Oh My God

This really can't be happening again.

Lame-duck Mayor Anthony Williams is asking the City Council to approve another $75,000,000.00 to be added on to the DC baseball stadium budget. That increase, if approved, would mean DC is paying $686,000,000.00 for a stadium that, according to Linda Cropp, would be a Buick instead of a Cadillac.

Council Member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who has never seen a sweetheart deal towards Major League Baseball that he didn't like, has admitted that the Council probably won't approve any increases. Thank goodness. But the gall of Mayor Williams to try to get more public financing on his way out of office is striking. He didn't even tell Adrien Fenty about his devious plan. Probably because Fenty would never support it.

Here's a reminder of how ridiculous the process of building a baseball stadium has been:

When Williams announced that the District would be getting a Major League Baseball team in September 2004, he said the stadium and parking would cost $435 million. But the cost estimates were quickly raised -- to $535 million in December 2004, then to the $611 million limit set by the council in April.

So, Mayor Williams and the baseball boosters were either lying or totally incompetent. Williams is saying that the stadium will cost $251,000,000.00 more than originally expected. Even the most incompetent city officials don't make $251,000,000.00 mistakes. That's way outside any reasonable margin of error. The baseball boosters misinformed the public to drum up support for a super-expensive stadium that, frankly, we don't need. Shame on them all.


  1. Ted Kennedy's LiverOctober 05, 2006

    Build it dammit.

  2. here here, to hell with the stadium and the nationals, move 'em to NOVA and see if i care. hell, if the city has $686 million lying around, just send us all a check for $1000. that'll pay for my new PC.

  3. With a population of 582,049, DC could be sending us all checks of $1,178.60.

  4. Ted Kennedy's LiverOctober 05, 2006

    Don't you morons see the goal is to BETTER the city by spending the bones?

    Look what MCI center did for "chinatown."

    Hell, I'd take it in Arlington. Too bad the communists who lived there who have left us a legacy of the only highway going into a major city that narrows as it gets closer wouldn't allow it. I remember seeing those clowns with their "no stadium" placards trying to enlist me. I said, "beat it, old bag."

  5. It's cool if you think a stadium is an investment, but calling it a solid investment is just silly.

    This is going to end up being the most expensive publicly financed stadium in the country. At what cost is enough enough? I figured anything over $300M was way too much. I was unhappy with $435M. Now we're trying to move up to $686M? That's an insane amount of money.

  6. You're so right. What we should do is just ignore that area of the city and maybe it will become beautiful, clean and crime free all on its own! Teriffic idea! You should run for office on that issue!

  7. Perhaps we could just take, oh say, 10 or 20 million and use that money to upgrade RFK and improve the surrounding area.

    Call me crazy.

  8. What bugs me is that I am for a new stadium at a reasonable price. The brand new San fran stadium was completely privately financed. Gilette Stadium in Foxboro was built with only $70M in public funds.

    The best stadium in the majors, PNC Park (opened in 2001), cost $216M. The newest MLB stadium, Busch Stadium in St. Louis (opened in 2006),cost $346M.

    Spending $686M on baseball stadium is unprecedented and unjustifiable. Especially when even the DC Council admits it's going to be a crappy stadium.

  9. Cyber Agatha's Flat AssOctober 05, 2006

    I wish I was built like a black chick. I wish I could have the opportunity to shake it in a rap music video. That will never happen though.


  10. Everytime I think of the people who kept the Nationals out of Arlington, I think: "Hallelujah." Their work can never be repaid. I thank them every day.

  11. Too bad the communists who lived there who have left us a legacy of the only highway going into a major city that narrows as it gets closer wouldn't allow it.

    Ted, it's like those fucking security lights that go OFF as you approach. I don't get that concept either.

  12. Agatha is a leather-faced, pig-nosed whorebag.

  13. Truth SpeakerOctober 05, 2006

    Cyber Agatha has absolutely NO CHANCE of ever dancing in a hip hop music video. Ironing board backsides. HA HA HA HA HA.......

  14. "Perhaps we could just take, oh say, 10 or 20 million and use that money to upgrade RFK and improve the surrounding area.

    Call me crazy."

    Jamy, you silly cunt. Though it was really cute that you tried, its very obvious that you dont have a clue when it comes to the economics of pro sports. But dont worry i'm sure theres lots of domestic type thinkgs you do well. I know why!! While the men on the board are figuring things out why dont you make us some muffins. I really like bluebarry!! Thanks hole.

  15. Ted, Wouldn't communisim be something like... oh I don't know... spending public resources on a stadium?

    Does anyone know how much public money went into the convention center?? Because if it's less that 600 million, then Ted should be for a new convention center, not a stadium.

  16. Jesus people!

    #1 - You will never get a new ballpark financed for CHEAPER than existing ballparks for several reasons. Inflation to name 1. Also we needed a deal to have the park built before MLB sold the team, so private financing was not an option. Can't have the ballpark owned by a private entity that might have been at odds with the new team ownership -- that would have depressed the sales price.

    #2 - How in the world can you compare the price of building a ballpark in a major metropolitan area (DC, NYC, LA, Boston, Downtown Chicago) with a park that is NOT in the center of the most expensive real estate in those regions. Foxboro, Mass is in the middle of nowhere. That would be the equivalent of building the baseball stadium in Leesburg, which, hell yes, would be cheaper.

    A better comparison would be to track the Nats stadium budget against the proposed budget of building the new stadium for the Jets in the middle of manhattan, or building the new arena for the Nets in the middle of Brooklyn.

    I don't have those numbers, but if you do, and they're less, then the argument begins THERE!


  17. Is baseball that lucrative of a sport? Players had to turn to steroids just to keep thier fan base up.

    For $686 million, DC could have bouilt 18,120 new SE strip clubs! I'd take naked ladies (especially agatha's ass) over a roided-out penis fests anyday.

  18. If this is how the people of DC choose to operate, they DON't deserve statehood. You know their congressman would be a huge pork spender.

  19. I forgot #3-

    3) As has been said in a million places before, you CAN'T just sink money into RFK because there is no municipal return on that investment. The city would not get more parking $ or tax $ from new businesses or anything else. That money would simply be set afire.
    If you build new stuff in SE there *should be* tax revenue and other revenue sources from new businesses/residences attracted to the new area.

    Yes it is a lot of money. It's an investment.

  20. MH, the St. Louis and Pittsburgh stadiums are in the middle of the city and they cost susbtantially less than $435M, never mind $686M. So, argument #2 goes down the drain. (Though you're right about Foxboro.)

    Argument #1a is easy to destroy too. Inflation? The New Busch Stadium cost $346M and it opened last April!

    Argument #1b only proves that Mayor Williams is the worst negotiatior in the history of the entire planet. Once they moved the Expos to DC, baseball wasn't going to move them back if we played a little hardball. Where would they go? Portland? Las Vegas? Baseball needed DC as much as we needed them, yet baseball negotitors called all the shots.

    Argument #3 is correct. RFK is a dinosaur in a boring neighborhood. I'm all for fixing up the Anacostia waterfront. But at this price? That's crazy. This is going to be the most expensive publicly financed stadium in baseball. The Yankees generate a shit-ton of cash because they sell-out every game and have an extrmemely profitable tv network, so they can afford to privately finance a large portion of their new stadium. There's no way NYC pays as much as DC is paying for "Buick."

    I miss being on my high school debate team. This is fun.

  21. Rusty, I think the regional pricing argument still holds. What Pittsburgh and STL are cities, but very small ones -- What is the difference in gas prices between Washington DC and STL/PIT? Groceries? Probably not enough to match the full 35-45% difference in stadium cost, but the argument is still that things cost more in Metropolis than in little-city, USA. All these inequalities drive the overall higher cost-of-living in big cities.

    I too enjoy this, so I did some more fishing.... The project for the NYJets stadium in manhattan is $1.7billion. Let me repeat that. $1.7 BILLION. Source = NFL.com via google. (http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/NYJ/8344143) From what I can see there, the city's portion of that is $600million. Some of it is privately financed, and the team is buying the land from MTA (MYC's WMATA).

    Wikipedia has a page for the Nets arena = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_Nets_Arena Total price of their boondoggle: $3.5 BILLION. Holy hell. The Nets owner is a developer in the Trump mold, and apparently he wants to build an entire neighborhood and has private financing for a big chunk of it. Oops, the bottom line of the article says: "The project's estimated cost has now risen to $4.2 billion." That's Bill Gates money.

    Look at the See Also section for other arena/ballpark projects. ALL MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OURS.

    Anyway, I think my point is made. You don't build big municipal projects in thriving metropolis' on small ($500m) budgets. You just don't. And if we try to, we will wind up with an ugly stadium with ancient facilities that will draw NO fans within a few years.


  22. The Jets stadium in Manhattan has already been scrapped. Even in that case, the municipal government is paying less than what DC is paying for our crappy stadium. And Manhattan property values are way higher than DC's.

    I think it's a mistake to use examples from NYC to make a point about DC. NYC sports facilities make tons of money. They are sure things. And the city generates a lot more $$$ since it has a population of 8M+. Apples and oranges.

    If a developer wants to drop a billion dollars into the Anacostia waterfront, that would be great. But we're talking about what the city has to pay. And no city has ever paid this much $$$ for one stadium. It's totally unprecedented. The closest I can find is Seattle's Safeco Field which was paid for with apx. $400M in public money.

    And if Pitt and StL are too small for you, how about Detroit's Comerica Park? Detroit has a population of 800,000+. Comerica opened in 2000 and it cost the city $115M.

  23. If Comerica opened in 2000, the land was acquired way sooner than the real estate bubble. Also, did Detroit need to buy the land at all, or did they do the whole build-it-on-existing-field's-parking-lot-then-knock-down-old-stadium routine?

    I'd be willing to bet that the scope of the project itself is nowhere near apples-to-apples.

    Hmm, even if I grant that NYC real estate is too expensive for comparison, you'd have to grant the reverse, that land in the middle of the continent is way cheaper than land on the coasts.

    Is DC land and materials cost likely to be closer to NYCs than to Detroit/PIT/STL? No evidence there but I would guess yes.

    Also, you can't argue the full size of the NYC metropolis 8M+ as potential stadium go-ers in that case, then not acknowledge that potential DC-stadium-go-ers is much more than the 580,000 DC residents. I lived in Brooklyn 18 years and was much further away from Yankee Stadium than my Alexandria home is from RFK. Took me an hour to get to a Yanks game, vs 25 minutes to the Nats. Our region is Fredricksburg VA, to Baltimore. And they will spend money in DC.

  24. Rusty-- that guy is living in a fantasy world. He's probably Mayor williams.

  25. Ted Kennedy's LiverOctober 06, 2006

    Rusty you're making some pretty good arguments.

    I still think it's a good idea though. I think a big part of the problem was DC was in a shitty postition at the bargaining table because it was about GETTING a baseball team in the first place. Of course, MLB is going to make that contingent on something, especially with that fat fuck Angelos breathing fire from Shitmore.

  26. Angelos has been a big problem.

    To get the team we agreed to pay $435M which I thought was too much but it's certainly reasonable. To keep the team we had to add on that extra $251M...that's extortion. I wish Williams had the balls to say "enough is enough."

  27. I guess maybe I AM a fan of mayor williams. I suppose you would rather have Marion Barry and Sharon Pratt Kelly back. Woo-hoo. Improvement central.

    I don't know that I am fully correct in my economic analysis. I'm not an economist. But, I am pointing out that the whole "...stadium is too expensive" argument is not the open-and-shut that people make it out to be, economically speaking.

    If your position is that DC Gov't should just take a bunch of money on its own and go re-po the Anacostia land and fix it up and re-sell it in order to beautify, then who is living in reality, you or me? We know DC would never do that so what's that leave us with? Private interests that need to be incented to spur the region's economy.

    There are 2 arguments here: 1) Stadium costs too much and 2) City is paying too much of the costs. I might concede #2 but I still feel I'm on the correct side of #1.

  28. #2 answers itsels since the city is paying 100% of the costs. As for #1, this will be the most expensive stadium ever by about $150M...so, I would argue it costs too much.

  29. The extra money probably doesn't even include money for the parking lots does it?

  30. The extra $$$ is specifically for parking garages.

  31. A better comparison would be to track the Nats stadium budget against the proposed budget of building the new stadium for the Jets in the middle of manhattan

    This so totally sums up what, exactly, is wrong with DC -- the fact that the city (and everyone in it) thinks that the place is comparable to Manhattan.

  32. ted's liverOctober 08, 2006


    you liberal extremists might appreciate this video in which students at Columbia U. storm the stage during a Minuteman presentation.

    Don't listen to another point of view. Use slogans rather than thinking. Call anyone who disagrees with you racist.

  33. krystal koons (the one and onlyOctober 08, 2006

    Hey Rusty,

    Here's some fodder for you. So I'm at 14th and What-the-fuck this afternoon and I'm trying to get my bearings. The street sign was in Chinese! Now that's cute and all, but I can't really see how a Chinese person would be able to make out those characters from across the street, much less an American.

    I just about died.

  34. Ted's Liver, that Minuteman dude is a crazy racist. I've stayed out of the weird immigration debates that go on in these comments, but, believe it or not, I think tightening up border security is important and necessary.

    But the Minutemen are crazy buffoons. They're dangerous vigilantes.

  35. Do the new costs come out of the specially created, business only taxes - the ones that businesses signed on to before the stadium deal - or is the additional money out of the general budget?

    Don't lose sight of the fact that the stadium costs don't take away from other city spending. If there was no stadium, the city wouldn't have had that money to spend on schools, police, lapdances, whatever.

  36. I know, I know. Shame on DC businesses for only paying extra taxes when it goes to sports. They should be willing to spend money on things that are actually important. I guess that's one of the negative aspects of a commuter city. Virginians could give a fuck about the quality of life in SE.

  37. Rusty, NW DC residents could give a f#@k about the quality of life in SW DC. At least I am willing to go down there and have a meal 20 nights/year when the stadium opens.


  38. "So, Mayor Williams and the baseball boosters were either lying or totally incompetent..."

    Did you consider the possibility that they may be BOTH?