Jan 26, 2010, 10:28 AM EDT
That’s not really news, but it’s now an Official Finding of a committee put together by a coalition of St. Petersburg business and community leaders. One would think that such a conclusion could be reached upon one or two visits to Tropicana Field, but these guys have been studying the matter for eighteen months. Though to be fair, that’s a blink of an eye in committee-years.
And it’s actually a handful of related findings, which include the following:
- The Rays are “an economic driver” of the community and enhance quality of life for Tampa Bay area residents;
- To stay competitive, the Rays need the higher
revenues that a modern, retractable roof stadium with lots of amenities
can generate. It’s not a question of “if” the Rays need a new stadium, it’s “when” and “how.”;
- Such a stadium would probably cost at least $550 million;
- Tropicana Field is “nearing the end of its economically useful life,” and renovation would be too costly;
- To draw more fan and corporate
support, a new stadium should be closer to the Tampa Bay area’s
demographic and business centers. The Pinellas Gateway, downtown Tampa
and west Tampa meet that criteria, but downtown St. Petersburg does not.
I don’t take issue with any of these except the assumptions regarding the team’s economic impact on the community. The report says the Rays pump $200 million into the local economy. As economists like J.C. Bradbury and others have repeatedly shown, however, such estimates are typically overblown, and often comically so.
I think the Rays need a new ballpark because, generally speaking, their current one is a total drag. But let’s make a deal: unlike we did with the other two dozen or so new ballparks that got built over the past 20 years, why don’t we spend some time making sure that in this case the taxpayers aren’t royally boned and the billionaires that run baseball aren’t given yet another gratuitous bit of corporate welfare.
The linked story in the St. Petersburg Times provides a good start in the form of a chart which provides some critical context to the committee’s findings. Here’s hoping it doesn’t stop there, and that the reporters who spend so much time complaining about how steroid users have stolen from history spend at least a little bit of time preventing baseball owners and allied business interests from stealing from the public.
And if the people of St. Petereburg do balk? Hey, it’s not like the Rays don’t have options.
- Mike Trout hit his 100th career home run to become the youngest member of the 100 HR/100 SB club 7
- Make that two: Alex Rodriguez hits second homer of the night, giving him 658 for his career 24
- Alex Rodriguez hit his 657th career home run 43
- Let’s all just stare at Kris Bryant’s numbers for a while 27
- And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights 39
- The wait is over: The Cubs are calling up top prospect Kris Bryant on Friday 99
- Carlos Gomez headed to disabled list with hamstring injury 11
- The Commissioner’s Office thinks that the Angels could indeed go after Josh Hamilton under his contract 153
- The Commissioner’s Office thinks that the Angels could indeed go after Josh Hamilton under his contract (153)
- “Why Ted Cruz is like the Atlanta Braves” (150)
- “We no longer need the terrorists. We’re now so good at terrorizing ourselves.” (143)
- Another argument in favor of making the DH universal (126)
- When it comes to Josh Hamilton, Arte Moreno is a craven opportunist, not a “smart businessman” (116)