Good for them.
Washington D.C. has given Bud Selig and Major League Baseball the big fat finger when it comes to their latest attempt to gouge the public for a new stadium. Special props to Council Chair Linda Cropp, who made partial private financing a requirement for her vote.
I don't like the idea of public financing for any ball stadium, no matter the sport. It's not like any of the team owners is going to miss a meal if they have to foot the bill for a new stadium. They may have to defer their second or third private jet, but they're not going to be in financial pain if they have to come up with the cash for a new joint to play in, no matter what they claim.
It's been said before by people far more experienced than me in this field, but it's worth repeating: baseball team owners didn't get rich enough to own teams by being idiots in business. These are smart people, and they know that every penny they don't have to put in the team is one more in their pockets. And when we're talking about publicly funded stadiums, it's coming out of our taxpayer pockets, both in cash form and in the sense that we're giving already rich people money that could be used on schools, on police, on homeland security, on virtually anything else. And for what? The pride that comes with having a home team thatcan be moved the minute the local government doesn't bend over and spread 'em? Give me a break.
And it's not like there's no precedent for a privately financed stadium. SBC Park in San Francisco is an absolutely gorgeous stadium, and it's got a pretty serious debt load (which we get to hear about every year when the Giants don't get a no. 1 pitcher for the stretch run). But the person servicing that debt load is the person who will reap the benefits in the future when every penny that puppy brings in is his.
Bud Selig wants any city who wants a baseball team to pay for the stadium and then give the team all the revenue that the stadium generates. That's a sucker's game, but unfortunately, all too many cities are willing to play it. D.C. is playing, but only partly for now. For a city with the social problems they have, something is better than nothing. Especially when we're talking about the Expos.