The Atlanta Braves have decided to take the high road in an ugly dispute with the city of Atlanta over the Hank Aaron statue currently residing outside Turner Field. Earlier in the week, the city proclaimed the statue was their property and would remain in Fulton County, while the Braves had designs on bringing the bronze statue to Sun Trust Field next season. This dispute is the latest chapter of a downright bitter relationship in which the two sides have been at odds since late 2013 when the Braves shockingly announced they were bolting to suburban Cobb County.
Thankfully cooler heads prevailed, at least from the Braves side, as the team issued the following statement regarding the statue:
“Nothing could be further from the character of Hank Aaron than the divisive conversations that are occurring over his iconic statue. As such, the Atlanta Braves have decided that we will no longer contest the eventual location of the statue and will instead focus on how to best showcase Hank’s impact and legacy at SunTrust Park. Part of this will include commissioning a new statue for all baseball fans to see. Hank Aaron is, and will always be, a significant part of the Atlanta Braves and our proud legacy. Our sincere hope is that the existing statue will continue to be preserved and displayed in a manner befitting his legacy as the greatest Brave of all time.”
For a time, it seemed as if it would be forced upon Aaron to decide where the statue would reside. Aaron, now 82 years old and in declining health recently, was spared what likely would have been an agonizing and stressful decision. The All-Time Home Run King (depending on who you ask) had not commented publicly on the situation, but one would think he is relieved to have the situation settled prior to the start of the final season at Turner Field. The Braves deserve credit for ending the argument and thus saving both sides from further embarrassment. It remains to be seen how the Braves will honor the franchise icon at the new stadium, but they clearly made the right choice in providing finality to the situation.