Thursday, December 16, 2004

Not so fast, Bud
It's nice to see the righteous stamping out naked greed every once in a while, especially since things usually seem to work the other way around. D.C. city councilwoman Linda Cropp insisted that the Expos/Nationals new owner pay half the cost of the new stadium, which is estimated at over $500 million. Taking the perfectly sensible, and popular, view that the disgustingly rich owners of baseball teams should foot at least part of the bill for their lucrative playpens, she convinced the other council members to go along with her. Now the whole Expos-to-D.C. deal is in jeopardy.

I say no problem. I don't think there's any contradiction in being a huge baseball fan and believing that taxpayers -- who already pay absurd sums of money to pass through stadium turnstiles -- should not pay a red cent for stadium construction. For one thing, the damn things have gotten laughably expensive -- Camden Yards was built for one-fourth of the cost of the Nationals new stadium, and that was barely more than 10 years ago. For another, it's just obscene and twisted to throw money at baseball players and owners when infrastructure is rotting, schools are underfunded, and so many other urban problems remain unsolved. I'm sure there's some negligible economic impact from new stadiums, but it hardly justifies the cost. Yes, it's nice to have a sports team around to distract us from the other problems in the city, but I just can't muster any convincing moral or communal calculus to support taxpayer-funded stadiums.


At 9:55 AM, Blogger jflo said...

The Expos deal down here is a little divisive. And it's pretty much sports fans vs. non, which I suppose should be expected. The economic improvements to the area is just sorta taken as a given, which I don't really get.

The DC area has some extensive waterfront property which is totally unused, and in an effort to revitalize this part of the city, the stadium is alleged to be a centerpiece which will draw greater commercial/retail interest. Nobody has really explained just HOW it's supposed to revitalize the waterfront, it's just assumed that it will.

Unless of course the Expos suck. Which they do. 67 - 95 in '04, yeah, let's spend half a billion on those guys.


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