Wednesday, April 05, 2006

High Expectations

Praise the Lord! The stadium tax passed! Can we move on now?

Seriously, I'm one of those who would have much preferred a plan to put a new stadium downtown, near the new Sprint Center and KC Power & Light entertainment district. Turning a few blocks of abandoned warehouses into a ballpark and some shopping and lofts would have been a nice thing. Alas, that proposal was never made, and since I'm not a Jackson County resident I wouldn't have been allowed to vote for it anyway, so I'm okay with the alternate plan.

Sure, I think there's no way the Royals can spend over $200 million to upgrade Kauffman Stadium. A good chunk of that money is probably going straight into David Glass' pocket. And sure, the rolling roof thing failed, making the renovations to Arrowhead Stadium a bit stupid as well as overpriced, since there will now be no Super Bowl to offset the cost. But overall I'm glad it passed, for two main reasons.

First, now we don't have to talk about this anymore. I'm sure the roof will be proposed again, and it would be nice to get a Super Bowl, so I'm sure there will still be that talk for a while, but otherwise all of the talk radio guys can finally give this thing a rest. The tax has passed, there will be no downtown baseball, the teams are locked into 25-year leases, and that's that. Maybe we can finally talk about sports again.

The larger reason why I'm glad this thing was approved is because now David Glass has no excuses. The fans of his team have spoken loud and clear. We love baseball, we love the Royals, and we'll pay our own money to keep them here and make them competitive. Mission accomplished.

So now, Mr. Glass, it's put up or shut up time. You will soon have a state of the art stadium that will include a restaurant and a 9,500 seat pavilion to attract other events. An All-Star Game will be coming to town as soon as all the work is done. I'm sure there are a posse of beancounters in your employ who have already made multiple projections of the added revenue your team can expect from all this. Spend it. All of it. Pay big bonuses to the players you draft. Hire better front office personnel so we know those draft picks will actually be made wisely. Build new minor league facilities. Hire great instructors at every level. Attract veteran players who want to come to the safe, friendly Midwestern town with the state of the art ballpark and the faithful fans. And win, period.

Don't give me excuses about it being years before all of this added revenue is realized. Do it on spec. The voters did. They pledged to give you over $200 million of their hard-earned money even though the team is currently lousy. They did it even though there is little semblance of a plan coming out of the Royals' front office to make the team better. They acted on faith.

Some immediate return on that investment would be appreciated.

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