Sunday, March 15, 2009

Inside Baseball

The other day we found ourselves in a waiting room where there were two pals, about 65 years old, talking. They were both professional baseball scouts. One of them had Hall of Famers to his credit.

It has been a while since we had a strong personal interest in professional baseball. The interest we had fell away after our younger years: Rather than watching, we prefer the sports in which we actually engage and if we don’t have to get two teams together to get started so much the better. Still, there is a certain amount of fascination listening to “inside baseball” and our ears perked up all the more when the chat of these two fellows touched upon one of our Noticing New York urban planning concerns, the financing of Yankee Stadium.

We’ve written before about the value of parking spaces at Yankee Stadium and Mayor Bloomberg’s misplaced focus in negotiating the terms of the public financing of Yankee Stadium. Specifically:

. . . . the Bloomberg administration paid a very, very high price for a “free” luxury suite for its own use at Yankee Stadium including, but not limited to, giving the Yankees 250 parking spaces in exchange.
(For a lot more detail and quantified analysis see: Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Mayor’s Focus on City Planning Matters: Some Quantified Analysis.)

Not only has the public financing of the stadium cost taxpayers an inordinate amount of money, but it has also been commented that the final product is costing the baseball fans a lot more.

Accordingly Noticing New York ears perked up at ths exchange:

Baseball Scout #1: “The New Yankee Stadium: . . (Pause) . . Parking, twenty-nine dollars.”

Baseball Scout #2: “Is that any special kind of parking?”

Baseball Scout #1: “Nope. General Admission.”

Baseball Scout #2: : “Makes you sick!” (Maybe it was good that they were already in a doctor’s office.) “Do you think they will make money?”

Baseball Scout #1: “In the beginning when they first open. After that they are going to have to win.”

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