It’s Our Ball And If You Want To Play ……. Then You Have To Pay
It simply never continues to amaze me as to the naivete and gullibility of a sports fan ! Continuing to think that the owner and a sport’s hierarchy simply has the fans’ best interests at heart . While the ongoing idiocy of the NFL prevails and the players under their body the NFLPA continue to regale the national press with their own thoughts the stupidity of this spectacle goes on. The 8th District Court of Appeals have upheld their previous verdict making sure that the lockout continues unabated . And while this goes on we now have the fomenting situation with regard to the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA and their own discourse as they set about looking avoid what would be a disastrous work stoppage should one actually take place . Meanwhile the league’s own postseason showcase event takes place with the NBA looking to crown a new NBA champion .
Slide show for your perusal .
The NBA hierarchy for its part under the tenure of David Stern has simply finagled its way to luring municipalities around the country where their franchises are domiciled into building them lavish edifices without there being much cost to the franchise owners if any. Not to be out-done in this all are the NFL and MLB who seek to use that very same leverage in twisting the arms up municipalities and state governments across the country. It has gone as far as MLB Commissioner Bud Selig not only lambasting the Tampa Bay Rays — ownership and the county governments of both Hillsborough and Pinellas County in warning them that should they not have a new ballpark built to house the Rays then the organization would never host an All Star Game . If they are prepared to go to those lengths simply to have the taxpayer fund a facility that essentially will be used by ownership group of multi millionaires who in large part simply don’t even pay anything towards such a venue , then it simply not only shows us the gullibility of the local politicians but also how conniving and corrupt the business of professional sports has now become .
The unyielding belief that these owners can do no wrong while at the same time the fans continue to show their naivete can be truly astounding. The public complains because their income taxes are said to be too high but they never seem to complain when a multi million dollar facility using taxpayers’ monies is built to house a professional sports franchise . The infrastructure within their community may well be falling apart and the needs of the residents there may well be gargantuan but yet they’re unflinching in their emotions when a new stadium may well be built . The idiocy of this continues now wherein the Sacramento Kings having sought to pursue the offer to relocate to the area of Anaheim / Los Angeles will now remain within the state capital , albeit for a term of supposedly no longer than a year as the city’s Mayor Kevin Johnson and the local business community looks to find some common accord whereby they can keep the franchise within the locale . At the same time David Stern will closely monitor the situation but if his previous antics are anything to go by, then look for some Machiavellian plot to take place whereby the team’s owners the Maloof family in conjunction with the Kings’ front office will actually move the franchise anyway. Anyone who simply has an insight as to what took place when the Seattle Supersonics relocated from that city to Oklahoma City under Clay Bennett’s — ownership group , will know that the league hierarchy , Stern along with the Thunders’ ownership group were less then forthright with the truth in their dealings with the city of Seattle. And it is once again the same thing here with the NBA in their dealings with the city of Sacramento .
This episode still remains unresolved and I as an avid NBA fan am simply not looking forward to the fallout that could very well happen should things actually become somewhat volatile between the parties concerned .
MLB for its part has become an archaic organization that’s so badly ran that it makes the federal government look like doyennes of efficiency . Each time I simply hear anything uttered from the mouth of MLB Commisioner Bud Selig or anyone of his subordinates within baseball’s hierarchy I’ve got to laugh at this bumbling buffoon and his loyal minion ! Never mind the idiocy cointinually shown by the team owners and their front office executives as they’ve essentially made their game financially susceptible to a meltdown not seen within the game. You have something of a tyrannical and autocratic commissioner in Bud Selig, who seemingly thinks that the best way for a franchise to obtain a new ballpark is for him to berate the ownership of a ballclub and its local government as has been done by the commissioner with the Tampa Bay Rays and the county governmental agencies of Hillsborough and Pinellas County . Furthermore , in doing so with the front office of the Rays , Selig has threatened the team with the fact that unless they obtain a new ballpark to replace their present venue of Tropicana Field then they will never host an MLB All Star Game . Since when did Selig hold that much sway over this league and the owners I’d like to know ?
Bud Selig’s time has come and past within baseball and thankfully he’ll be soon stepping down from the position which he’s actually held for over a decade as first an interim commissioner and then full-time. In that time we’ve seen the highs and lows within the game. Perhaps none more so than the stoppage during what would have been the 1994-95 season and then his bumbled handling of the whole steroid issue and the fallout from it all. During that era of ill repute , within the game some of baseball’s most hallowed records have been obliterated by steroid enchanced performances right under the very noses of the owners , managers and the very union that ought to be representing the very best interests of its members , the MLBPA and its then Executive Director Donald Fehr sought to hide behind their right to privacy while actually breaking the laws of the land. Subsequently what might be even more asinine was the very fact that despite numerous hearings in front of the various House and Senate Comittee not much has actually changed within the game. Its steroid policy has been somewhat comical and the very fact that Manny Ramirez having twice failed a steroid drug test , serving his first mandatory 50 game suspension , rather than face the mandatory 100 game suspension for a second failed test , walked away from the game announcing his retirement. As to Selig’s own thoughts on the matter he simply failed to address that issue . And one simply thought that this type of idiocy could only be shown within the Halls of Congress !
After the failure of a season that was said to be filled with hope , the fall from grace of the Minnesota Vikings had to have been welcomed by the vast majority of NFL fans . A 6-10 season within the NFC North pretty much summed up a rather inept season by a team that many tv analysts had favored to win the Superbowl . A team that was filled with a litany of Pro Bowl players and an alleged leader in Brett Favre simply fell by the wayside as their season imploded under the weight of expectations and the actual inept play of Favre , himself .
With the firing of Brad Childress and his successor in Leslie Frazier being named during the season the Vikings sought to redeem themselves as the year came to a close . Now as we all know things didn’t end as the team had hoped and they merely suffered in silence with the indignity of Favre retiring under a cloud of suspicion as to his off the field conduct concerning his behavior while a player with the New York Jets . Now in spite of it all the team will start afresh as it looks to Christian Ponder quite possibly to lead this team with regard to its immdeiate future . . Having drafted the former Noles’ player 12th overall in the first round of the NFL Draft it seems that Frazier, his coaching staff , the front office led by GM Rick Spielman may well feel that the choice of Ponder was a prudent one. Should there be a season to be played then we may well find out if that will very much be the case .
The biggest stumbling block for the Vikings however and for their beleaguered owner Zygi Wilf and his partners and whether not the state legislature in Minnesota will successfully vote to finance the building of a new venue for the franchise to replace the aging Hubert Humphrey Metrodome /Mall of The America Stadium . A facility now that the team and its fans have somewhat become accustomed to but now feel that it has simply outlived its usefulness . However , while the deliberations go on within the state legislature it has to be said that with it having to overcome a budget deficit of $ 5 billion the state governor Mark Dayton will be hard pressed to approve this bill and the financing with there being an estimated $ 1.1 billion for this project. And whereas, the NFL under its commissioner Roger Goodell has a contingency stadium fund that’s meant to assist teams in their initial funding issues and requirements but rarely do teams actually take advantage of that proxy choosing instead to forgo that route looking instead to seek public funding within the communities where they reside. And repeatedly that has been the norm for teams within the NFL even if in part they do put up a nominal sum to implement that communities largesse .
Governor Dayton has met with Roger Goodell has to discuss the issue and the qualms that he has given his state’s delicate situation. But given the league’s own problem’s and the unresolved labor issue and its collective bargaining agreement it does make the situation for Dayton and his state delegates all the more tenuous . This issue may well be resolved but not necessarily to everyone’s satisfaction especially one would have thought amongst the constituents within the state of Minnesota . I don’t know that Goodell and the league hierarchy will press the legislature to come to a quick decision but I’d hazard a guess that Zygi Wilf will be amongst those pressing the delegates within the legislature for a quick decision on this matter. The stakes are very high for all concerned because if the vote should be against the public funding for a new venue then you simply bet that Wilf and his partners will seek the league’s approval in relocating the team elsewhere . It’s their ball to do with as they please and nothing displeases a sports’ hierarchy more than when they simply can’t get their own way . It has been the way that all of these leagues have conducted themselves over the years and it’s not about to change at this juncture !
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that it’s appropriate that taxpayers’ funds should be used to build sports venues for what are in a sense is a private enterprise ? Simply chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit on this topic .
Alan aka tophatal ………………………….
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , second from left, looks on as Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton speaks during a news conference at the governors residence in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The governor met with Goodell and his staff. AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores ….
(2) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 17: NFL players’ lawyers Jeffrey Kessler, James Quinn and Barbara P. Berens walk with former NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith after leaving court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down in March. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ……
(3) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields, right, reacts after retiring New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson, left, to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees scored two runs in the inning. Tampa would go on to lose the game 6-2 against their divisional rivals the Yankees . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….
(4) Tampa Bay Rays’ Casey Kotchman flips his bat after he struck out against New York Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson to end the sixth inning with the bases loaded during an MLB baseball game Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …….
(5) In this photo taken Friday, May 13, 2011, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, right, discuss the Sacramento Kings basketball team with California state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, as they walk into Steinberg’s Capitol office in Sacramento, Calif. Johnson, a former NBA all-star with the Phoenix Suns, has worked the last couple of months to keep the Kings in Sacramento . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ….
(6) Minnesota Vikings fans applaud during a news conference Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Arden Hills, Minn., announcing a Vikings deal with Ramsey County to collaborate on a $1.1 billion retractable-roof football stadium to be built on the site of the former Army ammunitions plant in Arden Hills. AP Photo/Jim Mone …….
(7) Minnesota Vikings team owners Zygi, center, and Mark Wilf, right, visit with Ramsey county commissioner Tony Bennett Tuesday, May 10, 2011 in Arden Hills, Minn.,at the site of a proposed $1.1 billion retractable-roof football stadium on the grounds of the old Army ammunitions plant in Arden Hills. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……..
Eastern Conference Finals
Western Conference Finals