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Washington D.C.




Letter to the Editor by Ralph Nader

Baseball Shouldn't Strap the City

Regarding Tom Boswell's Dec. 17 column, "If Washington Wants Team, Time to Play Ball" [Sports]:

Any option other than a privately financed stadium on the RFK campus is a bad deal for the city. Although Major League Baseball wouldn't admit it, it wants the giant D.C. market so much that it would move here even without public subsidies. Of course, it still will try to squeeze as much as possible from the District.

Besides stripping funds from the unmet needs of our city, public subsidies for owners of sports teams encourage waste, inefficiency, inflated stadium costs and cost overruns -- economics team owners would address if they had to pay for stadiums themselves.

If team owners bore the cost of a stadium here, they would choose the RFK site, which is the most economically viable, already has the infrastructure in place and faces the least neighborhood opposition.

But with D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams promising as much as $300 million in public funds toward a stadium, at least one prospective ownership group craves the valuable Mount Vernon Triangle site and its ancillary commercial development opportunities. This area would be undergoing redevelopment by now as a predominantly residential downtown neighborhood if baseball weren't holding it up.

If local citizens, city officials, team owners and business leaders believe a baseball stadium is needed and financially sound, private capital should be raised to finance the project in the most feasible location as was done successfully in San Francisco and a few other cities.


Washington Post Link

If Washington Wants Team, Time to Play Ball

..."By any economic measure relevant to a sports franchise, America's biggest and richest cities are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington. That's the list. Those first three cities have six baseball teams. We have none."...
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