The Washington Moneygrubbers
isn't really the name of the team, but it might as well be. MLB is making demands and pointing fingers like they've been wronged here and most media sources seem to be buying it hook, line and sinker.
Not Jim Caple. His latest piece on ESPN.com is the best I've seen about stadium financing. Here's a great quote: "it's the height of greed and arrogance to insist a Washington owner doesn't need to contribute significantly to the construction of a stadium."
Public funding of stadiums is greedy. Baseball is an industry rolling in cash, and yet it lobbies, threatens and intimidates local governments into forking over taxpayer money.
The worst part of public funding for stadiums is the way the decisions are taken out of the hands of the public. In New York, mayor Michael Bloomberg has gone to great lengths to have obscure boards and state commissions make all the decisions on a stadium for the Jets on the West Side of Manhattan. He's done this because he knows this issue would never meet with the popular support of the people. In Washington D.C., our national seat of democracy, local government has stood up to MLB. I'm sorry more news stories haven't appreciated it in that light.
Of course, I could always change my mind on this issue if, say, the governor of Georgia decided to institute a new tax to raise funds to pay for the Braves' outfield.
Postscript: Baseball Widow promised that I'd post about the Baseball course I taught at Duke TIP's Scholar Weekend in October. So here's a D.C. related note from class. We did a marketing unit where we looked at various revenue streams for teams. As a hands-on activity, the students named the team (this was before the team was designated the Nationals) and designed logos, uniforms, and marketing tie-ins. Here are top three vote-getters for the class:
The Washington Freedom
The Washington Generals
The D.C. Destroyers
I expected some creative ideas from 13 year olds -- maybe the Bloodsuckers, or the Insiders -- but was surprised that they opted for mainly safe choices. I wonder if it's a sign of mainstream media's indoctrination of the kids, or if people really do prefer bland names like "Nationals".