Happy Thanksgiving to our U.S. readers, who if they haven’t yet may want to read the New Yorker’s thoughtful takedown of the myths that the holiday was built on. Or there’s always the movie version, which has fewer historical details but is shorter and features a singing turkey.
And speaking of turkeys, how are our favorite stadium and arena deals faring this holiday week?
- Add the Tri-City Dust Devils to the list of minor-league teams in the middle of getting publicly funded stadium upgrades that may now get eliminated by MLB’s push to slash the size of the minors. The U.S. House of Representatives has formed a task force to oppose the plan, which normally isn’t exactly the kind of thing that makes anyone quake in their boots, but since this move has managed to piss off both Democrats and Republicans with minor-league teams in their home districts, there’s at least a slim chance it may actually mean something.
- Meanwhile, a Minnesota state representative wants to build a new $42 million minor-league baseball stadium in Shakopee just outside Minneapolis-St. Paul. The would-be Metro Millers would join the St. Paul Saints in the independent-league American Association, except that the MLB minor-league contraction plan would reportedly shift the Saints to being an affiliated team — except that Saints general manager Derek Sharrer says MLB hasn’t yet contacted his team about it. Happy not-thinking-things-through-before-announcing-them week, everybody!
- Calgary city councillor Evan Woolley was set yesterday to table a proposal to repeal the Flames arena deal and instead use the city cash that would go into it to fund light rail, a new downtown police station, and affordable housing. But I can’t find any indication in the media of whether he did so or how it went over with the rest of the council — I even scrolled through the Calgary Herald city hall reporter’s Twitter feed, so dedicated am I to bringing you all the facts — so instead let’s focus on how “table” is its own antonym depending on whether you’re speaking American or Canadian.
- The mayor of Inglewood is comparing the new Los Angeles Rams and Chargers stadium to the Genesis Device in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that destroyed entire planets in order to reconfigure them for human colonization, and doesn’t seem to get the irony, but then, neither did The Wrath of Khan.
- 59% of Washington, D.C. residents would like the city’s NFL team with the horrible name to build a new stadium on the old RFK Stadium site, but 52% oppose using city funds to pay for it. WTOP sports reporter Dave Preston sums this up pretty well: “Of course fans want to root for their home team at home but when it comes to paying for it, people don’t want to. Why would they?”
- The Arena Football League has officially gone bankrupt, putting an end to that entire “maybe we’ll just play the entire season on the road!” thing that was floated last month. I’m pretty sure no arenas were actually built or refurbished specifically for the AFL — the last six teams in existence were Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Washington — but losing six home games will … okay, this clearly doesn’t matter to anyone who isn’t an arena football fan, and if there were arena football fans they wouldn’t have needed the talcum powder.
- The New York Yankees are again looking to refinance the debt on their ten-year old stadium, and since it’s technically city debt that the Yankees are paying off in order to get a tax dodge from the IRS, they’re having to ask the city to refinance it for them. Which, maybe the city could take this opportunity to ask for some of the $691 million it spent on the stadium? Just an idea!
- Speaking of the Bronx, 161st Street BID executive director Cary Goodman — who, full disclosure, when I was in high school I briefly worked for on a presidential campaign where our candidate dropped out before getting to the primary in our state, which was a valuable lesson in the frustrations of electoral organizing in a two-party system — is proposing that any new NYC F.C. stadium in the Bronx be owned by local residents, which sounds like a great idea until you realize that stadiums don’t make any money, teams that play in them do.
- Canada’s federal government has no interest in paying for a new Ottawa Senators arena, which should come as no surprise, but props to Canadian Minister of Infrastructure Catherine McKenna for putting it very Canadianly: “Well that’s not something we normally fund.”
- Nobody wants to buy Golden State Warriors tickets now that the team is terrible, but ha ha too late, suckers, you already bought them last year when the team was good! The San Francisco 49ers were clearly onto something when they pioneered the “sell all your seat licenses right before your team takes a nosedive” strategy. Also, the Rams and Chargers are clearly doing this all wrong.
- The wannabe MLB owners in Portland got another six-month extension on trying to figure out how to build a stadium on Port of Portland property, which good luck with that since still nobody knows how it would be paid for or how fans would get to and from games there. Maybe they can instead shoot for a more manageable target, like figuring out what the heck the people are supposed to be doing in this picture?