The governor of Rhode Island talked a lot about plans for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence yesterday, but whether she actually said anything is a matter of opinion:
“I think the right way to think about it is: What’s the economic value to the state?” [Gov. Gina] Raimondo said at a news conference promoting a jobs-creation bill introduced by state Rep. K. Joseph Shekarchi. “And whatever that is, that’s what we can afford, but right now, the proposal that they made, the taxpayer has to come up with all the money and we don’t share in any of the profit or the revenue, and that’s just not fair.”
Raimondo said she doesn’t know if the state can reach a decision by the end of this legislative session, the deadline the team’s owners have proposed. But she said negotiations have been “constructive,” and the owners have been “open-minded … taking our suggestions.”
“If there’s a good deal here for the people of Rhode Island, then I’m going to find that deal and do it,” Raimondo said. “I think the right answer is: Let’s calm down, be rational and see if there’s a deal to be had. And if there’s not, and if they don’t want to operate on our terms, then fine, then we’ll kill the deal, but we’re not quite ready to do that.”
So she’s open to a deal, but only the right deal, and isn’t afraid to walk away from a deal if it’s a bad deal, but she’s not saying that yet. That’s all perfectly reasonable, but doesn’t say much about what she’d consider a good deal, except it’s not what the PawSox’ new owners first proposed, which, well, yeah.
In other news, the Rhode Island state house of representatives has hired economist Andrew Zimbalist to consult on the proposed stadium, because he does that stuff. (Though sadly, he doesn’t include it as a skill on his LinkedIn profile.) And if you’re interested, here’s a long discussion courtesy of WPRI on whether attendance at the PawSox’ current McCoy Stadium home is really disappointing. (Spoiler: Maybe a little, but it’s still pretty good.)