Toronto councillor says he’s sure Jays stadium plan is good, whatever it is

The Toronto Blue Jays stadium plan is still, as one columnist called it, “a trial balloon wrapped in a beta test,” with few real details beyond that it would require the demolition of SkyDome, cost “multibillion” dollars, and be “privately funded.” But that hasn’t stopped Toronto city councillor Joe Cressy from endorsing the plan sight unseen:

“The clear understanding from the earliest conversations was that [public funding] was not a consideration here,” Mr. Cressy said. “I don’t see it as an inherently politically contentious subject.”

The problem, of course, is that “no public stadium funding” is a claim that’s gone along with everything from a $350 million gift of public land to the most expensive baseball stadium subsidy of all time. And also that there can be reasons for a development deal to be contentious even if it doesn’t require public money. (Is what the Jays owners want really the best use of the stadium site?) It’s possible Cressy knows more than he’s letting on — the Jays stadium talks have apparently been going on in secret for years — but it’s also possible he’s just trying to spin the story as pay no attention to the financial details behind the curtain, in which case we definitely should be paying more attention to the financial details.

Meanwhile, even the hint of a new Blue Jays stadium has some people fantasizing about how great it would be if Toronto’s future ballpark could be modeled after another stadium that hasn’t actually been built yet:

That there is a Photoshop, all right! It also requires putting the new stadium on the site of the old stadium, which would defeat the purpose of moving it to the south to make way for new residential and office towers, but would be necessary to leave room for the retractable roof to retract, as can be seen in this Hokkaido rendering:

That’s an important question, though: Would a new Jays stadium have a roof? If so, it would be hard to have natural grass there, unless the roof fully retracts as in the above image, in which case there’s not much room on the site for a stadium plus additional buildings. (There’s a major highway not far south of the current stadium, which is the only direction it could expand in.) If not, it’s gonna be cold in April, which is the whole reason SkyDome was built as a dome. This could get contentious!

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Friday roundup: Raiders stadium runs short of tax dollars, Falcons owner makes film about how great Megatron’s Butthole is, and a Ricketts cries poor (again)

Well, that was certainly something to wake up to on a post-Thanksgiving Friday morning. Not sure how many U.S. readers are checking the internet today, but if that’s you and you’re looking for some non-Canadian stadium and arena news for your troubles, we have that too:

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Report: Toronto’s SkyDome marked for death, redevelopment using public land

Right, so three days ago in a comment thread about whether major stadium and arena construction is likely to slow down in coming years (because of Covid and shifting political winds), FoS reader Aqib wrote,

By my count there are 2 MLB teams (Oakland and Tampa) that are in the market for new stadiums

and I replied,

the Diamondbacks have already said they’re considering a new stadium, the Blue Jays and White Sox have at least been kicking tires, and teams like the Indians and Orioles have talked about significant renovations

and they replied,

Blue Jays? All I heard was that they were looking at refurbishing the stadium to make it a pure baseball park, but that was 5 years ago. Is there anything new?

and I replied,

Nothing lately — that was the tire-kicking I referred to. But you don’t put Chekhov’s gun on the mantel unless you’re going to use it eventually.

By “eventually” I didn’t actually mean “by the end of this week,” but here we are:

The owner of the Toronto Blue Jays wants to demolish the Rogers Centre and construct a new stadium as part of a downtown Toronto redevelopment, according to sources involved in the project…

Rogers Communications Inc. and the real estate arm of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. are working with city, provincial and federal government officials on a plan that would effectively cut the Rogers Centre in half.

The partners would build a new, baseball-focused stadium on the foundations of the southern end of the current facility and adjacent parking lots. The northern portion of the 12.7-acre site would be turned into residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space.

Rogers is also considering building a new stadium on a lakefront site if plans for the Rogers Centre fall through.

The Globe & Mail reports that the project would cost “multibillion” dollars, and would be “privately funded” (by Blue Jays owners Rogers Communications) and developers Brookfield, but “needs numerous government approvals to move forward.” It also would use federally owned land, which raises all sorts of questions about how much the team and developers would pay for this valuable property, and whether the development would pay property taxes (more common for private developments on public land in Canada than in the U.S., but still not a given), and generally sets up the potential for a Canadian version of Anaheim’s “We’re getting market value for our stadium land but also not really” scenario.

The report also says that lobbying records show the Jays and Toronto officials have been discussing this plan for two years, that rebuilding the stadium “is expected to play out over five to eight years,” and that “it is not clear where the team would play if its Toronto stadium is being torn down and rebuilt.”

SkyDome — now the Rogers Centre officially, but still once and always SkyDome — was opened 31 years ago (by Alan Thicke, for some reason), and as noted the Jays have made faint noises about leaving for a new stadium before, so this is slightly less shocking than when the Atlanta Braves owners announced they were leaving their then-17-year-old stadium to move to suburban Cobb County or the Texas Rangers owners announced they would be moving across the street from their only marginally older stadium to one that was the same only with air conditioning. But still pretty shocking! There are, as noted, still a whole lot of unknowns about this one, so I think we can say we’re going to spend much of 2021 discussing all its ramifications. And if we end up spending 2022 on the Chicago White Sox, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Friday roundup: Jacksonville council holds screaming match about Jaguars subsidy, Braves to charge county for fixing anything that wouldn’t fall out of stadium if you turned it over, plus Texas cricket wars!

I admit, there are some Fridays where I wake up and realize I have to do a news roundup and it just feels like a chore after a long week, and, reader, this was one of those Fridays. But then I looked in my inbox and there was a new Ruthie Baron “This Week In Scams” post for the first time in months, and now I am re-energized for the day ahead! Also despondent about how the fossil fuel industry is trying to catfish us all into thinking global warming isn’t real, but that’s the complex mix of emotions I have come to rely on “This Week In Scams” for.

And speaking of complex mixes of emotions, let’s get to this week’s remaining sports stadium and arena news:

  • Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on complaints that Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s $200 million development subsidy deal is being rushed through the city council: “What does that mean, it’s rushed? What does that mean? We are following the process we follow as a city. The administration has put forth legislation that includes the development of Lot J. The City Council will take their time and do their work. And then they’ll ultimately have to press a green button or a red button — a yes or a no.” Now I really want to know if the Jacksonville city council actually votes by pushing a green or red button, and if so what they do if a city councilmember has red-green color blindness, and oh hey, what happened at yesterday’s council hearing? “Finger-pointing, name-calling and what some members say was a big embarrassment for government”? Excellent, keep up the good work.
  • The Atlanta Braves owners have tapped their first $800,000 from their $70 million stadium repair fund, half of which is to be paid for by Cobb County, to pay for … okay, this Marietta Daily Journal article doesn’t say much about what it will pay for, except that one item is a new fence, and there was dispute over whether a fence counted as a repair (which the fund can be used for) or an improvement (which the team is supposed to cover). It also notes: “Mike Plant, president & CEO of Braves Development Company, described capital maintenance costs in 2013 by using the example of taking a building and turning it upside down. The items that would fall out of the building represent general maintenance, which is the responsibility of the Braves, while the items that do not fall out, such as pipes, elevators and concrete, fall under capital maintenance.” This raises all kinds of questions: Would elevators really not fall out of a stadium if you turned it upside down? What if furniture, for example, fell off the floor but landed on an interior ceiling? Would you have to shake the stadium first to see what was loose and just stuck on something? So many questions.
  • The Grand Prairie city council has approved spending $1.5 million to turn the defunct Texas AirHogs baseball stadium into a pro cricket stadium, which the Dallas Morning News reports “could cement North Texas as a top U.S. market for professional cricket.” (If this sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of nearby Allen, Texas, which thought about building a cricket stadium a couple of years ago but then thought better of it.) I went to a pro cricket match in the U.S. once, years ago, and there were maybe 100 people in the stands, and later the league apparently folded when none of the players showed up for a game, but surely this will go much better than that.
  • Angel City F.C. has announced it will be playing games at Banc of California Stadium, which made me look up first what league Angel City F.C. is in (an expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League) and then what stadium named itself after Banc of California (the Los Angeles F.C. stadium that opened in 2018, I’m pretty sure at no public expense but you never know for sure with these things, and which is not supposed to be called Banc of California Stadium anymore since Banc of California bailed on its naming-rights contract in June) and then why Banc of California insists on spelling “Banc” that way (unclear, but if it was an attempt to put a clean new rebranding on the bank after its creation in a 2013 merger, that maybe didn’t go so well). So now, burdened with this knowledge, I feel obligated to share it — if nothing else, I suppose, it’s a nice little microcosm of life in the early Anthropocene, which may be of interest to future scholars if the cockroaches and microalgae can figure out how to read blogs.
  • The Richmond Times-Dispatch says that even if the Richmond Flying Squirrels get eliminated in baseball’s current round of minor-league defenestration, “Major League Baseball’s risk is our gain” if the city builds a new stadium that … something about “a multiuse strategy”? The editorial seems to come down to “Okay, the team may get vaporized, but we still want a new stadium, so full speed ahead!”, which is refreshing honesty, at least, maybe?
  • When I noted yesterday that the USL hands out new soccer franchises like candy, I neglected to mention that a lot of that candy quickly melts on the dashboard and disappears, so thanks to Tim Sullivan of the Louisville Courier Journal for recounting all the USL franchises that have folded over the years.
  • Six East Coast Hockey League teams are choosing to sit out the current season, and that’s bad news for Reading, home of the Reading Royals, according to Reading Downtown Improvement District chief Chuck Broad, who tells WFMZ-TV, “There is lots of spin-off, economic development, from a hockey game for restaurants and other businesses.” Yeah, probably not, and especially not during a time when hardly anyone would be eating at restaurants anyway because they’re germ-filled death traps, but why not give the local development director a platform to insist otherwise, he seems like a nice guy, right?
  • In related news, the mayor of Henderson, Nevada, says the new Henderson Silver Knights arena she’s helping build with at least $30 million in tax money is “a gamechanger” for downtown Henderson because “it’s nice to have locations where events can happen in our community.” This after she wrote a column for the Las Vegas Sun saying how great it will be for locals to be able to “attend a variety of events that create the vibrancy for which our city is known” — a vibrancy that apparently Henderson was able to pull off despite not having any locations where events can happen, because that’s just the kind of place Henderson is.
  • In also related news, the vice president of sales and marketing at New Beginnings Window and Door says that the Hudson Valley Renegades becoming a New York Yankees farm team could be great for his business (which, again, is selling windows and doors) because “the eyeballs are going to be there” for advertising his windows and doors to people driving up from New York City who might want to pick up some windows and doors to take home with them, okay, I have no idea what he’s talking about, seriously, can’t anybody at any remaining extant newspapers ask a followup question?
  • And in all-too-related news, here’s an entire WTSP article about the new hotel Tampa will have ready for February’s Super Bowl that never even mentions the possibility that nobody will be able to stay in hotels for the Super Bowl because Covid is rampaging across the state. Journalism had a good run.
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Friday roundup: Charlotte approves $35m in soccer subsidies, NYC spends $5m on stadium upgrades for team that may disappear, NBA joins NFL in welcoming fans back to giant virus stew

Even after dispensing with that crazy San Jose Sharks move threat story, there’s a ton of leftover news this week. So put down that amazing Defector article about how the British have fetishized the Magna Carta as a declaration of citizen rights when it’s really just about how the king can’t unreasonably tax 25 barons, and let’s get right to it:

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KC Star building floated as Royals stadium site despite being way too small and there being no money and and and

The Kansas City Star, which is owned by the McClatchy Company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and was subsequently sold to a hedge fund, announced this week that it would be taking advantage of the bankruptcy filing to break its lease on its downtown headquarters and find a new home, while also moving its printing plant to Des Moines, which will make its reporting less timely because it will need to be printed in time to drive the actual papers down from friggin’ Iowa.

You may have a lot of questions about this, but if you are Kansas City radio station KCUR, the biggest one is: Is there a way that this news can be turned into a new stadium for the Kansas City Royals?

Rosana Privitera Biondo, a principal of Ambassador Hospitality [which has been the Star’s landlord since buying the building from the paper in 2017] … threw out one other intriguing use for the building, or rather for the land on which the building sits, although she refused to elaborate.

“It could be the possible new Royals stadium – tear down the building, buy our property, build across the highway,” she said. “Then we have the location for the Crossroads downtown, the walking paths that everybody in Kansas City says they want, and it would connect the Crossroads and the Power & Light [District] with the Sprint Center.”

Okay, sure, if I’m the owner of a giant commercial property — especially at a time when commercial properties are plummeting in value now that companies are realizing they can just make their employees work from their kitchen tables — I would take the opportunity to float the idea that someone could buy my land for a princely sum in order to build a baseball stadium on it, why not? Calling this idea “intriguing,” though, was KCUR’s decision, especially when it’s then followed by the statement that a new Royals stadium “seems to have picked up momentum” since the sale of the Royals to fossil fuel baron John Sherman last year, and the observation that “Kansas City is one of the few major league cities without a downtown baseball stadium.”

To briefly recap the story so far: The Royals already have a perfectly good stadium, one that was recently renovated at public expense and which is typically ranked in the top half of MLB ballparks in MLB ballpark ranking lists. The former Royals owner, David Glass, didn’t show much enthusiasm for a new downtown stadium, which didn’t stop news outlets like the Star from saying it was a good idea anyway; this just may have been influenced by the downtown business interests who were clamoring for baseball downtown, no doubt in hopes they could sell some of their property for a baseball development. When Sherman bought the team, the media drumbeat only increased (though the Star did editorialize against “any plan that significantly increases public spending for the Royals”), and Sherman said he’d consider it, and apparently this is what qualifies as momentum these days.

So, setting aside whether the Royals need a new stadium or who would pay for it, does the Star building site make any sense as a location?

That’s not at all big enough to fit even the existing Kauffman Stadium into, and keep in mind that Kauffman Stadium was built in 1973, before stadiums had to be five-star hotels as well as stadiums. Building a baseball stadium on the site would absolutely require tearing down at least a couple of blocks of additional buildings, but would afford the advantage, as KCUR writes, of being across the highway from K.C.’s indoor arena, which, I dunno, synergy or something somehow? KCUR can’t explain everything for you, it’s just an NPR station that fills half its schedule with BBC broadcasts, go figure it out yourself!

Anyway, now that I’ve both reported on this “news” and amplified it, I need to go shower off the stench of complicity. Is it too late for me to tell you not to read this post at all? You probably just read the headline and clicked Wow or Angry on Facebook anyway, so I guess no harm done, except that even the headline will probably be taken as a further sign of “momentum,” when really it’s just downtown real estate interests trying to gin up a clamor out of thin air so they can unload their crappy properties. Do not listen to them, people! IT’S A COOKBOOK!!!

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Friday roundup: San Diego okays $1B arena complex, Manfred floats neutral-site World Series, and that time the Twins ran stadium ads featuring a kid who’d died from cancer

I am way too tired this morning from waiting for tranches of vote counts to drop to write an amusing intro, so let’s get straight to the news:

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Friday roundup: MLB billionaire owners cry poor, Rangers stadium reviews get worse and worse

What a week! I know I say that every week, but: What. A. Week. In addition to the World Series insanity, I spent some time this week writing an article about other ways that giant monopolistic cartels screw over regular folks, but it’s not up yet* so you’ll just have to find out about it next week (or keep refreshing my personal website, or follow me on Twitter or something).

In the meantime, there’s lots of sports stadium and arena news to keep you occupied:

  • NYC F.C. may have announced progress on its new soccer stadium this week while providing no indication of actual progress, but the Washington Football Team one-upped them when team president Jason Wright earned an entire NBC Sports article about their stadium plans by saying he didn’t even have a timeline for the process. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Republic likewise issued a statement on their new stadium construction plans that amounted to nothing (“I do have a hard hat in my trunk!” said team president Ben Gumpert, by way of news). At this rate, team owners will be able to get reporting on their stadium campaigns after denying they even want one — oh wait, we’ve gone there already.
  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says the league now has $8.3 billion in debt, $3 billion of it accrued during 2020’s pandemic season, which doesn’t actually tell you how well baseball is doing — presumably some of it was borrowed against future revenues from TV contracts and naming-rights deals and the like — but sounds impressive when you’re about to go into union contract talks. Also, notes Marc Normandin, that’s really only a $100 million loss per team, which isn’t an unfathomably huge sum for the billionaires who own most teams; plus we have to take Manfred’s word on that debt figure, and it already doesn’t include things like teams’ ownership of regional sports networks. MLB owners, he writes, are “hoping, as they so often do, that you have no idea how anything works, and will just take them at their word. So that they can do things like, oh, I don’t know, decline the 2021 option on basically everyone with one in order to flood the free agent market with additional players they can then underbid on and underpay, claiming that this is all financially necessary because of all the debt, you see.” Or as we may start calling it soon, getting Brad Handed.
  • Philadelphia public schools lost $112 million in property tax revenues in 2019 that were siphoned off to tax breaks for developers, according to a new Good Jobs First study, nearly double their losses from just two years earlier. Good thing the 76ers‘ plan for an arena funded by siphoned-off property taxes was rejected, though there are more plans where that came from, so Philly schools should probably still hold onto their wallets.
  • One more review of the Texas Rangers‘ new stadium that team owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson got $500 million to help build because the old one lacked air-conditioning, this one from a fan who’s visited every stadium and arena in North America: “This would probably end up probably down near the bottom.” He added that the upper decks are too far from the field, the place is too dark, the scale is “ridiculous,” and on top of that fans were taking off their masks as soon as security is out of sight, which, yup.
  • Las Vegas has extended its negotiating window again for a new soccer stadium to lure an MLS team, which makes you wonder why they even bothered to set a window in the first place instead of just hanging out a shingle saying, “Have Stadium $$$, Inquire Within.”
  • Sports team owners make tons of “dark money” to political campaigns to try to get elected officials to support their interests, according to ESPN, though disappointingly their only real source is an unnamed NBA owner. But that source did say, “There’s no question,” in italics and everything, so you know they’re serious.
  • Maybe the NHL should just play games outdoors so they can allow in fans? There are dumber ideas, but they might want to figure out how to get fans to keep their damn masks on first.
  • There are some new renderings of the New York Islanders‘ luxury suites at their new arena, and I can’t stop puzzling over what that weird counter-like thing is in this one, or why the women are all wearing stiletto heels to an NHL game. I’ll never understand hockey!

*UPDATE: Now it’s up.

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More on Justin Turner’s maskless World Series celebration, which has nothing directly to do with stadiums but bear with me

It’s a bad day to be Justin Turner. The Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman, who received a positive coronavirus test result during Tuesday’s Game 6 of the World Series, was pulled from the game, then returned to the field to take part in postgame celebrations after the Dodgers won the championship, has been savaged across the sports world, getting called “selfish” by Yahoo! Sports, “galling” by USA Today, and I’m not even going to check Twitter. Even Dodgers president Andrew Friedman, who semi-defended Turner’s presence on the field by saying that he technically became a free agent as soon as the game ended and “I don’t think there was anyone that was going to stop him,” acknowledged that it was “not good optics” to have him sitting for a photo, maskless, next to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor.

And then on the other hand there was Defector’s Albert Burneko, who beneath the superficially contrarian headline “It’s Not Justing Turner’s Fault” made the point that focusing the blame on individual behavior during an institutional crisis is completely the wrong way to go about things:

The bleak lesson of 2020—really, the bleak lesson of so much of the history of this society, but one the year 2020 seems hell-bent on teaching—is about the futility of individual responses amid institutional failure. This is how the real bad actors, the ones with the power to actually make significant changes, want things: with responsibility for containing the pandemic, or arresting climate change, or addressing systemic inequality and social injustice, litigated in society as matters of scattered individual choice. If baseball failed to contain the pandemic, well then it was because no individual person made the individual choice to thwart Justin Turner’s deeply human desire to celebrate the happiest moment of his life with the teammates who’d shared the journey with him, and not because Major League Baseball had a duty to provide and adhere to clearer and firmer protocols from the beginning. If a campaign rally doubles as a superspreader event, well, heck, we passed out masks, but it’s not like the literal president of the United States can just insist people wear them at an affair he’s hosting. If your preferred party loses an election, it’s because individuals selfishly withheld their vote, not because the party had, and fell short of, any responsibility to reach those people and earn their support. If the natural world swelters to death, well then it’s because not enough people bought electric cars or metal straws, not because neoliberal governments deferred to the corporate world for meaningful changes it wouldn’t make until forced by market imperatives, if then, if ever.

As several people raised down in the Defector comments, Justin Turner’s maskless run onto the field was a lot like college students’ maskless partying in the wake of reopening campuses — yes, it’s incredibly dumb, but when under the influence of alcohol/hormones/having just won the World Series, you kind of have to expect some people to do incredibly dumb things. Which is why we have rules against doing dumb things, and league officials and college administrators and U.S. presidents who are supposed to enforce those rules. It’s not Andrew Friedman’s job, in other words, to be as confused as Nigel.

And even as MLB has been frantically issuing statements that, hey, they told Turner to stay off the field and he wouldn’t listen, there are frankly more concerning things about the league’s actions here than how many security guards they assigned to the Covid isolation room. (Presumably if a fan had tried to run onto the field they would have done more than just ask them nicely to stop, right? But I digress.) Even if Turner had sat placidly and watched the celebration on TV, he’d been in close proximity to the rest of his team, often indoors in the clubhouse, for weeks prior to this, which according to both CDC and MLB rules meant everyone else on the team should be immediately quarantined. USA Today initially reported that “the team will have multiple rounds of testing before leaving Texas.” Instead, this happened:

Yes, indeed, Some Guy Named G, you’re not likely to start testing positive until at least four days after you yourself are infected, but you can be infectious that whole time. So Mookie Betts testing negative yesterday is no guarantee that Mookie Betts isn’t silently transmitting coronavirus to everyone else on that team plane, or wherever else he goes back in Los Angeles once he gets off it. Justin Turner risking infecting his teammates for the sake of a photo op with the championship trophy was reckless and impulsive; the Dodgers and MLB risking infecting even more teammates by sticking a whole bunch of potentially infectious people on a plane together was an institutional failure of responsibility.

Getting back to Burneko’s point: There’s a common defense by people in power who want to deny responsibility for their actions that they’re just giving the people what they want, whether that thing that they want is carbon-spewing cars or cigarettes or guns or the freedom to decide whether to wear masks or, yes, billion-dollar sports stadiums to buy tickets to. (This is an especially common gambit by the people who stand to make money from the questionable items being sold.) But the whole point of being in power is that you have power, and by your actions, you set the stage for what behavior by other people is not just acceptable, but possible. So while it might be fun to blame Justin Turner for being a lunkhead, or people in Maine for holding that deadly wedding, a public health crisis like this one only highlights how vital it is to have some mechanism for authority — whether it’s an elected government, an unelected league management, or an anarcho-syndicalist executive officer of the week — who can and will establish and enforce rules about not being a lunkhead. All else, as we’ve so recently been reminded, ends in bears.

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World Series ends with Covid-positive Justin Turner celebrating on field without mask, sportswriters sum up Rangers’ $1B stadium as “unnecessary,” all is as it should be

The baseball postseason that would never end has finally ended, fittingly enough with a late-inning Covid controversy as Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner had to be removed from the final game of the World Series in the 7th inning after receiving a positive test result, went back on the field without a mask to celebrate with his teammates, then complained that he “couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys.” Truly, the only way this could be more cringey would be if MLB chose this moment to bring back the ad slogan “Baseball Fever: Catch It!

But even as we wonder how Turner contracted the coronavirus while supposedly in a bubble and why he then sat next to a cancer survivor with no mask on, let’s not allow this bizarro World Series to pass into history without enjoying the glimpse that it gave us of the Texas Rangers‘ new $1 billion stadium, about half a billion dollars of which came from Arlington residents so that the team would no longer have to suffer the indignity of playing in a stadium without air conditioning. We’ve already heard the few fans in attendance extremely inappropriately calling the place “breathtaking”; now ESPN has polled its reporters on the scene of what they think of the place, and the reviews (edited for length and maximum hilarity) are decidedly meh:

Alden Gonzalez: It’s a modern, bigger, more comfortable, yet less charming — and in my opinion, unnecessary — version of the old place.

Jeff Passan: It’s fine. … Aesthetically, there’s nothing particularly inspiring about it.

Jesse Rogers: It feels cozy, especially if you’re in the lower bowl, but the tradeoff was going straight up. If you have a fear of heights, this is not the park for you.

Gonzalez: My least favorite part is that it doesn’t feel intimate.

Passan: From above, the place looks like what would happen if a Costco and a barn had a baby.

Gonzalez: What’s better is that it has a roof.

Rogers: OK, it’s cool when it opens and closes, but this is Texas. Besides the occasional storm, what’s the need for a dome?

Okay, I left out a few nice things the ESPN trio had to say about Globe Life Field — apparently the fence height is “perfect,” according to Gonzalez, which is totally a reason to spend $1 billion to build an entirely new stadium — but the upshot is that they think this is a “middle-tier” stadium, not the best or the worst, with a “corporate” feel but some nice brick columns. That’s something that could be said of lots of modern stadiums, including the one it replaced, but I guess they had to come up with something to say beyond “it would have been more impressive if they’d kept the old stadium and set a billion dollars on fire in center field.”

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