D-Backs: Yeah, yeah, new stadium management contract, just give us our $187m, okay?

The art and craft of writing headlines is a tricky one: Do it well, and you have something that is both enlightening and intriguing at a glance, long enough to tell the meat of the story while short enough to fit on social media, not to mention in print if your news outlet does that as well. Do it poorly, and you just end up confusing readers, or even misleading them entirely.

Which brings us to this, from yesterday’s Arizona Republic:

Could a lucrative contract keep Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field?

My first thought: Well, sure! Give the D-Backs a rich enough deal, and they’d probably agree to play games in the Chase Field swimming pool.

But by “lucrative contract,” it turns out, the Republic headline writers don’t mean with the team. Rather, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors was set to discuss a new stadium management contract yesterday, to determine who will replace SMG in running non-baseball events. The D-Backs owners are in the midst of a lawsuit trying to get the county to pay $187 million for a bunch of upgrades they say the stadium needs (and which the county says the team should pay for if they want them, since it’s not the county’s job according to the lease); part of the lawsuit gripes about how the stadium “isn’t being utilized anywhere near its potential” for non-baseball events, but now a team rep is saying that who the county picks to run the place isn’t going to stop the lawsuit, because duh:

“It’s not going to affect the lawsuit,” [Diamondbacks attorney] Leo Beus told The Arizona Republic. “… At this stage, we just need the ability to look elsewhere.”…

Beus said whoever wins the new contract would not reassure the team. Team officials do not believe any contractor can generate enough money from events to fill the financial gap between the stadium’s reserves and the anticipated cost of repairs.

In other words, just adding a few more concerts isn’t going to stop the D-Backs owners from suing for $187 million, which makes total sense if they think they have a shot at winning. Beus added that they’re only suing for “the ability to talk to other alternatives so we don’t risk our franchise altogether when they don’t do the capital repairs they’re required to do,” which is pretty hilarious for a franchise worth an estimated $1.15 billion and that had an estimated $47.2 million in profits last year, but nobody ever said that lawyers had to be 100% honest.

Oh, and as for that county meeting, they ended up sending both bidders back to the drawing board and reopening the bids, because they weren’t happy with the offers. Which isn’t all that likely to do much better given the limited number of venue managers out there and the limited amount of money you can make staging concerts at a baseball stadium, but hey, worth a shot.


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