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.