Thursday, December 16, 2004


Sports-related posts are a rarity here, but I couldn’t resist weighing in on some current events relating to Our National Pastime.

The Montreal Expos Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball are embroiled in a foofaraw over who is going to be paying for that nice new stadium. Apparently, the D.C. City Council balked at the plan the Mayor cooked up with MLB for having the taxpayers finance the entire $1 billion project, and they insisted that the private sector pony up a (measly) $140 million towards the cost.

Oooooh, that’s not what the deal was supposed to be! The team was supposed to be getting a free ride on the taxpayers’ backs! Waitaminnit, maybe we won’t bring the team to DC after all! Let’s pull all our advertising!
“I believe the deal is broken. The dream is now close to dying,” [Mayor Anthony] Williams said. “We’re in great jeopardy here and I think I'm being optimistic.”
“Right on, City Council!” sez I.

Wake up, people. Enough already with taxpayers having to pick up the tab for sports facilities. Yes, new stadiums provide a public benefit, which is why I believe they should get some sort of tax break from the powers-that-be. And I’m not opposed to public participation in these projects. What has happened, however, is that in many municipalities, John Q. Public has been handed the entire bill.

This is reprehensible. What’s worse, since the legislators are such cowards and thieves, the tax burden is often shunted off not on the locals (who might then express their displeasure at having their taxes jacked up by Throwing the Bastards Out), but on visitors. Go to Houston and rent a car: you will be astonished at the Heap o’ Miscellaneous Sports-Related Surcharges on your bill, enough to gag a maggot.

And the team owners? They love it. They get to collect all of that nice TV revenue, not to mention ticket sales and money skimmed off of all the overpriced concessions. These guys know they’ll never go broke in the Bread and Circuses business.

Looks like the City Council is calling bullshit on Mr. Mayor and the Baseball Boyz. Good for them.

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