In an election year that allegedly stood for the proposition that government needs to stop its careless, spendthrift ways, the citizens of Mesa, Arizona decided to give the Chicago Cubs a total blank check for the construction of a new spring training facility:
On Tuesday, Mesa voters overwhelmingly approved of the City of Mesa’s $99 million investment in a new spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs. The referendum passed with a “yes” vote of more than 63 percent.
$99 million is just the estimate of what the facility — paid for by the city, not the Cubs — will cost to build. It could be more. Just last February they thought it would be $84 million. The actual referendum language said the amount would be “more than $1.5 million.” There is no binding limit to the amount taxpayers will have to fund.
The facility will certainly help the Cubs. Yes, because that’s where their pitchers can do fielding practice and stuff, but also because it will serve as an anchor for a big shopping complex the Cubs’ owners plan to build called Wrigleyville West that would “attempt to recreate the atmosphere surrounding Clark and Addison with shops, bars and restaurants.” Which sounds absolutely horrifying in its synthetic cynicism.
In other news, Forbes ranks the Cubs as the fifth most valuable franchise in baseball, putting their net worth at nearly three quarters of a billion dollars and estimates their revenue to be in the ballpark of $250 million a year. If there was a non-baseball playing business with that financial profile, and it asked the taxpayers to give them a hundred million dollars to construct an office building, its leaders would likely be checked into an insane asylum.
Ah, the things we do for baseball.