Or as the good folks at Hardball Times are calling it, The House that Corruption Built.
Is it any surprise that Mayor Michael Bloomberg pressured NYC tax assessors to inflate the value of the new Yankee Stadium land from $27 million to $204 million? Is it any surprise that once that land was “re-assessed,” the team could then qualify for tax-exempt bond issues?
Is it any surprise that the team that just spent $180 million on Mark Teixeira, $160 million on C.C. Sabathia, and $83 million on A.J. Burnett also wanted sweetheart tax deals?
In times when our economy is faltering, and revenues are down, the Yankees spend nearly half a billion dollars in one offseason, and STILL have the nerve to ask for sweetheart deals?
And let’s not forget the Mets, whose owner Fred Wilpon claims the Mets are doing just fine in spite of losing “hundreds of millions of dollars” as a result of scheming by his friend Bernard Madoff.
I guess if you’re indirectly receiving $400 million in federal bailout money, you’d be doing just fine yourself.
It really frustrates me, particularly when barraged by the constant doomsday economic speak from the media, when you hear that sports franchises continue to benefit from corporate welfare. I clearly enjoy sports a great deal, but for sports to be as dependent on government subsidies — essentially making sport an exercise in socialism, of sorts — runs counter to so many of the values that sports fans cherish.
I want to avoid the political on here. You know how the old cliche goes about not discussing religion and politics.
But when something this egregious comes up, it’s hard to ignore it.
Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger — I won’t bother to link, as they’re getting enough traffic as it is — published an article entitled “Hell Houses.” Given that title, you’d assume this had something to do with grandiose Halloween displays. Instead, it’s a photoessay of several Seattle-area homes with prominent, easily visble signs supporting Republican candidates. Included in the article are the homes’ exact addresses.
I’m not going to presume what the staff’s exact purpose was in doing so. So let me ask the question. What would the point be in printing the addresses of private residences that feature Republican campaign signs? What exactly are they implying their readers should do?
I’m a staunch defender of First Amendment rights, particularly for the press. But what do you do when the press neglects its principal role of public information clearinghouse and moves into the advocacy forum? And just to clarify, if this weren’t advocacy on the part of The Stranger staff, why else would they title the article “Hell Houses,” print exact addresses, and describe the displays (and the people that put them up) in such fiercely negative terms? For that matter, where is the corresponding article and photoessay about equally ghoulish displays of partisan Democratic support?
What public purpose does this serve?
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, the Stranger has now pulled the article from its website.
Maybe I’m dense, but I fail to comprehend the uproar about insert cards such as the ones below.
If you don’t like the cards, really, don’t buy them. They’re not part of the base set. It’s no more a gimmick than any other insert card. And frankly, I’d rather see an insert of a vice-presidential candidate than your run-of-the-mill superduperhypermegarefractorexpealadocious.
There are too many people as it is who are so politically uninvolved and detached from their civic duties that they can name the 38th, 39th, and 40th man of their favorite baseball team yet haven’t the faintest whisper of a notion who it is that runs their federal, state, and local governments. If throwing Sarah Palin, Joe Biden, John McCain, and Barack Obama cards into packs of baseball cards is what it takes to get the average person familiar with these people, then it’s a worthwhile task. It’s meaningful, and not at all the gimmick that so many are trying to write this off as.
You know what’s a gimmick? Having nearly infinitesimal parallels of the same card in the same set. I don’t want 17 different versions of a Ryan Theriot Baseball Heroes card — he’s not a Baseball Hero, and what the heck is the point of all these parallels?
I digress. I happen to LOVE the politically-themed inserts this year. I don’t love that they’re short-printed, thus creating artificial demand. But what I thoroughly abhor is all the hand-wringing about them. Seriously, get over it. They’re baseball cards. Bigger fish to fry, you know?