…or are you just glad to see me?

Man, I want a local politician in my pocket. I mean, they’re just so handy. Let’s say you’re the owner of a major-league baseball team – or if major-league is too rich for your blood, lets say the Kansas City Royals. With your Pocket Pol Pal, you can get on the good side of fans by committing not to leave town – and still rest easy that someone will be there to rattle the move threat saber on your behalf.

The latest to carry out this tradition: Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields, who told the K.C. Star on Monday that Kansas City could lose the Royals or Chiefs to another city if it doesn’t upgrade or replace the teams’ current stadiums, as required in their leases. And though both Chiefs and Royals execs have insisted that they plan to remain in town regardless, Shields added that “I think if there is a move it is more of a distance than” across the river in Kansas. Number of calls that Star reporters placed to the local sports franchises to see if they would stand behind Shields’ threats: zero.

One comment on “…or are you just glad to see me?

  1. While most of these issues are the fault of the teams, this is a case where Jackson County has ignored routine maintenance on the HST facilities for years. And the contracts with the teams clearly spell out responsibility. It would be easy to go back 35 years and say the contracts were wrong to begin with, but that doesn’t change the situation today. The Chiefs will eventually get their “New Arrowhead”, and I fully expect the citizens of Kansas City (likely KCMO) to pay for most of it. Lamar Hunt and his son Clark have a proven track record of being exceedingly tight with a buck. As for David Glass and the Royals, at this point, I’m guessing most Royals fans are in a quandry: which is better a team destined to finish last every year or no team at all. Twenty years out of the playoffs and no realistic hope moving forward has made the Royals a cruel joke for baseball fans. Glass even killed talk of a new downtown stadium earlier this year, likely because of the obligations it would’ve placed on him with regards to keeping the team in KC and actually pumping resources into the franchise.

    Getting back to the Hunts, they pretty much unsuccessfully tried to send a message last December 9th when they put the MLS Wizards up for sale with the intention of showing that they were willing to leave the market with the insinuation that the Chiefs could be next. The Wizards move appears to have backfired as an announcement of new local ownership and a soccer stadium/youth complex/retail development in Olathe/Lenexa KS is imminent. The simple way out at this point is for Jackson County to fulfill it’s maintenance obligations. The Chiefs and Royals are committed, I believe for at least another 5 years if that is done. In the end, look for a New Arrowhead to be built at HST with a large chunk being paid for by the public. The Royals are harder to predict, but if the new Sprint Center downtown is a success, I expect a new push for a downtown MLB stadium.