The Atlanta Braves’ former director of international scouting will meet with Liberty Media in mid-December.
According to David O’Brien of the AJC, Blakeley, the former head of the Atlanta Braves international scouting, will meet with Liberty Media on December 14 to discuss the recent allegations which cost him his job and earned him a year-long ban from baseball. He apparently intends to go after Braves executives who have been lucky enough to skirt enough punishment.
“If other international scouting directors jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?”
Parents everywhere have posed versions of this question since the beginning of time. Its lesson, designed to stress the importance of personal integrity, has been bestowed on generations upon generations of children. Don’t follow the popular method if it’s wrong.
When it came to signing Kevin Maitan & Co., Gordon Blakeley never cared much for the bridge analogy.
John Coppolella’s career is toast, so he doesn’t fall into this category. John Hart is “pursuing other opportunities,” the timing of which lent itself to much speculation on how much he knew. Therefore, in the triumvirate of Johns, only one remains.
When connecting the dots, it appears John Schuerholz will be one of the names targeted. Schuerholz’s official title is Vice Chairman, but his actual role in day-to-day operations has recently been up for debate.
Liberty Media, who has owned the Atlanta Braves since 2007, would no doubt like to know if the recent Hall of Fame inductee was involved in the unlawful international signing practices in question. It seems logical he would have known something, but no one has spoken up yet.
That is all about to change.
The priciest members of the Braves’ 2016 international signing bonanza were declared free agents two weeks ago. Blakeley, who was forced into resignation the first day of the offseason, was responsible for the majority of these players.
In this situation, it’s hard to tell whether Blakeley is a good guy or a bad guy.
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On the one hand, he was just doing his duty by all means necessary. His job was to acquire high-end, impact talent, which he did to a great end. He knew he could make the Braves a powerhouse again, even if it meant wandering shamelessly into unethical territory.
Then again, if the guy in the car next to you is driving 70 mph, you can win a race just by going 71. Blakely was routinely going over 100 mph.
The volatile nature of international scouting has led teams to get creative when signing promising players. The practice of bundling prospects has come under much scrutiny, but it has become an increasingly common method for circumventing signing rules.
The Braves – and Blakely in particular – embraced the bundling technique, much like the rest of the league.
Their brazenness with this practice, however, is what got them in hot water. Now that his livelihood has been affected by his untruths, Blakeley is standing up and crying foul. Is this reactionary and wholly based in self-defense? Or is he hoping to have a ripple effect on the practices of international scouting?
Either way, sparks should be flying soon. Get your popcorn ready.