- Created on 20 May 2013
While there will not be a decision on the winner until mid-June, the Falcons have reportedly narrowed down the number of finalists to build the team's new $1 billion retractable roof stadium to five. That list includes Skanska, the same contractor that built the home of this year's Super Bowl in New Jersey.
Skanska has worked on several large projects, including MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, which will host Super Bowl XLVIII.
Skanska joined 360 Architecture to design and build MetLife Stadium. Last month, 360 Architecture was selected as lead architect for the new Falcons stadium.
Other contractors vying to build the Falcons stadium include: Holder Construction Group LLC, Atlanta's largest commercial contractor; Turner Construction Company, Clark Construction Group and Hunt Construction Group.
The June deadline for selecting one of the five was confirmed by Kim Shreckengost, executive vice president and chief of staff for AMB Group, the parent company of the Falcons, to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
"Finalists will be given the opportunity to suggest other contractor teams that would potentially work with them," she said. "However, we would have discretion in putting together the final team mainly to maximize local and equal business opportunity participation."
- Created on 20 May 2013
- Created on 19 May 2013
During batting practice Braves catcher Evan Gattis launched two balls into the left field seats clearing well over 335 feet. It was a sign of things to come. Gattis's hard work paid off when he. The man affectionately known as El Oso Blanco or "The White Bear" was called on to pinch hit in the eighth inning and launched a two-run homer on a 2-2 pitch into the left field seats, leading the Braves to a 3-1 victory.
"Its nice having a guy like [Gattis] that you can plug into the lineup at anytime, he likes moments like this," Braves General Manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
It was Gattis's 8th home run of the season and his second pinch hit home run, but since Jason Heyward's return to the starting lineup it will be hard to find a spot for the April National League Rookie of the Month.
"Eventually we are going to have to find a spot for him so he can get three to four at bats a game," Gonzalez said.
Gattis lead all Major League rookies in home runs and RBI in the month of April. The Braves needed a clutch hit down 1-0 in the eighth inning and Gattis came through. Atlanta has a 2-15 record when trailing after seven innings and a 1-14 record when they don't hit a home run.
"Unfortunately we are a team that relies on the long ball quite often and when we are doing that we are pretty good," said Andrelton Simmons, who hit a home run after Gattis to give the Braves the 3-1 victory.
The Braves have a 22-4 record in games when they hit a home run. Heyward just missed a homer in the first inning when he sent a ball flying into center field, but Matt Kemp scaled the wall and robbed him. Heyward trotted the bases and tipped his cap to the center fielder.
Braves starter Kris Medlen pitched seven innings, giving up just two hits and one unearned run. The run came in the fourth inning when Skip Schumaker doubled on a line drive to left fielder Justin Upton with Adrian Gonzalez on first. Gonzalez scored on a fielding error by Upton when he fumbled the ball in the left field corner.
With recent injuries to the Braves bullpen, Medlen felt he needed to give the Braves pitchers a little extra.
"It was in the back of my mind, you always want to perform well but seeing [Eric] O'Flaherty down made me want to go eight innings," Medlen said.
Braves General Manager Frank Wren announced yesterday that a recent MRI revealed relief pitcher Eric O'Flaherty had a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow. A UCL tear is typically repaired with Tommy John surgery, a process that could take up to 12 months to heal. The injury comes just days after Dr. James Andrews performed season ending surgery on the shoulder of relief pitcher Jonny Venters.
Without two studs in the lineup the relief staff pitched a perfect game after Medlen's exit. Cory Gearirin, who pitched a perfect inning in the eighth, picked up the win and Craig Kimbrel notched his 13th save of the season.
- Created on 20 May 2013
The Atlanta Dream is offering an interesting promotion to get new fans to Philips Arena for its 2013 season opener. Rather than highlighting its own players, the team is offering fans a meet and greet with Tulsa Shock rookie guard Skylar Diggins.
The meet and greet is part of a $100 package that includes two lower level tickets and an autographed photo of Diggins. The promotion is at the top of the Dream's team website. It appears to be part of a strategy to boost attendance by highlighting the WNBA's so-called "Three to See," which includes Diggins, WNBA number one overall draft pick Brittany Griner and number two pick Elena Delle Donne.
According to SportsBusinessDaily.com the Dream had the second lowest attendance in the WNBA for the 2012 season.
"The Dream will be hosting a meet and greet with Tulsa rookie Skylar Diggins following the season opener on May 25," reads the top story on the Dream's official WNBA page. "For $100, you get two lower level tickets, an invitation to the post-game meet and greet and an autographed photo. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets and secure your chance to meet Skylar Diggins."
Dream leading scorers Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza are also featured in other promotions on the website.
- Created on 18 May 2013
For the Atlanta Braves it felt good to be home again. Atlanta tooks its series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field Friday night, after spending 27 of the last 37 games on the road.
The win came in come-from-behind fashion, in large part thanks to Justin Upton, who launched his third career grand slam in the sixth inning in an 8-5 victory.
The Braves have only played 14 games at home, the least of any team in the majors, yet still hold a one and a half game lead over the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East.
"Going on the road is tough and we played some good teams, so to come home and still have a lead you gotta feel pretty good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
The Braves also welcomed Jason Heyward back to the starting lineup. The Golden Glove outfielder returned after missing 22 games due to an appendectomy surgery.
Heyward played six games with the Gwinnett Braves during his rehab stint and hit for a .300 average with six RBI. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his return to the starting lineup. He also made a sliding grab in the outfield without hesitation but came up limping gingerly after his cleat ran into his leg.
"I felt good," said Heyward of his diving catch. "I wasn't worried about [my surgery], I just spiked myself which didn't feel very good."
Heyward also answered any lingering questions about his ability to hit on Friday. After Andrelton Simmons singled in the third, Heyward hit a line drive into left field for just his third double of the season. Simmons scored on an Upton ground ball and Heyward scored on a Freddie Freeman Single.
"I had some good plays on defense, got some hits, had some good at bats, that's all I can really hope to do and fortunately it came through for me," Heyward said.
Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm gave up four runs in six innings but only two were earned due to a Dan Uggla error in the fourth. Two runs scored off the error to put the Dodgers ahead 4-2.
Once again Heyward was instrumental for the Braves in a late inning rally when he drew a walk to load the bases for Upton. That set up Upton to drill a grand slam home run into the upper deck that sent the sellout crowd of 43,238 into a frenzy.
"I didn't even look up. I knew it was gone," said Heyward of Upton's 14th homer of the season. "You know what it looks like after a while."
The Braves added two more insurance runs in the seventh and Craig Kimbrel closed the game and notched his 12th save of the season.
The Braves have finally put together the lineup they have been waiting for season opening day. Brian McCann, Freeman and Heyward all played in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
"We had some good at bats and drew some walks and got their pitcher deep into counts," said Gonzalez.
Atlanta will play 13 of its next 18 games at home, a much needed change of pace from a grueling beginning of the season.