I used to hate how DC didn't have a baseball team. What was the point of living in a city if you didn't have the chance to catch a game on a Wednesday night?
Then we got the Nationals. I was happy.
Now we're keeping the Nationals. I am unhappy.
I love baseball. Love it. My happiest memory in my 23 years of existence was watching the Red Sox win the World Series. I'm not even ashamed of that. I skipped 10 days of classes to go see my team win the first championship of my lifetime, my father's lifetime, and my grandfather's lifetime. Let me tell you, there is nothing like seeing every single person on the street floating on air. I would love to feel that again in DC with the Nationals.
But I will not celebrate the city spending up to $611,000,000.00 to get it.
Remember when the city was freaking out because cost overruns on the new stadium might hit 500 million dollars? That was a happier time.
611 million dollars! That is an unfathomable amount of money. Especially for a city that has so many problems. Crime is still unacceptably high. Our public hospitals suck. Our schools across the Anacostia are warzones. Parts of Southeast DC are so poverty-stricken that it makes me weep.
There are a lot of people, mostly black, who need this money spent on something, you know, helpful. Instead, it's being used so rich people, mostly white, can have something to do on a Wednesday night. The racial divide in this city is jaw-droppingly wide and this is not helping.
So, bravo to our Council members who voted for this. We had all the leverage. Did they really think Major League Baseball would move the Nationals to Portland or Las Vegas? Would they contract the Nationals and leave an odd number of teams in the majors? What could they do? DC baseball was profitable and moving now would be a PR black eye for the league.
The worst they could do was send the team across the Potomac into Northern Virginia. And that would have been a motherfucking godsend since it's hard to make a substantial profit when you're investing $611,000,000.00.
But, no. We had to prove that DC can take care of its own business. We don't need Maryland or Virginia. Fuck Maryland and fuck Virginia. This is DC's team. And it will be DC's burden.
To put all of this in perspective: Do you know how much my home commonwealth of Massachusetts put into Fenway Park? $0.
Need a more recent and germane example? Fine.
Gillette Stadium, home of the 3-time world champion New England Patriots, opened in 2002. In 2000, Patriot owner Robert Kraft threatened to move the team to Connecticut or Rhode Island. Those sad excuses for states were offering to pay for a new stadium. But Massachusetts knew that a football team would never move out of its profitable market. That would be crazy. Business suicide. The Massachusetts Legislature played some hardball. They offered Kraft $70,000,000.00. He took the deal.
So Potential DC cost: $611,000,000.00
Massachusetts cost: $70,000,000.00
One of these has an extra and totally unnecessary digit. Way-to-go, DC. You have the business sense of a kid who is willing to buy his classmate's Twinkie for $5. It's a tasty snack, but it's unfulfilling and overvalued.
Also of note, the team doesn't have a owner and, frankly, sucks. Awesome job, DC. I'm glad this is where my taxes are going.