Friday, March 12, 2010

Dodgers Continue To Stick It To Cubs

Two years after summarily dispatching the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 postseason, 3-0 in the NLDS, the Dodgers are still sticking it to the Cubs, who are threatening to leave Arizona if they don't get financial incentives. The Arizona government, oddly enough, is trying to get other Cactus League teams to fund the Cubs' ransom. And the Dodgers, thankfully, have the balls to stick up against this malarkey.

First, the Dodgers (along with three other teams) boycotted the kickoff breakfast (hopefully it wasn't a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast):

Four teams boycotted the annual Cactus League kickoff breakfast - hosted by Mesa this year - to protest a proposed leaguewide ticket surcharge to build a new Chicago Cubs spring-training complex and to finance other improvements.

The Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds all were absent from an otherwise upbeat breakfast where other organizations thanked their host cities on the eve of the 2010 season. [...]

Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers vice president of communications, released a similar statement by e-mail.

"The Dodgers and White Sox simply feel it is wrong to ask fans coming to Camelback Ranch to pay for another team's new stadium with a surcharge on their tickets," he said.

The breakfast was hosted at Mesa's Hohokam Stadium and attended by Mayor Scott Smith, who has criticized White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf for opposing legislation that would keep the Cubs in Mesa after his own team received public financing for a stadium.

The breakfast was also attended by state Rep. John McComish, R-Fountain Hills, the House majority leader and sponsor of legislation that would partially finance a new Chicago Cubs training complex and pay for improvements to other Cactus League facilities.

"I think it's a shame to boycott a kickoff breakfast," McComish said. "That's what petulant children do. In this case, they already had their turn at bat, they got their stadium."

McComish's bill would add a $1 surcharge to car-rental fees in Maricopa County and an 8 percent surcharge to all Cactus League tickets. McComish says it would generate $58 million that would finance bonds issued by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority for a new Cubs complex. Mesa would kick in another $26 million for a public financing project capped at $84 million. The Cubs would pay for the land.

Petulant children? Mr. McComish, I expected better from the legislator of the year. Why should other teams fund a competitor, just because your state (like many others) is out of money?

Even your own constituents think this is absurd:

Thus comes House Bill 2736, which would slap an 8 percent surcharge on tickets sold by 13 of the 15 Cactus League teams and add a dollar tax to car rentals in Maricopa County.

This, we are told, is not merely to raise money to pay the state's $59 million share of a new $84 million Cubs complex. No, it's to create a new funding stream that will help all teams, now that the public trough at which they feed has run dry.

Last week, I finally got the details of how the not-just-for-the-Cubs tax would work.

In year one, $4.45 million would be raised, according to Mesa's projections. Of that, $4.43 million would go toward repaying bonds for the Cubs complex and the remaining $22,965 could be divided among the other 14 teams.

Hey, maybe they could buy a set of bats or something.

Not until the 18th year of the tax would the other 14 teams combined see as much money as the Cubs.

At the end of 25 years, the tax would raise $110 million to cover the state's share of the Cubs complex - the real cost once interest is added in. That would leave $81 million for all other teams. Not enough even to build a single sports palace. [...]

Said the city's lobbyist, John MacDonald, [E]ven though a number of other teams including the White Sox, the Dodgers, the Indians and Reds, etc., have bellied up to the state bar in the last four to six years and siphoned off all the money from (the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority), you got to the bar a little bit too late guys and now it's a cash bar so you're on your own."

I'm glad that the Dodgers are standing up to keep surcharge taxes from hitting fans like Roberto from VSIMH. Sorry, Cubbies. Have a great time in Florida; could I interest you in an unused and slightly outdated (albeit historical) Vero Beach facility?


MeanieBreanie said...

Teams and fans should be outraged. Socialism has no place in MLB.

Kyle Baker said...

I would say "Suck it, Cubs!" but a) it's clearly evident that they already do and b) it would just piling on the misery.

Bartman rules!

Steve Sax said...

I just added one paragraph to the last quote which is awesome (sorry I missed it the first time), about how the Cubs have now gotten up to the bar (after the Dodgers had already gotten free drinks) and it's a cash bar now. Ha!

MeanieBreanie said...

That's brilliant Sax! I'll drink to that. And with that I'm out of here to go have one :)