...busting up my brains for the words

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stadium to be forced upon the taxpayers

A serious blow to democracy was dealt to Minnesotans yesterday. Our right to a referendum on the Minnesota Twins stadium was denied so that the powers that be in this county of Hennepin can take our money and use it as welfare for the millionaire ballplayers. As this article in the StarTribune reports;

Meanwhile, a recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found strong public opposition to the stadium tax, which is estimated to collect $1.1 billion over 30 years, and stronger support for a referendum.

Anyone who has had a pulse in the Twin Cities for the past, oh six years or so, will be aware that every year they ask us if we want to buy the millionaires their stadium and we keep saying no. Then they come back to us a year later and say, "Well, we know you said no before, but what do you really think?" After all, in their supreme wisdom, they know that we really, really need to suck up to their demands to keep the Twins.

I like baseball, too. In fact, baseball is the only sport I can be interested in. I'm going to the St. Paul Saints home opener this Friday. I love the Saints even though it is inferior baseball. That's because I was driven away by Major League Baseball and offered nowhere else to enjoy the game. In other words, buying a stadium for the Twins won't save the Twins. They're already lost.

It became clear to me that the Twins and MLB didn't give a hang about the fans back in 1994 when they went on strike because the "didn't make enough money." Major League Baseball is profoundly sick and, contrary to deserving a stadium bought and paid for in large part by the taxpayers, should be shut down and revamped.

  • The fans already spend millions of dollars on the Twins. We buy tickets to their games. We buy hot dogs and 3.2 beer at the games. The StarTribune sells newspapers reporting on the games. WCCO-am radio sells advertising for the play-by-play. Television sells advertising. Somehow, this is not enough. They have to force a tax upon us against our wishes to make us pay for a large part of their millionaire stadium.
  • Athletes are far, far over-rated in our society. This worship of athletes is so pervasive they dominate our news. Their images are plastered on posters and TV spots everywhere. All this just because they can throw and catch a ball? Sports are a terrific outlet for society, but enough is enough. Just because they are seen as heroes is no reason I should be forced to buy their stadium.
  • Athletes are bums. Despite this overwhelming adulation for these men, they fail us daily. The historical record of baseball achievements are sullied by the likes of these modern day "heroes" and their usage of steroids. Apparently being larger than life is not enough for these megalomaniacs. They have to take muscle-enhancing drugs to make them even bigger. And when they're not taking drugs, they're cheating on their wives or bullying people, committing crimes. In other words, baseball players are human just like the rest of us. Let them buy their own home just like the rest of us.
Far from favoring a tax on the new stadium, I would favor a four year moratorium on major league pro ball. Baseball is sick with its out of control greed and blackmail of its fan base. In 1994 baseball players showed us that they can and will shut down baseball if they don't get their way. So they started this. The players proved to us fans that the world will not end when baseball ends. So let's practice that as a remedy for baseball. No stadium paid for by the taxpayers. Salary caps. Enforced drug testing. Stadiums bought and paid for by owners and players.

If these steps are taken I know the Twins and Major League Baseball would win me, for one, back to the game. And I believe the fans would love baseball all the more. Game attendance would skyrocket and health would be brought back to the game.

Q: But what would the players do during a four year moratorium?

A: They could go out into the real world like the rest of us and get a job.


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