Usually I only care about baseball in regards to young players, coaches, and parents. I leave the most important philosophical questions to the big boys, like ESPN and the like.
I admit I’m as guilty as anyone else for just paying attention to my hometown MLB team, my beloved St. Louis Cardinals, but reading an article about the Miami Marlins and how they treat their fans. it made my blood boil. .
I’m not here to blame or take sides because I don’t know the facts, but I want to ask the question: “Do professional sports teams hold cities hostage?”
When a city, which means taxpayers, agrees to pay the bill for a stadium of professional sports teams, regardless of the sport, have the owners of the teams become partners of the city or owners of the city?
Professional sports will claim they are a private company and can do whatever they want with the team, including moving to another city or stripping the team of its best players and the city has no legal rights to protest.
Now I am not a business genius and I know that private companies of all kinds negotiate tax benefits and certain commitments from cities regarding sewers, streets, etc., but they do not dispute a completely free and paid 10-story office building by taxpayers who then occupy just one office with two employees and leave the rest of the complex vacant.
Worse still, they don’t return to the city three years later and demand that the city pay for the building remodel or else the company will move to another city leaving the city trapped with an empty building and a huge financial burden.
I hope you are reading this and thinking “How absurd is this scenario”, but this is exactly what professional sports teams do. The Colts’ midnight move to Indianapolis from Baltimore, Houston to Tennessee, the Rams to St. Louis and I could go on and on.
Speaking of the Rams, they have been successful in their demands that St. Louis pay the bill for a $ 700 million stadium renovation or the construction of a new stadium. Of course, the Rams gave fans thrills, including a Super Bowl Trophy, but that was under different ownership.
The current owner has a less than spectacular track record of fielding a team of NFL caliber, but he is holding the city hostage for an engrossing rescue with the threat of leaving the city.
Professional sports leagues are monopolies. The “scourge”, which is the act of pitting one entity against another, in order to obtain the best deal for them, in this case one city against another, is the only private business action that leagues and companies have in common.
The cities, which really means community people in real life, busting their buttocks every day for a living and paying for these palaces with their taxes, deserve better than to be treated like serfs. If the MLB and the NFL specifically, don’t change their grandiose opinion of themselves in regards to people, then, like AT&T and other monopolies, they should be broken.