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Why does everyone want to give millions to billionaires?

Sep 26, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Wrigley Field

You know where I stand on the issue of public funding for ballparks. If not: I think it’s only slightly preferable to a swift kick to the groin. Not a fan.

But what if, instead of it being a taxpayer thing, it was a matter of private investment? That’s Phil Rosenthal’s plan for Wrigley Field: let the public buy shares in the ballpark and use that money for the $200-300 million in renovations the joint needs.

It’s one of those ideas that sound kind of neat when you first hear it, but that doesn’t hold up under even moderate scrutiny.  The moderate scrutiny comes from Ballpark Digest, which deconstructs Rogers’ proposal.  He explains why it wouldn’t work within baseball’s current system — neither MLB nor the Cubs have any desire to offer the kind of transparency required of such a deal — and while it wouldn’t work structurally.  Mostly because it would require way too many investors offering way too much money per share to both finance the thing and to keep anyone from gaining a controlling interest over the ballpark.

Nice idea, I guess. But I don’t know why so many people spend so much of their time trying to think of ways to help billionaires with their million-dollar problems.

  1. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    agree with everything in the article.

    • 78mu - Sep 26, 2011 at 4:17 PM

      How can you agree with it? We have to be creative to give the Cubs another $200 million.

      Somewhere out there is a 15 or 16 year old Soriano wannabe hoping someday he will get a ridiculous contract from the Cubs. Somethings got to be done to help the Cubs think they are that one player away from a WS.

      After all,If the Cubs sign the Sorianos, Zambranos, Fukudomes and Bradleys then your team won’t.

  2. heynerdlinger - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    It’s amazing that private investment requires more transparency than public financing.

  3. dailyrev - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Well, when you think about it, the agony of a kick to the nuts subsides after 5-10 minutes or so*; but the pain of paying taxes to fund the egos of billionaires lasts much longer.

    *BTW, guys: I learned this many years ago in a judo class: should you receive trauma in the place-that-must-not-be-named, and you’re still conscious and capable of minimal movement, tap your heels against the ground/floor. It doesn’t stop the pain but definitely moderates it by sending an impulse along an acupuncture meridian. And yes, I had a couple of chances to “test” this treatment since I learned it, and it works pretty much as advertised: it helps enough that you don’t feel that agony-level of someone’s-pulling-my-bowels-out-thru-my-navel. And it helps quicken the return to normalcy.

    • Alex K - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      That is probably the best information/advice I will get this week.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

        I’d agree if I hadn’t heard Bel Biv DeVoe’s Poison over the weekend. Still can’t top “never trust a big butt and a smile”

      • Alex K - Sep 26, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        That is sound advice. But for my life situation (happily married with small child) how to lessen the pain from a nut shot seems more useful.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    You should correct this article. Is should say …”hundreds of millions to billionaires.”

    In the words of Montgomery Burns: Excellent.

  5. jackkoho - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    As sick as this idea makes me I feel like you could find 18,000 yuppies on the near north side (read: suckers) who would want to own shares of wrigley. The same people that bought the authentic bricks from the ballpark, etc.

    • jackkoho - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      I’m pretty sure those bricks costs around a hundred bucks a piece, btw.

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