Field of Schemes
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March 31, 2010

Tampa columnist: Rays need new stadium, because ... just because

If you enjoy the spectacle of a sportswriter tying himself in rhetorical knots, check out Joe Henderson's column in today's Tampa Tribune, which manages to argue, in quick succession, that:

  • The Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium.
  • Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for it.
  • Local leaders need to "find the best location, work with the Rays to figure out how to pay for it, and realize the team is for the entire area."
  • The Rays "are an enormous benefit to the area," but it's a "myth" that stadiums help the local economy.
  • A new stadium should be built anyway because that's "what it costs to keep the team."

Follow all that? It comes down to: The Rays will leave without a new stadium, so somebody should figure out a way to pay for one that doesn't involve me. Not appearing in this column: any mention of the seventeen years remaining on the Rays' current lease, which would seem to obviate the urgency of building a new stadium to keep the team in town. Though if "work with the Rays to figure out how to pay for it" is the best idea anybody can come up with, it'll probably take until 2027 to figure out a financing plan anyway.

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