JM: Oh, vast majority is positive, by far. I've only had a couple of people stop by the shop and say, "No, it's a ballpark, it's not a stadium!" What's the difference? You know, look up "stadium" in the dictionary. But semantically it's not an issue. The vast majority is just people walking in. People are on their way to the bar next door, the Waterfront... They'll stop in. Like one guy will stop in to get some bumper stickers and the other guys are kind of razzing him, like, "Oh, don't you want a ballpark, you asshole?" That kind of thing. It's mostly good-natured. A lot of my friends are for the ballpark, for personal reasons usually, because their company buys luxury seats or whatever. But the vast majority of people I've dealt with, on the road, too, with the bumper sticker, people just say, "Right on, man." I would say right now there' s a majority of people that are -- at least in my anecdotal experience -- there's a majority that are not quite thrilled about the whole idea. I'm encouraged by the reaction I've gotten. I think it's pretty interesting. I just figured it's a done deal. I'll protest just because I'm some pissed-off guy who has a shop down in Little Italy, but the reaction has just been amazing. It kind of warms my heart, just a little bit. It's kind of weird, but it's been overwhelmingly positive.
The only really negative thing that's happened so far for me is that I took the sign down that said, 'Stadium, thanks, got one," I took it down to the big Padres hoopla that they had down there on Saturday, and I stood respectfully outside of the area where they were actually having the event. I held the sign up just to let people know that, hey, not everybody's happy. I wasn't organized. I wasn't associated with anyone. I didn't organize with anybody to go down there. A guy, Christian Michaels, called me and told me the event was happening, so I just showed up, but I didn't meet anybody or anything, so I was kind of down there by myself. It was a little scary. People were incredibly hostile. I thought maybe these were hockey fans; they were pretty pugilistic.
MP: What were they saying?
JM: It was mostly invective; it was awfully offensive. Considering, too, that a lot of these people had their kids with them. It was surprising that the reaction was so overblown and so hostile. It was kind of shocking. I was shaken a little bit. I'd have people come up to me and just yell in my face, "You're a fucking asshole. Fuck you! Go fuck yourself! You're an idiot!" I'd say, "Well, do you know something I don't know? If this is a good deal, well, edify me, please." And it was like, they'd say, "Well, fuck you!" and then leave. It was sort of like a bad trip and being in a Simpsons cartoon or something. Bad vibes, you know? And I really felt like, well, I'm a baseball fan, too. I have a lot in common with the people who are for it, so I just wanted to let them know that everybody doesn't think it's a good idea. I didn't want to have a shouting match with people who were foaming at the mouth. But that's kind of how it worked out. It was, frankly, frightening.
MP: What do you intend to do from now on?
JM: Well, I hope I don't have to go to any pro-stadium events. I would like to go to the stadium. I did get a good reaction when I went to a tailgate party with some friends of mine. I put the sign up on one of the guy's cars that was parked right where we were having the tailgate party. The reaction was pretty positive, you know, which is understandable considering that most of the people who are going to the game down at Qualcomm are expecting to have a good time.
General-admission fans are usually farther away in these bitchin' new baseball parks than they are in the old stadiums, which they replaced, you know? The whole deal, apparently, is driven by luxury seating, skybox seating, because for the owners, the team owners, that's what drives this whole thing. They apparently make beaucoup bucks on these things, so they want you and me to construct these things for them so they can rent them for enormous amounts of money. The big argument in San Diego is, "Oh, you're not paying for it, we're not paying for it. It's tot [transit occupancy taxes]. It's some unknown, anonymous people from out of town who are paying for this thing." I've snooped around a little bit. The tot is General Fund money. By definition it's General Funds. It goes straight into the General Funds. So it's not tot money that pays for this thing; it's the General Fund that pays for it. So the city's paying for it. That's what, in essence, the deal is.
MP: So the tot wouldn't be adequate to cover the...
JM: It may very well be, but then it wouldn't be adequate to cover anything else we need. Which interests me. I saw Tom Fat at the event, who owns Fat City/Denny's over there. He's a great guy, he's really active. He's trying to get the north Embarcadero going, which I think is a great idea. North Embarcadero is something that I would support; I would support putting money into north Embarcadero. I think it's something that needs to be developed and needs to be...you know, redevelopment needs to happen in Center City East, north Embarcadero, northwest Logan Heights, all over the place. There are lots of places where we could use this money. I'm thinking, "Tom, what are you doing supporting this thing? Your money for north Embarcadero isn't going to be there when you need it, buddy!" Unless they can get the Port District to cover all that stuff.