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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sometimes, just isn't enough

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has donned his rags and settled on a prime Wall Street corner with a very large cup labeled "$1 Billion," while handing out leaflets listing nine cities MLB thinks could host an expansion team: Montreal; San Antonio; Portland; Las Vegas; Oklahoma City; northern new Jersey; Mexico City, and Monterrey.

You have to start early these days; Manfred says Montreal, one-time home of the Expos, is a prime contender for a sequel team, but....tsk, tsk, that dingy old Olympic Stadium. It just won't do: "[I]t's a long ways from two exhibition games to 81 home games in a facility that is consistent with major league standards."

Raising the political and business steam to foist a new, billion dollar stadium on any city takes some doing, even though most of them are the sort of places where they never saw a pro sports welfare scheme they couldn't slather enough lipstick on to build out at public expense.

If Montreal is the front-runner, Mexico City, Monterrey and San Antone are surely sops to ward off the inevitable collision between demographic change and anti-Mexican animus in the US.  If Oklahoma City wants a team, they can poach an existing one faster than waiting for an expansion slot; it worked when they pinched the Seattle Supersonics.

Northern New Jersey? Fuggeddabout it. Although Chris Christie, who governs the state from various upstate corporate sky boxes, will surely jump, if barely discernible- for joy at the prospect of a new one on whose builders and owners he can shower favors.

Vegas? Baseball is too slow. Unless there's video gambling at every seat, no one will go.

Portland? If Paul Allen says he'll front the money, it may fly. But then the taxpayers' and seat license season ticket holders' money will fly back to him forever.

Which leaves Charlotte. With new basketball, football and minor league baseball arenas uptown, surely there's another neighborhood or two that can be leveled.

1 comment:

  1. It would be nice to see someone somewhere get a franchise and then build their own stadium without any public money. Does anyone do this anymore? Of course, the bigger question is, why would they when municipalities and states are tripping over each other to hand out public money?