This will be remembered as the week that all 30 MLB teams played at once, after the Cincinnati Reds returned from being sidelined by a positive Covid test … for one whole day, until the New York Mets were sidelined by two positive Covid tests. Is this a sign that having 900 players plus coaches plus other staff flying around a country with some of the highest Covid rates in the world is likely to keep resulting in occasional infections? Probably! Is it a sign that the MLB season is doomed to fail? Probably not, given that the season is almost halfway over already, though it’s going to get interesting once the “Everybody Plays!” postseason kicks off and a positive test result means delaying the entire schedule, and/or maybe playing entire playoff series as seven-inning doubleheaders. There’s increasing talk of playing everything after the first round in a bubble in, uh, Texas and Southern California, which sounds like a terrible idea but the NBA has managed to keep its players uninfected in the eye of the Covid hurricane in Florida, so who knows, really. Maybe there are no good ideas right now, only more and less terrible ones.
Anyway, enough about the goofy baseball season that could end up with a sub-.500 team winning the World Series, let’s talk about what you’re really here for:
- Mikhail Prokhorov has finally gotten out of his Nassau Coliseum lease after shutting the building down to force Nassau County to find a new leaseholder. The lucky winner: Nick Mastroianni II, a Florida financier who previously helped finance the Coliseum’s renovations by raising $100 million in EB-5 green-cards-for-investments money, and who also is being sued by investors who claim Mastroianni isn’t making required interest payments on their loans. The county is deferring any rent payments for at least the next 60 days, and “is open to renegotiating the financial terms of the lease,” reports Newsday, but maybe now the New York Islanders will get to play games in Nassau next season, probably without fans in attendance, and who can put a price on that, right?
- Hey, remember that new arena that San Diego is thinking about building despite not having a major league franchise to play in it or any hope of one anytime soon? Turns out it’s also on a site that stands a good chance of being underwater in a few decades thanks to sea level rise. All the better to give San Diego a chance to build an even newer arena then, creating more economic impact! Or maybe a big flood wall? I bet economists haven’t yet spent 30 years revealing the lack of economic impact of giant flood walls, let’s go with that one.
- Asked about the Washington Football Team‘s stadium plans, new team president Jason Wright told the Washington Times he’s less concerned about where it will be built than “the principles we will use to build the stadium,” and if you choose to interpret that as we’re not going to commit to a site until we see who’ll give us the most money to build it, you’re not alone.
- If you want to read the Knoxville News article “A new baseball stadium can lift the fortunes of a city, but not all by itself” you’ll have to cough up for a subscription, because they don’t let just anybody read that kind of insightful analysis for free! (I’ll take a guess at what it says: The economic benefits of a new baseball stadium depend on synergy with, uh, a thriving ballpark district that provides multiplier effects and prompts development and provides much-needed construction jobs and lets a thousand flowers bloom and anyone have a Knoxville News subscription who can let me know how I’m doing so far?)
- I haven’t been bothering to keep you updated on every NFL team’s plan for holding games with or without fans, but the Minnesota Vikings asking to allow in (an unspecified number of) fans to their indoor stadium raises enough of my eyebrows to be worth a bullet point. It would be nice for Mark Reilly, Managing Editor, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal to have at least maybe asked what the HVAC system is like at the Vikings stadium, but when your managing editor has to write the articles, you probably have bigger problems to worry about than whether you’re doing a good job of reporting the news.
- There’s a documentary in the works about Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s campaign to get a new stadium built in the late ’80s, which memorably included pretend moves to Florida and legislators setting their watches back to hold votes after a midnight deadline and all kinds of other juicy goodness, so let’s hope it gets completed.
- And finally, in non-sports subsidy news, enjoy Pat Garofalo’s report on the private hotel waterpark that Nashville provided $13.8 million in tax breaks for in 2017, and which is now repaying the public generosity by allowing them to ride the rides, for a mere $49.99 a day. Apparently this whole waterpark dodge was originally supposed to help lure conventions to town somehow, but at least now there’s a backup plan for encouraging economic activity, even if it’s just give us more money, this time to ride water slides in the middle of a pandemic. Remember, even people getting off an airplane and handing each other a million dollars and getting back on the airplane counts as local economic activity, this whole getting the economy back on its feet thing is easier than I thought!