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Diamondbacks haul out league commissioner scam

Similar to the one attempted by the Chargers/NFL

The baseball team sued Maricopa County for repairs to Chase Field.
The baseball team sued Maricopa County for repairs to Chase Field.

Remember in the early part of the century when the Chargers brought out the National Football League commissioner to blackmail San Diego taxpayers into paying for a new stadium? The commissioner declared that San Diego would not get another Super Bowl until it got a new stadium. Thank goodness, San Diegans didn't fall for the shakedown and are now being celebrated in intelligent media for voting the Chargers down.

Now baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks are putting the same scam to use. The team got the commissioner of Major League Baseball to come to town. He declared in a speech, "To be a major-league quality stadium [Chase Field] needs work. We take very seriously the obligation to have a major league-quality facility in each and every market."

Background: Chase Field, which is air-conditioned, opened in 1998, so it is only 19 years old. Taxpayers shelled out $238 million and the team only put in $115 million. In recent months, the Diamondbacks have pulled out every trick in the stadium scam book to get Maricopa County to put $187 million into Chase for so-called "renovations." Neil deMause of FieldofSchemes.com points out that some of the things the Diamondbacks are demanding are "upgrading scoreboards and refurbishing luxury suites."

The team, demanding the loot, sued Maricopa County over the matter in January. However, the field is owned by the municipality in a lease that runs through the 2027 season. Under terms of the contract, the team cannot pursue a new ballpark until 2024.

Back in the 1990s, when taxpayers were expected to pay two-thirds of the ballpark cost, the Maricopa County said it would boost its sales tax by a quarter percentage. The controversy got so hot that one of the local politicians was shot by someone pointing out that the county was in bad fiscal shape and couldn't spend this kind of money. The politician was not injured seriously. Phoenix needs some hot controversy — without weapons — to thwart the Diamondbacks now.

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The baseball team sued Maricopa County for repairs to Chase Field.
The baseball team sued Maricopa County for repairs to Chase Field.

Remember in the early part of the century when the Chargers brought out the National Football League commissioner to blackmail San Diego taxpayers into paying for a new stadium? The commissioner declared that San Diego would not get another Super Bowl until it got a new stadium. Thank goodness, San Diegans didn't fall for the shakedown and are now being celebrated in intelligent media for voting the Chargers down.

Now baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks are putting the same scam to use. The team got the commissioner of Major League Baseball to come to town. He declared in a speech, "To be a major-league quality stadium [Chase Field] needs work. We take very seriously the obligation to have a major league-quality facility in each and every market."

Background: Chase Field, which is air-conditioned, opened in 1998, so it is only 19 years old. Taxpayers shelled out $238 million and the team only put in $115 million. In recent months, the Diamondbacks have pulled out every trick in the stadium scam book to get Maricopa County to put $187 million into Chase for so-called "renovations." Neil deMause of FieldofSchemes.com points out that some of the things the Diamondbacks are demanding are "upgrading scoreboards and refurbishing luxury suites."

The team, demanding the loot, sued Maricopa County over the matter in January. However, the field is owned by the municipality in a lease that runs through the 2027 season. Under terms of the contract, the team cannot pursue a new ballpark until 2024.

Back in the 1990s, when taxpayers were expected to pay two-thirds of the ballpark cost, the Maricopa County said it would boost its sales tax by a quarter percentage. The controversy got so hot that one of the local politicians was shot by someone pointing out that the county was in bad fiscal shape and couldn't spend this kind of money. The politician was not injured seriously. Phoenix needs some hot controversy — without weapons — to thwart the Diamondbacks now.

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34

Upgrading scoreboards? The place is 19 years old, and they have already updated their scoreboards once.

And thankfully, they do have A/C, but they can't even outdraw the Padres.

Let the D-Backs move someplace else in Maricopa County and see who will build them a new stadium.

Feb. 23, 2017

aardvark: They will have to win the lawsuit before moving, at least as I read the situation. And I doubt they will win it. If I lived in Phoenix I would pass around a petition, asking people to swear they will never go to another game until the team pays for any upgrades itself. Much of what the team wants is basically maintenance. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 23, 2017

Don: And even if they do win the lawsuit--where would they go? More importantly, who would build them a new stadium? If it's in Maricopa County, it would have to be a dome, and even though it would probably be smaller than where they play now, it ain't going to be cheap. Nor do I see the D-Backs shelling out very much money for it.

Feb. 23, 2017

aardvark: It is disgraceful that pro teams demand new stadiums after 25 years. University stadiums can last four times that long or more -- with maintenance and expansions, of course. It's a matter of money. If citizen-fools will provide it, what the hell? Chase is only 19 years old. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 23, 2017

What's with the pix? Water damage? In Phoenix? Where did the water come from? It must have been salty (fan pee?).

Feb. 23, 2017

Flapper: Sorry. In this instance, the art was not in my purview. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 23, 2017

All pix should be labeled. Please pass to responsible parties.

Still, it does not reflect well on your blog.

Feb. 24, 2017

Flapper: OK, I will speak to responsible parties. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 26, 2017

It's ALWAYS about spending other people's money for Billionaires. Thank God San Diegans dodged several bullets fired by Spanos and the politicians he had in his pocket over the last 20 years.

Feb. 23, 2017

JustWondering: I suspect the Chargers destroyed themselves deliberately in the convadium election. They did not want to win. They wanted to join Kroenke in L.A., despite the animus between the two owners. They wanted to lose the election so the NFL would be convinced that San Diego didn't want the team. The splay-foot orations of Spanos and Fabiani guaranteed that they would lose, because the convadium split the establishment. The hoteliers knew it wouldn't work -- just as Spanos and Fabiani hoped. The hoteliers and their money helped to beat the doltish convadium, just as ownership hoped it would. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 23, 2017

Could be your theory Don...Or Could be my theory that Spanos and Fabiani are just stumbling, bumbling idiots?! Didn't it appear that all Fabiani cared about was keeping his legal meter running as long as he could stay on the gravy train of Spanos easy money for never ending legal fees?! Has that train now left the station and has Fabiani has left town to get more suckers to take his terrible advice?! Inquiring minds want to know. Needless to say, I was never impressed with Fabiani. Was Dean Spanos "in over his head"?! . Did Fabiani give terrible advice at many critical junctures?! Wasn't Inglewood Dean Spanos's project and idea?! Were Fabiani and Dean Spanos outmaneuvered by Kroneke?! Was it about more than "just the money"?! Why didn't Spanos tie up the Inglewood property and deal before Kroneke jumped in?! Did Kroneke steal the project right out from under Dean Spanos's nose?! How will Dean Spanos coexist with his business rival/enemy Kronke in Inglewood?!

Feb. 26, 2017

SportsFan0000: I agree that Dean Spanos is very slow on the learning curve but I wouldn't say that of Fabiani. When he joined the team as flack in the early part of the century his stated objective was to get a subsidized stadium in San Diego or get the team a home in L.A. Since 1995, the Chargers had eyed L.A. voraciously. Thus, at that time, Fabiani's job was to steal money from state schools and steer it to a billionaire sports team owner. (How honorable a life objective!!)

He made a lot of money doing that. (After Governor Brown changed redevelopment strategy, stealing from school children was no longer the objective.) Fabiani's task came to alienate San Diegans and sweet-talk the NFL and L.A. Now Spanos has what he wants; it may be a flop. No matter what, Fabiani will probably stay on the payroll. Dean Spanos is too slow on the uptake to do the talking. Fabiani will continue to get rich working for the Chargers. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 26, 2017

Kroenke had a leg up on the Inglewood property before Spanos knew about it. He reportedly offered Dean a chance to get in as the junior partner at the outset, but Dean didn't want that. Kroenke had the inside track because Walmart owned the parcel; Kroenke has developed many Walmart properties and his wife is a Walmart heiress.

And, of course, Spanos talks a big game but never had the financial resources to build a stadium on his own or even to go 50-50 on building a stadium.

March 3, 2017

Matt101: Yes, Kroenke owes much of his wealth to his long-time role as a builder of Wal-Mart stores. And, of course, his wife is a Walton. He is worth $6 billion or $7 billion. She is worth $4 billion or $5 billion. Those estimates may be off, of course.

I don't think the Spanos family had the means to be even a junior partner in Kroenke's development. Most of the family's wealth is in ownership of the Chargers. Best, Don Bauder

March 4, 2017

Scam by Dbacks ownership. Why don't they put a quality product on the field?! They are putting team profits and massive TV revenues into the private pockets of team ownership instead of spending it on the on field product and instead of spending it on upgrading Chase Field. If they want swanky new video boards and even more plush corporate boxes, then they better put their own cash and credit on the table to get it. The USA taxpayers are fed up with these constant billionaire stadium shakedown schemes..

Feb. 24, 2017

I'm not sure that "USA taxpayers are fed up." This recent debacle involving the Chargers' failed attempt to extort a new taxpayer-financed stadium is not the norm. It is one of a few exceptions, along with the refusal of LA and environs to build a taxpayer-financed stadium to host a NFL team. Most cities have been willing to some extent to pay up. Phoenix is a strange city, sprawling over dozens of square miles, and the suburbs even more area. It is in a phase now that suggests where California was fifty or more years ago.

I do hope you are correct in that we may see no more of this foolishness anywhere in the US. But to me, the trend is not yet established.

Feb. 25, 2017

Visduh: I hope you and other readers didn't conclude that I said that San Diego is leading a multi-front battle against billionaire sports owner/thieves. I don't believe that. Even the cerebrally oriented Minneapolis/St. Paul caved in. New York, which is supposed to be so smart, surrendered completely to the Yankees. San Diego's rejection is NOT, unfortunately, a case of Moses leading the tribes to safety and prosperity. The pro sports scam is in place, but the San Diego victory -- along with L.A. and San Francisco resistance to the scam -- are positive moves. More and more citizens around the U.S. are seeing through the billionaire sports team scam.Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 26, 2017

SportsFan0000: Yes, Diamondbacks ownership is putting profits and TV revenues ahead of a quality product on the field. What else is new? Pro sports is a business. It's a maker of billionaires. However, those billionaire/owners convince the public that their objective is to have a winning team. Some people -- those who pay big bucks to go to games -- believe that poppycock. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 24, 2017

like most entertainment, the outcome is scripted.

Feb. 25, 2017

Murphyjunk: I don't believe that pro football games are scripted now -- except in extremely rare circumstances. Back when player salaries were quite low -- say, in the 1940s and 1950s -- games were fixed because players were wooed by the money. In the 1970s, points were shaved by, say, the kicker missing a field goal. Now, player pay is so high that it isn't going to happen often, if at all. Actually, Las Vegas and other oddsmakers would prefer that games not be fixed, unless THEY got the information, of course.

There is still fixing in college and university games, in which players are not supposed to be paid. We had a fixing scandal at USD not long ago in basketball.

Pro wrestling has gone public. In its prospectus, it referred to itself as "scripted entertainment." But we've always known that pro wrestling was scripted. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 26, 2017

this seems to put it all in perspective

atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was interviewed saying "It is predetermined that these two teams would be here, I wish my team was selected to be in the Super Bowl, but these two gentlemen deserve it".

Judges ruled that fixing a game for entertainment purposes was completely LEGAL.

Feb. 27, 2017

Murphyjunk: I would like to hear more about that. Send me a link. i have never heard that. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 27, 2017

just google the last part

Feb. 28, 2017

Murphyjunk: Some of the entries in those two blogs, including the responses by readers, seem persuasive. (A couple of years ago, a ref in the NBA admitted he was making calls meant to fix games.)

However, what bothers me is this: If this many players and referees were in on a fix, how could this be kept secret? Some vengeful player is going to blab. It would be easy to fix golf, boxing, and tennis contests, but not team sports, despite the historically close association of owners and players with mobsters.

Admittedly, it is widely believed among players and others that the Super Bowl in which Namath and his Jets beat the Colts was fixed. The banning of Paul Hornung decades ago smacked of suspicion of the fix. When Michael Jordan supposedly "quit" basketball for a year, eyebrows should have been cocked.

Fixing and point shaving of games happen, particularly in university sports. But I am not convinced that they are that common in professional sports, because player salaries are so high. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 28, 2017

its just another way to rub fans noses in it so they may come to realize they are being duped.

Feb. 28, 2017

Murphyjunk: It would be glorious if the nation's fans realized they are being duped, particularly in taxpayer subsidization of billionaire owners. But it will take many years and much education to get the message through. Sports and gambling are woven deeply into the fabric of our society. Most people just don't want to hear the truth. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 28, 2017

Mission Valley land grabbing is like pro sports, the players change, but the game remains the same. Now that the Chargers have left, we are told that MLS will play in San Diego, if we build a smaller stadium where fans won't have to look at empty seats. Time was, promoters tried to fill empty seats, now they want them bulldozed. Pay no attention to the 4000 proposed residential units behind the curtain.

Feb. 27, 2017

Psycholizard: One would like to "pay no attention." But that would require paying no attention to the media. There are two bidders in the running now -- one of whom is Papa Doug Manchester, who wants to repair Qualcomm (a good idea) and bring in another football team, such as the Raiders (a lousy idea). I suspect more bidders will come forward, all seeking a handout from taxpayers, even though they will claim that are not panhandling. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 27, 2017

Its hard to take any of the offers ( persons making the offer) at face value and think things will be as promised.

Feb. 28, 2017

Murphyjunk: A billionaire owner claiming he will not tap taxpayers is as believable as a politician claiming he will spend billions on the military, launch a multi-billion dollar infrastructure improvement program, reform Obamacare while keeping it open to everybody, and slash taxes while reducing the deficit. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 28, 2017

like robbing peter and ignoring paul?

March 1, 2017

Murphyjunk: Great analogy. I have never heard it before. Best, Don Bauder

March 1, 2017

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