Schultz: Will Freddie Freeman be booed in his return? What’s the Hawks’ plan?

ATLANTA — When Tom Glavine left the Braves as a free agent in 2002 after 16 years with the group and signed with the Mets, it did not go over properly in Atlanta. Many followers seen him as egocentric and disloyal and principally a traitor. The actual fact he already had misplaced some supporters as a result of he was a robust voice for the gamers ‘union throughout a strike a number of years earlier — and he had the audacity to signal with New York! — did not assist.

So it wasn’t too shocking that when Glavine made his first look as a Mets’ pitcher in Atlanta in 2003, he was “booed fairly badly,” he recalled. “And folks had some nasty issues to say to the purpose that my spouse and children left.”

(It did not go properly for him on the sphere, both. The Braves dented Glavine for six runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings in a 10-4 win.)

The hope right here is that the reception for Freeman is completely different Friday when he returns to Atlanta for a weekend collection with the Doggers. No matter which aspect you need to blame for Freeman signing with Los Angeles as a free agent — after the Braves successfully ended negotiations by buying and selling 4 prospects for his alternative, Matt Olson — it could be absurd to boo one of the vital loyal gamers in franchise historical past and the one most answerable for the workforce’s rise to World Champions final yr. The “he by no means wished to signal right here” takes are lazy and patently false. However in sports activities folks typically lead with their feelings.

Glavine believes Freeman “will get a constructive response.” There seemingly shall be some boos — see ballot outcomes — however they need to be drowned out by a loud standing ovation when he involves the plate within the first inning Friday evening.

The group will deal with Freeman’s return as a celebration, simply because it has with different gamers from final yr’s title workforce who’ve return in a distinct uniform this yr, just like the Giants‘ Joc Pederson on Monday evening. The Braves will current Freeman along with his World Sequence ring, and it is anticipated they’re going to even have a video tribute of their former MVP earlier than the sport.

Only a guess however there shall be some clips of Freeman homers and possibly one in all him elevating his arms at first base after taking a throw from Dansby Swanson to file the ultimate out of the World Sequence in Houston.

Freeman homered in his first at-bat in opposition to the Braves in Los Angeles two months in the past. This would be the solely different collection between the groups except they meet within the postseason, by which case Braves’ Twitter would soften down.

It looks like . . . October?

If it felt like a playoff ambiance for a Monday evening recreation in June, there is a purpose. The Braves could have turned heads and circled their season with their latest 14-game profitable streak, however this week’s seven-game homestand in opposition to the Giants and Dodgers qualifies as a measuring stick. All three undertaking as postseason groups, as do the Mets, who come to Atlanta in a number of weeks. So, sure, that is when a pecking order begins to take type.

Groups have nice seasons once they get performances from unlikely sources. The Braves had a kind of come via once more in Monday’s 2-1 win over the Giants, when second baseman Orlando Arcia, who’s filling in for the injured Ozzie Albies, had a walk-off RBI single within the ninth to attain pinch runner Phil Gosselin . Orlando Arcia? Phil Gosselin? Arcia is hitting .338 with a .941 OPS. The Braves’ prime three OPS averages presently belong to William Contreras (.987), Michael Harris (.949) and Arcia, though not one of the three have sufficient at-bats to formally qualify.

MBS may have grass on a regular basis, however this is why it will not

By now you realize that the sphere at Mercedes-Benz Stadium shall be switched from synthetic turf to grass instantly following the ultimate Falcons residence recreation of the 2025 season to organize for the 2026 World Cup. The precise timeline is not finalized but, however MBS seemingly might want to set up some form of underground irrigation and air flow system, in addition to some form of lighting system to duplicate a greenhouse impact. The open retractable roof itself will not suffice.

However this is the query: With this all being possible, why cannot the stadium have pure grass on a regular basis? Reply: It will probably. Nevertheless it will not occur. MBS is without doubt one of the busiest sports activities services on the earth. Within the final pre-COVID yr of 2019, it hosted 66 ticketed occasions and 275 personal occasions for a complete 341 in twelve months. That features soccer and soccer video games, in addition to live shows conventions, weddings, retirement events, company occasions and extra. Wooden planks are used to cowl the sphere earlier than phases and tables are arrange.

The grass wouldn’t survive that. Proprietor Arthur Clean shouldn’t be going to sacrifice that income stream or add the price of consistently repairing and changing the grass. So you’re going to get plastic turf and be pleased with it.

Hawks want change by way of commerce, not draft

The NBA draft is Thursday evening and the Hawks allowed imminent new basic supervisor Landry Fields, who will nonetheless reply to workforce president Travis Schlenk, to area questions from the media Monday. Fields dealt with it properly, particularly given this was his first formal information convention since signing with the Toronto Raptors 10 years in the past. He succeeded in not likely giving something away on the workforce’s plans.

However this is a thought: The Hawks’ solely path to vital enchancment over final yr is by way of commerce (or free company), not the draft. This workforce is younger sufficient and wishes an NBA confirmed scorer and defender, which the draft cannot assure. (Schlenk shared some ideas with The Athletic right here.) Fields on weighing the advantages of buying and selling versus retaining the decide (presently sixteenth general): “There’s all the time a high-quality line. There’s only some instances every year when you possibly can improve your workforce, and a kind of is the draft. On this league you want gifted gamers to win basketball video games. We attempt to not get too caught up in positional wants. It is nonetheless very a lot finest participant out there.”

Fact, fiction and someplace in between …

• How come no person is speaking concerning the Phillies? Their file in June (15-3) is just one recreation worse than the Braves’ (16-2)

Wizards guard Bradley Beal is predicted to say no his $36.4 million participant possibility. It is “broadly assumed” he’ll achieve this to signal a max cope with Washington, by way of The Athletic’s Josh Robbins. OK, now that I am coated, let your self think about the Hawks with a backcourt of Trae Younger and Beal.

• Significantly. (Kinda.) sportbook.ag has listed odds for potential suitors if Beal would not re-sign with the Wizards. Listed below are the highest 5: Celtics 3-1, Path Blazers 4-1, Warmth 5-1, Nets 6-1, Hawks 7-1, Nuggets 15-2, Lakers 8-1, Mavericks and Sixers 9-1, Knicks 10-1.

• Listed below are the unofficial odds on the Hawks being within the disgruntled (once more) Kyrie Irving: zero.

(Photograph: David Banks / USA As we speak)

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