No. 23: Atlanta Braves

2013 Ultimate Standings

Updated: September 23, 2013, 12:05 PM ET
By Doug Mittler | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 27 Title track: 34 Ownership: 41 Coaching: 71 Players: 38 Fan relations: 40 Affordability: 24 Stadium experience: 46 Bang for the buck: 23

Looking for a reason why the Braves are the front-runners in the National League East? It's Waffle House. The Braves' 14-game winning streak, the longest in MLB this season as of August, began July 26 -- the same day the Atlanta-based chain opened a stand at Turner Field, serving waffles and hash browns with multiple toppings in its only non-24-hour location. It's just one of the reasons fans like the home field, which has aged nicely since being converted over for the Braves following the 1996 Summer Olympics. "Simple math, really," says Shankster91 facetiously on talkingchop.com. "WaHo at Turner = happy, enthusiastic fans. In turn, enthusiastic fans lead to motivated players and motivated players drive on-field success." Ergo: the Braves made a sizable 26-point leap to 46th in the stadium experience category, helping them move up four spots overall to 23rd.

Other nice additions to Turner Field this season include Braves Memorial Diamond, which honors deceased members of the Braves family, as well as a place where fans signed up to take batting practice against former Braves Marquis Grissom, Pete Smith and Zane Smith. An average ticket price of $17.32 is 10 bucks less than the MLB average, helping the club move up 11 points in the affordability category. The players category dropped 16 points, but our data was collected in late May, before the Braves put the 2012 NL East champion Nationals in the rearview mirror. From here, it looks like the brother Upton experiment is working. Maybe waffles to celebrate a division title?

Doug Mittler

Rumor Central

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