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Stephen Strasburg: Public Administration Scholar

Jan 18, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT


Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has a story up today about Stephen Strasburg and his rehab. Strasburg is working out, writing in his journal, staying positive and … going to college:

He’s resisted video games. In an effort to work toward a degree, he took two public administration classes at San Diego State. SDSU, PA 460 and PA 497, a thesis course. He wrote his thesis on the effect new stadiums have on neighborhoods, focusing his research on Nationals Park.

I’d like to see that paper. Mostly because the bulk of the scholarship already done on this topic has concluded that ballpark development has very little if any economic impact on surrounding neighborhoods, the claims of politicians and team owners to the contrary notwithstanding.

So: did Strasburg break new academic ground on this topic and conclude that ballparks are broadly beneficial economic engines … or did he write a paper that is likely to totally tick off the people who sign his paycheck by concluding that publicly funded stadiums are nothing more than a boon to the rich, sold to taxpayers under false pretenses?

Inquiring minds want to know!

  1. phantomspaceman - Jan 18, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    I’d guess he did neither of those things and more or less just regurgitated the positive “facts” that are already out there.

  2. Old Gator - Jan 18, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    That’s great. So when, after his fifth operation, Johnny Damon can throw a pebble further than he can, he can star in the American remake of Kurosawa’s Ikiru. Movies about bureaucrats should be all the rage by then.

  3. okobojicat - Jan 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Actually, Craig, you’re dead wrong in saying that “bulk of the scholarship already done on this topic has concluded that ballpark development has very little if any economic impact on surrounding neighborhoods, the claims of politicians and team owners to the contrary notwithstanding.”

    The conclusion of most of the papers is that the stadium does have a positive impact in terms of the amount of income spent in the region. In particular, the area around Nationals Park was a sh*&hole. Now, its slightly less of one, but it is starting to get developed.

    However, most of the papers do conclude that while development happens, it in no way offsets the millions of dollars that the city invested in the project. Its a really reallly really bad investment for the city. The money could’ve been spent on much better ways. Creating schools, creating tax free zones to lure in businesses which then could spawn additional business, or simply as tax breaks to constituents.

    Basically, the conclusion of most of the research is that while Stadiums and teams do bring economic benefit, it doesn’t outweigh the costs the city must put in. If a Stadium were almost entirely financed by the owners (say, a stadium like AT&T in San Fran) then the economic benefits to that region are huge.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      Well, I suppose I should have said “net economic benefit” then.

      • Old Gator - Jan 18, 2011 at 1:43 PM

        Probably not a good idea either, Craig, because then okobojicat would just subject you to a long lecture about data on the collapsing fish populations off the Grand Banks.

      • larryhockett - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        Heaven forbid, Old Gator, that anyone here be subjected to a long lecture about obsure topics, eh?

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM

        The disappearance of the Cod stock off the Grand Banks is a serious topic in Newfoundland. On the other hand, I can’t think of a single major league baseball player from Newfoundland.

      • Old Gator - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        PC: if I were Canadian, I would be much more concerned about the loss of fur among the beaver population, something which has become progressively more fashionable in the face of global warming. Look at these statistics: over the past 50 years the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. And experts think the trend is accelerating: the 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1990. Scientists say that unless we curb global warming emissions, average U.S. temperatures could be 3 to 9 degrees higher by the end of the century. Meanwhile, the North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6–12 million. This population decline is due to extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume. And to make matters worse, fossil remains of beavers are found in the peat and other superficial deposits of Britain and the continent of Europe; while in the Pleistocene formations of Britain and Siberia, occur remains of a giant extinct beaver, Trogontherium cuvieri, representing a genus by itself. Imagine what kind of a party you could have with giant beaver – and yet these beavers vanished coterminally with the recession of the last major continental ice sheets, demonstrating that global warming and beaver defenestration are more than mere San Fernando Valley trends and fads, but are actually co-dependent. And you worry about your cod? First things first.

        larryhockett: eh? What was that?

      • larryhockett - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM
      • proudlycanadian - Jan 18, 2011 at 4:24 PM

        The beaver population is expanding into urban areas of Canada, although urban dwellers are sometimes ignorant of their presence. I remember several years ago that my daughter’s grade 2 teacher thought that a beaver lodge was a beaver dam, but what do maiden school teachers know? As a true Canadian, even at my advanced age, I am still trying to trap a wily beaver even if it knows nothing about baseball.

    • larryhockett - Jan 18, 2011 at 3:12 PM

      What I meant to say was:


      • Old Gator - Jan 18, 2011 at 11:07 PM

        I understand. Beaver isn’t for everyone.

  4. BC - Jan 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Well, what the heck. It’s more intellectually stimulating than watching Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Angry Christian Network or The Weather Channel (save for Storm Stories – gotta love me some F4’s).

  5. sportsdrenched - Jan 18, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Just to assure you there is no “group think” going on here:

    I liked the first part of the story. About a professional athlete using his down time to further his education. But you then used this story as an excuse to take another shot at publicly funded ball parks. Which I agree that there is no “net economic benefit”. However, maybe you could have discussed what Strasburg might do with such a degree after his playing days are over. Because that day might be closer than we thought a year ago.

    Also, Is this is Graduate or Under-Gradaute he’s working on.

    • Reflex - Jan 18, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      Cept for those of us who read up on his throwing motion. We have been pretty sure that its not fated to be a long career all along. 😉

      And the stadium issue is frustrating. Yes, SafeCo Field has benefitted the neighborhood around it. But man you could have rebuilt half of downtown Seattle with that money instead and benefitted a whole lot more people than just the SoDo area.

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