Archive for the Ballpark Category

Rays on rail?

Posted in Ballpark, Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Transportation with tags , , , on January 23, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Training wheels for Tampa Choo-ChooDid Mike Sasso (Tampa Tribune Jan. 23, 2012) ask San Diego Metropolitan Transit what it did to their budget when the Padres moved from the mixed-use QUALCOMM stadium they shared with the Chargers, to a new ballpark in downtown San Diego?

And…the Chargers are still talking about also moving out; leaving that stadium mostly unused, but with a terrific, light-rail station.

Maybe the seven West Central Florida counties that make up the focus of TBARTA’s Master Plan should get together with The Rays to determine the most economically advantageous location FOR EVERYONE for a new ballpark?

U.S. 41, 19 and 301 are looking pretty good, and there is lots of cheap land available. People commute on I-75, 275 and 589, but they don’t live, shop, work or go to school there.

Forget I-4, (not a true “interstate” anyway) which is only good for trips to visit The Mouse.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


Ruskin Rays

Posted in Ballpark, FL, Hillsborough County with tags , , on January 15, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Ruskin TomatoThe little community of Ruskin is the Rodney Dangerfield of Hillsborough County: getting no respect.

The Tampa Times wonderful double-truck color map of the Tampa Bay Area today mistakenly shows Ruskin located to the north of Apollo Beach.

Please, when you next review a real map; note that both St. Pete and Tampa are actually closer to Ruskin than they are to each other.

Ruskin has several lovely plots of land available along I-75 that could happily accommodate a Regional Ballpark.

ruskinraysThink about the panache of a team called the Ruskin Rays, in a ballpark under a huge, retractable tomato half.

 An architect should live as little in cities as a painter. Send him to our hills, and let him study there what nature understands by a buttress, and what by a dome.
John Ruskin

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Tampa Ballpark Funding

Posted in Ballpark, Hillsborough County, FL, taxes with tags , , , on October 20, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

There is no “free” money for governments to spend, if that money comes from taxpayers.

It is ludicrous to justify funding a new ballpark with taxes that will no longer be needed to pay off convention center bonds.

If any government doesn’t reduce taxes when it can, it is in effect raising taxes.

taxpayer pickpocketBoth the City of Tampa and the County of Hillsborough each have run their credit cards up to around one-billion dollars. The City and County spent that money against future tax incomes by borrowing the money, with interest, from bond investors.

The tax dollars needed to pay the interest on those bonds keeps us from spending today’s tax dollars on anything else we really need; like for education, health care and first-responders.

Having a downtown ballpark is not a bad idea.

A few years ago, a new ballpark in downtown San Diego, near both an historic district and a convention center worked wonders to improve neighboring property values and resulted in several new hotels and added tourist taxes.

If a new downtown Tampa ballpark can be funded thorough investments from increased downtown property taxes and increased hotel occupancy taxes, I say “Go for it.”

Otherwise, I say “Keep your tax-collecting hands out of my pocket.”

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

No Sunshine for this Ballpark

Posted in Ballpark, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , on December 17, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

My bet is that any new ballpark for the Rays won’t have a retractable roof. All the better to keep out the Sunshine, like the closed-to-the-public meetings the Tampa Chamber plans to have to discuss possible financing plans.

One can only hope that the Tampa businesses who have the most to gain from a new ballpark in their backyards will step up to pay for it.

Oops, there’s that thing about considering how to get more than one county to fund it.

One can also hope that since the meetings will be out of the Sunshine, that no county money, resources or elected officials will be participating.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Working the Rays

Posted in Ballpark, Hillsborough County, FL, Sports with tags , , , on December 11, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

When did baseball stop being about having fun and start being
all about money?

In 1845, the Knickerbocker Club of New York City began using Elysian Fields in Hoboken to play professional baseball. Teams played for the love of the sport. Spectators came to watch for the same reason. No money changed hands.

With the construction of two significant baseball parks in Brooklyn enclosed by fences, enabling promoters there to charge admission to games, the prominence of Elysian Fields began to diminish and with it a diminished love of baseball for for the sake of baseball.

Professional baseball became all about money and it still is.

The arguments for building a new ballpark for the Rays include:

  • Keeping the Rays economically viable
  • Keeping up attendance
  • Keeping key players through higher salaries
  • Keeping a major business
  • Keeping a key contributor to the economy
  • Keeping an attractor for new business in the area

No one is talking about keeping major league baseball in the Tampa Bay area as a fun thing to just go and watch.

You can find the love of baseball and not the love of money in municipal parks, sand lots and quite streets where little league, school and church leagues as well as soft ball and stick ball are played.

Let these university-scholarship-recipient baseball stars start earning a living like the rest of us in our day-jobs and just go out on weekends and evenings to play and watch the game of baseball simply for the sake of baseball.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Zombie Stadiums (& Ballparks)

Posted in Ballpark, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , on September 8, 2010 by

From New York Times:

With more than four decades of evidence to back them up, economists almost uniformly agree that publicly financed stadiums rarely pay for themselves. The notable successes like Camden Yards in Baltimore often involve dedicated taxes or large infusions of private money. Even then, using one tax to finance a stadium can often steer spending away from other, perhaps worthier, projects.

“Stadiums are sold as enormous draws for events, but the economics are clear that they aren’t helping,” said Andrew Moylan, the director of government affairs at the National Taxpayers Union. “It’s another way to add insult to injury for taxpayers.” More…

Watch out for the walking dead Tampa Bay.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Tampa Ballpark Transit?

Posted in Ballpark with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2010 by

It is staggering sometimes how quickly the conversation changes. It seems like only last week that we were all “let the voters decide” about funding a transit plan (which has yet to commit to a single downtown transit route).

And now, all we can talk about is baseball. 

  • The ABC Coalition is asked to make a presentation to the BOCC “to make sure we have a seat at the table.”
  • Tampa Sports Authority is including a new ballpark in their strategic plan “to make sure it is prepared for anything.”
  • Build It Downtown Tampa is formed to “assemble downtown Tampa land for a baseball stadium.”
  • Florida High-speed Rail is also talking Tampa baseball: “in under an hour” from Orlando. 

It will be interesting to observe how the downtown transit route and downtown ballpark location conversations might begin to merge.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen