Good morning. This is LEADOFF, an early look at Atlanta sports.
NORTH PORT, FLA. – Braves chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, who had made no public comments about the rule-breaking scandal that has rocked the franchise for the past two weeks, largely held to that stance when asked about the MLB investigation before Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the team’s new spring-training complex.
“We’re going to wait until MLB in the very near future (makes an announcement),” McGuirk said. “It has been basically wrapped up for a while. But … we respect all of baseball’s timelines on making announcements during the playoffs.”
Then he added: “Things are going along great at the Braves. We had our organizational meetings. We’re moving full speed ahead. So we’ll hold off on any comments.”
Asked if the facts of the case are as bad as they seem, McGuirk said: “No comment. That’s sort of a pejorative question.”
Asked if the Braves ultimately will be transparent with the public about exactly what transpired, McGuirk said: “I don’t think there will be any questions (unanswered) when we are able to discuss it.”
As for when that will be, McGuirk said it could be “maybe days,” but then clarified that to mean after the World Series.
“Baseball sets the agenda on the timeline on this thing,” he said. “And so it’s out of the Braves’ hands as far as when it’s appropriate to discuss.”
Asked if anyone else (beyond former general manager John Coppolella and former international scouting supervisor Gordon Blakeley) will be forced to leave the Braves’ organization as a result of the matter, McGuirk glanced at the reporter’s recorder and said, “We’re not going to make any more comments.”
When announcing Coppolella’s exit Oct. 2, the Braves said “the resignation comes as a result of a breach of Major League Baseball rules regarding the international player market.”
The Braves were happy to talk Monday about their new spring-training facility in southwest Florida. Will it be ready by February 2019? What will be built around it? Click here for a full story from North Port on the groundbreaking.
And click here for a photo gallery of the ceremony.
And don’t miss David O’Brien’s latest blog, which begins: “We watch the splendid drama of postseason baseball unfold each day, all the while as Braves front-office intrigue continues behind closed doors.”