After some 33 years baseball was to return to D.C. by moving the Montreal Expos to the nation’s capitol. I have to admit as a baseball fan I wasn’t that excited. Why? Even though I am not a resident of D.C. I thought that the idea of a new stadium financed by the taxpayers was a bad idea. The city council bucking the mayor voted for a 50% privately financed stadium. Major League Baseball said it was unacceptable and threatened to pick up its marbles and go elsewhere. My view? Go ahead and find another city that would be willing to take your suckers bet and finance a staidium that benefits the owners and soaks the taxpayers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that whatever city gets the Expos raising tourism taxes as many other cities have done. Why not? Tourists don’t vote. In the last 15 years I have paid a substantial sum in taxes in the cities that I have traveled to that finance stadiums and other facilities that I am likely to never use. Is this fair? Not in my opinion.
Do we really need another major league team in D.C.? Not really. Maybe this sounds like blasphemy but I have a hard time paying high ticket prices for a lousy seat, being charged $4 for a hot dog and another $10 or more for parking. Add my three children to the mix and it’s more than I can afford. Do the Orioles need a competing team in the area? Years ago I would have said yes so that there would be an alternative to high cost of attending a game. But there is a alternative now. Minor league baseball. In the D.C. area we have the following teams, the Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys, Hagerstown Suns and the Potomac Cannons who just became an affiliate of the Nationals (nee Expos). What these teams offer is a low cost and actually much more entertaining game. I think it would have been difficult, if not impossible to convince my children to attend a baseball game with me if not for these minor league teams. Now they love baseball and even my college age daughter still likes to attend a game from time to time.
So Major League Baseball, sorry you couldn’t strongarm the city to building a stadium at their expense with little benefit to the taxpayers. D.C. will be just fine without you.