters at this stage in his career.  Lee has done the best he could to help the Cubs, but you can’t expect one player to do it all.  The Cubs are full of talent.  They just couldn’t get it together this year to make it work.  I think D-Lee will find himself much happier in the Atlanta sun, with a chance to contend for a championship, than he would be in Chicago knowing the other side of town is fighting for one too.

Cubs working on deal to send Lee to Braves [Chicago Breaking Sports]

Glavine Release Is About Tommy Hanson, Not Money, Tom

I’ve never really been a fan of the Atlanta Braves front office. It all started with John Schuerholz’s book which was nothing but an ego-feeding, self-promotional response to Moneyball which glorified Billy Beane. Then you had Frank Wren say he saw Andruw Jones’ decline coming, only a year after Jones belted over 40 homers for the second straight year. But that’s the same team that offered Jones big money, just not as much as the Dodgers did, so you know their back-slapping was out of luck, not brains. Then I was pissed they low-balled John Smoltz to the point he had to go to Boston and instead went out and threw all kinds of money at Kenshin Kawakami. Their latest blunder was to release Tom Glavine who had just thrown back-to-back shutouts in his rehab from shoulder and elbow surgery. That pissed Glavine off something awful and even Schuerholz apologized for Atlanta’s actions:

“I want to offer an apology to Tommy,” Schuerholz said. “We made our decision, but the environment and the tone and the manner at the end of it didn’t feel comfortable to me. I tossed and turned pretty much all night long really, after we finished our meeting with Tommy, thinking about here’s this guy who has meant so much to our franchise, to the game of baseball, Hall of Famer, represented our city in grand fashion, and the meeting ended in a way that didn’t make me feel good. I felt like I owed Tommy an apology on behalf of our organization and from me.”

This is the second time Schuerholz has slapped Glavine in the face; the first time prompted Glavine to leave Atlanta to sign with the intra-divisional rival Mets. So while I have no doubts that the Braves and Schuerholz didn’t take some glee in sticking it to Glavine yet again, I have to say that I believe the move was more about embracing the future than saving money, as Glavine claims. True, Glavine would have made a few million being on the roster for 30 days, but the team is much better off adding Tommy Hanson to the rotation from Triple-A. Hanson had a 1.49 ERA in the minors, 90 strikeouts in just over 66 innings and he’s one of the top pitching prospects in the game. I’m not saying he’s ever going to win a Cy Young Award the way Glavine has or that he’ll ever come close to touching Glavine’s 305 career wins, but I do know that Hanson will do much more for the Braves than Glavine will over the next five seasons. I side with the Braves on this one — the move is much more about Hanson than it is Glavine. He needs to get over it and move on to a new team or retire.