The past year was huge for Atlanta, there’s no other way to say it. And when you look back at 2017, it’s next to impossible for everyone to agree on the top moments.
That’s why we asked for help.
The Morning Show with John Fricke and Hugh Douglas spent days debating on the air and took to social media (Twitter and Facebook) to let their listeners help determine the five biggest sports stories of 2017. But, before we get into counting down the top five over the next five days, let’s briefly mention some of the stories outside the top five (in no particular order):
- Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team vaulted to recently unprecedented levels during the 2016-17 season. A lot of the praise was lopped onto head coach Josh Pastner, who was told he might not win five games. The Yellow Jackets just missed out on the NCAA tournament, but played all the way to the finals of the NIT, where they lost. It was a great first season for Pastner.
- We all remember the implosion of the Georgia Dome.
- Two of the greatest professional wrestling announcers of all time were in our studio in 2017 talking about the good ‘ole days of their sport. Tony Schiavone and Beau Le Blanc host “Pro Wrestling Wednesday” each week from 9-11 p.m. and they welcomed Jim Ross onto the show with them for one glorious night. You can see some video of Ross in studio and also subscribe to the show on iTunes for the whole episode.
- Check back each day as we count down from now until 2018 and we’ll share more of the big 2017 events that didn’t make out top five. But now, let’s start the countdown:
5. SCANDAL, SURVIVAL & REBIRTH
The Braves new home, SunTrust Park, was tainted by a scandal that rocked the franchise to its core. It’s former general manager, John Coppolella, was caught red-handed breaking numerous Major League Baseball rules in how the club illegally signed future promising international prospects. In his zeal to build the Braves back to a contender, Coppolella potentially set the franchise back a decade. His actions were so egregious that MLB’s punishment including banning Coppolella for life. The Braves were also stripped of the rights to a dozen promising young players and forced to do a major course correction of the franchise just as it was seeing the start of the fruits of one of the best farm systems in the game. The new general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, has a big job ahead. The newness of the new park will wear off and fans will (are already?) demand to see winning baseball back in the South again soon.
Grant McAuley, who hosts Around the Big Leagues with Grant McAuley each Saturday morning, shared his thoughts on what went down:
- Before the Braves hired Anthopoulos, McAuley asked Who Can Lead Braves Through Winter of Discontent?
- Introduced us to Anthopoulos.
- And spoke of the harsh punishment handed down from MLB.
Reporting and information from The Morning Show was used here, and John Fricke provided reporting and contributed to the writing of this article.