If you're a believer in "where there's smoke, there's fire" (personally, I'm a fan of "where there's hot orange stuff leaping from a log, there's fire",) then prepare yourself for Arthur Blank owning the Braves. I've already weighed in on this possibility, but I had a reckoning this morning on the way to work and, as part of my effort to spin every glass as half-full and growing (how else could I be a Hawks fan?), I came up with the following arguments in favor of Blank buying the team:
1. If Blank doesn't buy them, then someone else probably will and if anyone's going to own a team in a league with no salary cap, then who better than a billionaire Atlantan? He'll never have to cut corners with the team like we all worried that David McDavid would with the Hawks and Thrashers and he's completely invested in Atlanta (not that the Braves moving is a possibility.) We can't view his purchase in a vacuum; it's either him or someone else.
2. Major League Baseball, far more than the NFL, rewards good marketing and maximization of local revenue. In the NFL, most revenues are shared, so even the worst-run teams in the league make plenty of money. In baseball, you have low-revenue teams in huge markets (the White Sox come to mind, as did the Phillies and Angels for years) and large-revenue teams in smaller markets (the Cardinals and, for a time, the Mariners,) in part because teams that are well-run and gin up fan interest keep the money that they generate. Blank knows a thing or two about making consumers like a product and making that product appear cool and fresh. The Braves' problem right now, aside from the ennui caused by the same season happening over and over every year since 2000, is that they aren't new and fresh and the Atlanta sports market, lacking the tradition of the dinosaur markets of the Northeast and Midwest, is trend-oriented. If anyone can make them new and fresh, it's Blank.
3. Arthur is a smart guy and hopefully, he's learned from Peerless Price, namely that getting emotionally involved in negotiations is never a good idea. He's smart enough to understand that a bad free agent signing in baseball will stay with the Braves like herpes. He also understands the impact that good decisions have on revenue in baseball is far stronger than the impact that good decisions have in the socialist NFL. It's probably unfair of me to assume that Arthur isn't a living, growing organism.
4. He's a Member of the Tribe. Red Auerbach, the most successful owner in American team sports history, is a Member of the Tribe. Prepare for eight straight titles. (At a minimum, he would have vetoed the Jason Marquis trade and done his best to acquire Shawn Green, Mike Lieberthal, and Kevin Youklis.) Plus, Bud Selig is a Member of the Tribe, a fact that we don't like to admit too often, but one that might mean special treatment from the commish. After all, we Jews are known for conspiring together to screw our enemies.