Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"This is the Most Asinine Idea I Have Ever Heard"

Entertaining read in today's Ocala Star-Banner, where at least one irate Ocala resident echoed my skepticism about building a $45 million stadium for the Yankees' Florida State League team:
"This is the most asinine idea I have ever heard," said Dr. R. Asokan, who has been a doctor in Ocala for 33 years. "The New York Yankees don't make money."

He said New York City gives the Yankees the money, and that city sold bonds.

Asokan suggested the council read "Field of Schemes" by Neil deMause and "Free Lunch" by David Kay Johnson.

"If the Steinbrenner family feels so charitable, maybe they should come and build the stadium for us," Asokan said. "I don't think this is a good idea to build a stadium here, and what it's going to do is cost money forever."
For what its worth, I imagine the Ocala Yankees would draw better than the Tampa Yankees (if the Florida State League would even OK the deal).  But few communities ever ask the honest question, "at what cost?"  The deal would require citizens across Marion County to pay an extra half-cent on everything they buy over the next five years (if the county and voters approved it).

There's almost certainly no way the number of jobs and residual business a new stadium would drum up would be worth the $45 million the county would actually have to pay...but how can you put a price tag on community pride and "dreams?"
"This is a referendum on us more than it is the Yankees," Councilman Daniel Owen said.

"Are we willing to dream, to understand what those costs are? The referendum will allow the opportunity for these conversations to take place. Once you say ‘No,' you are done."

The community benefits include allowing the city to conduct 20 events at the stadium, the Yankees will promote the city, the Yankees will provide four charity events a year and four Yankee players will be available for annual public appearance.
It's not clear if the four public appearances each year would be minor-leaguers or New York Yankees players, who will continue to train each spring in Tampa.

Next up for the proposal will be a city council vote on Nov. 5.  If the agreement is approved, it will next go to the county commission, then the voters in the spring.  And at some point, the FSL would need to approve it too.

No comments:

Post a Comment