Matt Olson reveals why players love the Atlanta Braves

Braves Olson

The Braves are famously one of the most well ran organizations in sports. Atlanta is heralded by former and current players, coaches, and personnel of all kinds. Braves Country is as passionate as any fan base in baseball, while The Battery is one of the most special venues in sports. It’s a world class franchise, top to bottom, which doesn’t resonate with other fan bases.

Alex Anthopoulos has been extending core pieces early at potentially team-friendly rates since 2019, when he inked Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies to long-term deals, and he hasn’t slowed down since then. Anthopoulos has handed out lucrative yet somehow affordable contracts to Austin RileyMatt OlsonMichael Harris II, Spencer Strider, and most recently, Sean Murphy. 

It’s understandably not sat well with other fan bases. Most recently, Barstool Sports baseball personality Carl said some outlandish stuff about how handing these deals out was actually stupid (his words). He insinuated that these players that are locked up won’t be as focused on baseball; instead, they’ll be “playing golf, having lunch, and eating cheesecake.”

Thankfully, his counterpart Jake Arrieta, a former big league pitcher, talked some sense into him. Shortly after receiving what I imagine was a mountain of backlash, Carl walked back the comments, stating it was purely to get a rise out of Braves Country, which probably isn’t that hard to do. It’s an incredibly fiery fan base.

Ironically, the Starting 9 podcast had Matt Olson on to talk shop. The All-Star first baseman explained why players like himself were more than eager to sign long-term deals with the Braves that could be seen as team-friendly, including this fun tidbit about the clubhouse.

Funny enough, Barstool Carl acknowledged at one point — now that a Braves player was actually sitting in front of him — how well the franchise is run.

The Braves’ culture is top-notch because Terry McGuirk gives Alex Anthopoulos the resources he needs to get the job done, which includes subtleties like a towel heater and ice cream machine. The workplace environment is important. Anthopoulos places a premium on that, and he’s done a masterful job hiring the right people who want to do everything they can to help the organization succeed.

Olson went on to talk about the stark differences between the Athletics and Braves organizations. The Georgia native acknowledged the A’s philosophy of acquiring and developing talent, then shipping it off to continue the cycle. Braves fans might be displeased with the franchise for letting Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman walk in free agency, but they’re far from the operation in Oakland.

Olson continued about how easy it is for AA to walk to the negotiating table, referencing how good of a team the Braves are, the city of Atlanta, the stadium, the fan base, and more on why players want to be there long term. Olson went further to say that it’s pretty special every night there are 30,000+ fans in the stands, so pat yourselves on the back, Braves Country.

For a lot of these guys, geography matters. For others, it’s the first-class support and consistent winning. Matt Olson and Michael Harris are from Georgia. Austin Riley is from Mississippi. Spencer Strider and Sean Murphy want to be with a winner. It’s different for every guy, but the message is the same: everyone loves playing for the Atlanta Braves.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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