While John Coppolella’s lifetime ban may have come as a bit of a shock, it also brought up an interesting question — what happens to John Hart?
After all, he was the President of Baseball Operations — even if rumor has it that he was basically just a glorified advisor in this role. Still, he had to have known or even approved of what was going on, which means that he could have been open for sanctions if that was the case.
It now seems like John Hart was trying to get out while the getting was good. According to a report from Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it seems like the investigation definitely played a role in Hart’s departure from the club.
A person familiar with the situation said that [Gordon] Blakeley, in a Nov. 9 meeting with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in New York, discussed how much that high-ranking Braves officials including Hart knew about the alleged infractions before and after they were committed. Some believe that meeting influenced the departure of Hart despite the fact he was under contract through the end of the year.
The article from Burns goes on to discuss the punishments that the Braves have received and also discusses how Coppolella’s management style was starting to wear on the nerves of the employees who worked under the former GM, so it’s definitely worth reading in order to get a small idea of just how crazy things were getting during what turned out to be the final days of the previous regime.
It’s also worth noting that Hart was supposed to be the overseer when it came to Coppolella and the assistant GMs. Well, one assistant GM has earned a one-year ban and the actual GM has been banned for life. You’d think that the man who was tasked with trying to keep things under control would receive punishment for exhibiting a lack of control that led to the scandal that has basically crippled the Braves in the international market for the next few years.
For now, it looks like Hart is going to get out of this like how I figured Coppolella would get out of this. He’s stepped down from his position (even as he got “demoted” to “advisor”), washed his hands from the Braves and should be out of the game for a long time. It just seems very odd that Hart is going to escape this with no type of formal punishment.
Maybe that’s an indication that MLB has determined that Hart really didn’t know what was going on while the Braves were busy cheating, but it’s still a sign that there was a stunning lack of control going on when it came to the Braves organization and proof that things were not all well during the final days of the previous regime.