Friday, June 24, 2005

Tangentially yours

Stuff not directly related to the field of play? Some of it a week old? Perfect!

Thanks to the Sports Economist, we know that Garry Thorne, a B-Team baseball announcer for the Four Letter Network, doesn't regard publicly-funded stadia with particular fondness:

As with all moneyed people, the first rule is to use someone else's bucks to finance the business of your desires. Nothing wrong with that until the till one seeks to tap is the public coffers. The evidence continues to mount with independent study after study that public
investment in sports stadiums for pro teams is at best a financial wash, and usually a negative return on investment.


Regarding the DC ballpark initiative (a/k/a "Operation: Mayoral Race"), Thorne doesn't mince words, mixing in a bit of "Why won't they think of the children?" with a spice of "David Pinto loves RFK-ism":

The case of the new stadium being financed by the District of Columbia for the Nationals is a real disgrace. The District is desperate for funds for schools and other services that tax dollars support. [. . . ]
Besides, RFK is not such a bad place to play. It's just that the owners want those luxury boxes and the money they bring. That being the case, let them live by the system they love to tout when it comes to everybody else's business-free enterprise.

I don't post this to be critical of Mr. Thorne. These are important concerns, and even if they lack merit in certain respect, they're easier to brush off when your team is the topic of the discussion. Thorne, of course, seems to have no dog in the fight, and I think his opinion is at least unusual for a member of the mainstream baseball media.

_________

Ron Rappaport's column in the Chicago Sun-Times last week demonstrates how headline writers potentially endanger the lives of columnists. Here's the headline:

Cubs a Nationals disgrace if Washington wins it all

Oh, lord. It's going to be an utter piss-n-moan session, isn't it? Nope; Rappaport says RFK attendance leaves room for improvement, but it's still a significant accomplishment for DC baseball. Plus, he cites the Nats' record in one-run games as a sign of a good team, not a lucky one.

I'm not saying Rappaport's right or wrong on that last point (as Harper sagely points out, it could be both); I'm just observing that the headline writer, in invoking Rappaport's lead paragraph, could get the poor guy killed if enough message board types get wind of the piece.


_______

Finally, John Brittain of the Hardball Times breaks down the National League Cy Young Award candidates. Brittain lists our enthusiatically-punctuated ace as an "honorable mention."

Comments:
Thorne is a lawyer and pretty smart guy. I think he's exactly right on the "financial wash" point, but I don't think that is a reason not to build a stadium. And his point on RFK is weak -- it needs to be renovated, and that has much less chance of even being a "financial wash".
 
I didn't realize Thorne is a lawyer. That's interesting.

I'd say "financial wash" is perhaps even a charitable description, but like you said, the RFK argument is a non-starter. It's just not a practical reality.
 
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