You know where I stand on the issue of public funding for ballparks. If not: I think it’s only slightly preferable to a swift kick to the groin. Not a fan.
But what if, instead of it being a taxpayer thing, it was a matter of private investment? That’s Phil Rosenthal’s plan for Wrigley Field: let the public buy shares in the ballpark and use that money for the $200-300 million in renovations the joint needs.
It’s one of those ideas that sound kind of neat when you first hear it, but that doesn’t hold up under even moderate scrutiny. The moderate scrutiny comes from Ballpark Digest, which deconstructs Rogers’ proposal. He explains why it wouldn’t work within baseball’s current system — neither MLB nor the Cubs have any desire to offer the kind of transparency required of such a deal — and while it wouldn’t work structurally. Mostly because it would require way too many investors offering way too much money per share to both finance the thing and to keep anyone from gaining a controlling interest over the ballpark.
Nice idea, I guess. But I don’t know why so many people spend so much of their time trying to think of ways to help billionaires with their million-dollar problems.