Thursday, December 16, 2004

Sport Business Sanity

(Three words you don't see together very often.)

Looks like The Nationals are gonna be Les Expos again next year. From ESPN:

NEW YORK -- Washington's new baseball team shut down business and promotional operations indefinitely Wednesday as its move to the nation's capital teetered on the brink of collapse.

The decision by Major League Baseball followed the District of Columbia Council's decision Tuesday night to require private financing for at least half the cost of building a new stadium. The September agreement to move the Montreal Expos to Washington called for a ballpark fully financed by government money.

This is probably a very bad thing for Baseball - I should say, for Major League Baseball, the organization... But god, this is a great thing for the public at large. Someone stood up to the crap they sell. On something that makes sense, not the usual grandstanding Bullshit, like McCain on steroids. Jim Henley's Unqualifed Offerings has a couple posts up about it, and about the coverage of it. Jim Caple at ESPN agrees - and reminds us that the council still agreed to pay some $450 million, and that the real driving force here is MLB's desire to get all the sale money for the team for themselves. And after the fine fine job they've done the last couple years of raising the value of the franchise, who can blame them for wanting to make a modest profit off the deal?

Seriously - why should cities foot the bill? some of the bill, maybe, but all of it? No. And I should add - Henley quotes Mark Fisher uttering that old dead fish "Baseball was an opportunity to rise above those strains, to reach for world-class status, to lure suburbanites back into a view of Washington as the center, a place of pride." - a particular type of inanity I cannot abide . Baseball teams - basketball, football, what have you - do not make a place a world class city. Living in a city with some recent baseball success - winning the world series is great, but please - if we're a world class city, it's because of things like this, or maybe this (even if they are in a different city) - maybe even what lies across the fens from the baseball park. And, if we are a "world class city" - why the hell can't they get the trains running?

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