The Braves wouldn’t have won the World Series without John Coppolella. And though his indiscretions warranted punishment, the ex-Braves GM should’ve never been banned for life. He was just reinstated by Rob Manfred after a handful of years away from the game.
Coppy was instrumental in acquiring foundational pieces of the 2021 team that brought the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Atlanta for the first time since 1995, but he still couldn’t bring himself to watch the Braves series against the Astros, according to The Athletic. In fact, the piece states he hadn’t been able to watch any MLB games since 2017.
Alex Anthopoulos took over for Coppolella, and in just four short years, the Braves were World Champions. During Coppolella’s tenure, the club acquired Dansby Swanson and Max Fried in trades. As a member of the front office or scouting department, the Braves also acquired Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, A.J. Minter and more.
Granted, several pieces wouldn’t have been there without Anthopoulos, but the Braves don’t win the World Series without John Coppolella. The entire situation is a shame, but the former GM acknowledges it was his own doing, which takes gumption. There was nobody to cast blame, and the article states the reason for the harsh suspension was because of Coppolella’s “unsuccessful attempts, at the time, to deny the truth and evade blame.”
It’s a stain on the Atlanta Braves organization, but I would argue what Alex Cora, A.J. Hinch and the Houston Astros organization were doing in 2017 was far worse; yet, those involved received a slap on the wrist compared to the punishment handed down to the Braves and Coppolella. Stealing signs to affect games directly has to be seen as more egregious than under-reporting international free agents’ bonuses, something many organizations were doing at the time.
I’m not arguing what the Braves and Coppolella did was okay, but his reinstatement is long overdue.