LEADOFF: What they’re saying about Braves’ manager candidates

Good morning. LEADOFF brings you today’s early buzz in Atlanta sports:

There’s a lot of chatter … about the open Braves manager’s job and two prominent external candidates for the position.

ESPN analyst (and former Reds and Nationals general manager) Jim Bowden states that former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black “is the front runner” for the Braves job, attributing that assessment to a “source involved in their search.”

Writing on ESPN.com, Bowden continues: “With the Braves Farm System loaded with top pitching prospects and Black’s long successful track record of handling, developing and procuring arms, he certainly appears to be the best fit of all the candidates they’ve interviewed to date. Black’s ability to win one run games in his previous stint as San Diego Padres skipper helps as well. Black also has a strong personal and professional relationship with team President John Hart. Black has exceptional people skills and relates well with both field and front office personnel.”

Another candidate interviewing with the Braves, Oakland A’s third-base coach and former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, received a hearty endorsement for the job from A’s manager Bob Melvin on the team’s MLB.com site.

“I’d hate to lose him. I hope he gets it,” Melvin was quoted. “That’s how highly I think of Ron Washington.”

The report noted Washington managed the Rangers to their only two World Series appearances (2010 and 2011) and added that “his work with the A’s since rejoining their staff last year has drawn constant praise.”

And if you missed it, click here for Bobby Cox’s comments on Brian Snitker’s candidacy for the job.

* * *

Here’s the latest from Chip Towers at DawgNation.com on the unlikelihood of the Georgia-South Carolina football game being played as scheduled Saturday in Columbia because of Hurricane Matthew — and his take on the possibility of the game being moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The word from both UGA and South Carolina last night was that “we’ll know more tomorrow,” Towers reports.

* * *

Several 2016-17 ACC championship events that the conference recently pulled out of North Carolina have found new homes in Georgia. The ACC men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships will be held at the Georgia Tech Aquatics Center, and the ACC men’s and women’s tennis tournaments will be played at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.

* * *

Noteworthy: Here’s an update from D. Orlando Ledbetter on the 3-1 Falcons’ next opponent, the defending Super Bowl champs no less. … Jeff Schultz points out that having to go shopping for two front-line starting pitchers for the 2017 rotation wasn’t part of the plan when the Braves began trading stars for prospects two years ago. … And in case you missed it yesterday, here’s a look at how thoroughly the Falcons-Panthers game dominated other sports events in the local TV ratings last weekend.

* * *

Elsewhere: Baseball’s postseason opened last night with the Blue Jays defeating the Orioles 5-2 in the AL wild-card game on an 11th-inning home run. The Giants and Mets meet tonight in the NL wild-card game, which features an elite pitching matchup of Madison Bumgarner vs. Noah Syndergaard.

* * *

Check back to Leadoff early tomorrow for news, notes and links in Atlanta sports.