03 April 2009

Goodyear, Arizona

I've been choked up over the loss of traditional spring training for years now, the way old men still ask for Beef Wellington, long since removed from the menu.

No point rehashing details, just thank God the calendar ended this latest vernal iteration of MLB's ostensible largesse, so that fat white drunks can fly home to Chicago and aimless latinos in Manram threads can lowride their chubby families back to Norwalk. Attendance was down about a thousand per game from 2008, up overall due to a couple new teams (LAD & CLE) and stadiums (Camelback Ranch, Goodyear).

By now, the primary beneficiaries of these publicly financed temples shouldn't surprise. Players, coaches and team execs uniformly love the new digs, fans not so much. Indian rooters likened "their" shiny Goodyear complex to a prison, a metaphor begging for more general application in and around MLB.

The paradox is that enough alcoholics and dopes still flock to these overpriced slammers to politically eke out their construction. Goodyear's penal colony, for example, exceeded 99K, well shy of our state's largest holding cells, but a spring mark for visiting Indians.

Club spokesmen call Goodyear an unqualified success. $1.6M in ticket revenue, about that much in beer and junk. How much fry bread does that bring the city? Let's be generous and say Cleveland fans spend six times more outside the stadium than in. That's $3.2M x 6 or $19M, which sounds about right if the Cubs bring Mesa $25. Let's call it $20M. What's the local tax yield on $20M? A million? Toss in a fancy Keynsian multiplier and call it two.

Goodyear residents and tourists, most of whom will never enjoy the venue, let alone benefit from plush clubhouses and opulent weight rooms, paid $108M in taxes to finance it. Sounds like Redistribution of Wealth, my friends. Away from decent, unlicensed, sporadically working Americans like Joe the Plumber.

Sounds like a job for the senior senator from Arizona

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