Money on the Table

What happens if a government defaults on stadium payments to a team?


A lot of sports teams get payments from local governments to pay off stadium construction from diverted property taxes. The system is called tax increment financing – TIFs for short — and the decision of a government to offer that money to sports teams is based on the presumed rise in property tax revenues caused by the stadium being built. It’s a way for governments to claim that stadiums are paying for themselves, as the money wouldn’t have been coming in if the stadium hadn’t improved the overall area to begin with.

Except, often, that tax revenues don’t increase and the government just ends up paying for the stadium out of general tax dollars. By then, however, the stadium is built and people tend not to notice too much.

Neil deMause of Field of Schemes has a great post up today noting that, at least in Reno, Nevada, people are noticing. Indeed, there is at least some suggestion that the local government may just stop paying the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate for the new park out of general funds. deMause wonders what might happen if that actually were to occur.

It’s a great point about an often-overlooked side of public financing of sports facilities.

Kyle Schwarber is on a private plane en route to Cleveland

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 07:  Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on April 7, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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This is happening, people.

Earlier we heard Joe Maddon being non-committal about Kyle Schwarber joining the Cubs for the World Series. Now it seems pretty clear that the Cubs are committal indeed: Jon Morosi reports that Schwarber is en route to Cleveland from Arizona on a private jet and that he’s expected to DH in Game 1 tomorrow night.

Schwarber hasn’t played in a game that counted since April 7. His potent bat is could be a windfall for a Cubs team that didn’t have a game-changing option at DH in the American League park.

Schwarber lost the whole season due to a knee injury, but he hit .246/.355/.487 with 16 homers and 43 RBI in 69 games as a rookie in 2015. His big coming out party was in the playoffs, however, when he hit three homers in five postseason games while going 7-for-13 with two walks in five games.

Carlos Santana in left field? Sure, OK.

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after hitting a home run in the second inning against J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Indians First Baseman/DH Carlos Santana shagged some flyballs in left field during the Indians’ workout today.

Sure, why not? Santana has played one game in the outfield in his major league career and that was over four years ago, but the Indians will have to play in Chicago without the DH, meaning either losing Santana’s bat or that of Mike Napoli.

It would be up to Terry Francona to decide if that happens, but ultimately I don’t think he’ll make it real and, rather, will just forget about it, because Santana’s defense out there would in no way be smooth.

I’m sorry. I’m sick today and I’m on a lot of cold medicine.