The Business of Baseball, not in the public interest.
Let me preface this piece by saying I enjoy going to McCoy Stadium to watch Pawsox Triple-A baseball. Yet, public investment into private business is fraught with risk. This is compounded by the incestuous nature of Rhode Island’s political machine.
To engage in such an investment requires transparency, openness, and an informed, involved public. Something our history says we haven’t always practiced.
It would be a shame if the Pawsox left Pawtucket. Forty years of history, memories of so many rising stars refining their skills, and the untold numbers of people entertained there over the years would be a tragic loss.
But baseball, despite the moniker of our national game, is a business. If this were a purely nostalgic emotional choice, the new owners would look for the best place to invest in a new stadium in Pawtucket. Instead, they are holding out the team as a prize to be bid on. They look to the state and the taxpayers to soften the risk.
Government is not equipped or designed for such investment.
There used to be a team called the Brooklyn Dodgers, under baseball’s expansion they moved to LA and are now the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Washington Senators split into two new franchises; the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers.
No doubt the fans of the original teams mourned the change, but the teams did not ransom themselves to the highest government bidder. The team owners took the risk and reaped the benefit.
This concept of government/private partnerships is complicated. The potential for corruption high. The risk to taxpayers serious. Baseball, while still a favorite sport, is not THE most popular sport. To put public dollars into private business was not part of the purpose of government. The government should ensure business practice is safe, legal, and ethical. Otherwise, it should stay out of the way.
I’ll miss Benny’s too, but tax dollars cannot be used to shift the tides of an ever-changing business world. Baseball and Benny’s are businesses, let the market make the choices.
Crying over a machine: the end of an Era 1997-2017
I realize most people may have missed this, but one shining example of what used to be the proud American space program died the other day.
The Cassini-Huygens Saturn orbiter died. Running out of fuel twenty years after its launch and thirteen years after it orbited Saturn, the probe sent the last of its millions of transmissions then burned up in the Saturnian atmosphere.
Many of the project scientists and engineers cried. I wonder if they were crying over the demise of the machine, or the knowledge that we’ve seemingly abandoned such efforts?
We have a country fixated on what kind of dresses the First Lady wears to view natural disasters, a President who is more concerned about comments by a sportscaster then dealing with major issues, and a culture that knows more about some B level star dancing with some relic from an old TV show than monumental accomplishments like Cassini-Huygens.
I recall watching every single launch of manned spacecraft in the 1960s and 1970s. I remember being glued to the TV when Neil Armstrong said his first words from the moon. Things that made Americans proud.
I wonder, given the state of our disregard for the value of science, if we’ll ever strive to achieve such goals again.