Just what the fresh hell is this?

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The city of Arlington is apparently ready to again play ball with the Texas Rangers.

Sources with the city say there will be a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Friday to make an “important economic development announcement.” Speculation is that the city and Texas Rangers have agreed on plans to build a stadium with a roof that would be funded in part by a half-cent sales tax once AT&T Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys, is paid off.

The ballpark would cost approximately $900 million and be split equally between the city and the Rangers.

That comes from the Star-Telegram, in a report that brings the shamelessness of local governments and sports franchises to a new low. Here is a group of cretins preparing to take hundreds of millions of dollars from local taxpayers so that the Rangers, who currently play in a gorgeous, modern stadium that was built in 1994, can have a new ballpark to play in.

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New stadiums are always a bad deal for taxpayers, but this reported proposal is especially rotten. The Rangers’ current stadium was built as part of the Neo Olde Tyme Ballpark craze that swept baseball in the mid-90's. Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Arlington, and Atlanta all got new baseball stadiums from 1992-1994, and each one was meant to be a crown jewel of its respective city, an immaculately constructed park that would hasten urban renewal and, designed to be timeless, last forever.

And for the most part, that’s what was built. Each of those stadiums are still wonderful places to take in a ballgame, and they feel just as well-constructed and luxurious today as they did in the 90s. Arlington taxpayers forked over $135 million to get their new ballpark in 1994, the idea being they’d never have to do so again in their lifetimes. The citizens of Atlanta helped pay for Turner Field in 1996, which was supposed to bring urban renewal to the city.

Now the Atlanta Braves want to get out of the city and build a new stadium in the suburbs, closer to their ticket base. The Rangers want to abandon their current ballpark, the one with the classic look that was such a big selling point back in 1994, so that they can build a new one with a big-ass retractable roof. I look forward to the year 2035, when the Braves decide they need a stadium closer to the city center, and the Rangers decide their retractable roof is garish and too costly to maintain.

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Photo via AP