Thursday, March 27, 2014

Maybe Rowdies Complaints Part of Grander Plan for State Subsidies?

Earlier this week, it was reported the Rowdies sent a nastygram to St. Petersburg, basically demanding better upkeep of Al Lang Field.  Reasonable, right?

Except, the letter came with a not-so-subtle reminder that the team could always leave town if the stadium situation isn't improved.  At first blush, it appeared the non-threat threat was aimed getting St. Pete to shape up.

But following Monday's drama in the Florida Senate over stadium subsidies, it seems more clear the threat was instead aimed at leveraging the Rowdies a piece of state subsidies, currently available only to teams from the "major" sports leagues:
Sen. Wilton Simpson brought up an amendment to the amendment — one that would add the North American Soccer League (the league that includes the Rowdies soccer club that plays in St. Petersburg) to the pool of potential beneficiaries eligible for state funding.  

Sen. Latvala expressed his opposition to the amendment stating that he had not been given sufficient time to properly look it over. He also stated that he was unsure as to what the North American Soccer League was and whether it is classified as a “major league sports league.” Sen. Latvala voiced his opposition and encouraged the committee to vote against the amendment.

Following a vote, the amendment failed.
According to Saint Petersblog, the fight has roots in a Latvala grudge with Sen. Jeff Brandes and his ally, former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker, who also works for Rowdies owner Bill Edwards.  But it seems logical the Rowdies are making the case their stadium needs capital investment.

While the legislative fight may ultimately work itself out before the end of the session, lawmakers should still ask tough questions, like, could an NASL soccer team ever create millions of dollars in new economy?

Heck, even MLS teams have trouble making that claim with a straight face.


  1. Once again I ask, just as I did with the Braves Stadium giveaway, where are the erstwhile Tea Partiers, with their powdered wigs and Gadsen flags, while taxpayer money is simply handed away in Tallahassee?

    Or is it just things our black president does that gets them all riled up?

    1. I ask the same question about the war protesters that disappeared in 2009. I'm also confused by people who are upset about stadiums who seem unconcerned about the state wasting a half billion on a company like Solyndra.

      If I had to guess people don't really mind hypocrisy as long as it fits their political or general interest.

  2. I'm a tea party/repub (who makes middle class money, but hates government handouts except when people really need them) who is fuming mad over the fact that taxpayer money is given to these scumbag owners. I don't know how they sleep at night. I've never understood greed. I've always been appreciative for what I have and I am happy with the things that I have.

    1. If you were as rich as they are, you'd understand greed.

    2. You don't get rich handing out free money!

  3. "Tea party"? lol

    "Do you see this Tea Party stuff, man? Them people look broke their damn self. Are
    They serious?

    [Verse 3:]
    People stressing, here's the question
    How they get people drinking tea in a recession
    It's deception how absurd is this
    How are so many poor people conservative"