You’ll recall that back in March it was revealed that the Diamondbacks were pestering Maricopa County, Arizona for nearly $200 million for upgrades to Chase Field and threatened a lawsuit to break their lease if they didn’t get it. Then you will recall that the country countered by telling the Dbacks (a) a huge chunk of what you’re asking for are Dbacks operation expenses that have nothing to do with the ballpark; and (b) the stuff that has to do with the ballpark is your responsibility anyway.
That little bit of politics has been simmering for a while, but the Arizona Republic has been diligently tracking it. Lately a lot of fun stuff has spilled out of it in the form of letters and stuff between the parties. Yesterday the Republic released a doozie: outgoing Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek’s letter to Dbacks President Derrick Hall from last April in which the former ripped the latter a new one.
You should go read the whole thing, but know that he minced no words in calling the Dbacks’ request “an obscene demand,” and referred to baseball as “a parasitic enterprise which is well on its way to destroying its host,” and chided Hall for being “the personal valet” for the Dbacks owners. The Republic further reports that when Kunasek delivered the letter — personally — he said “take your stupid baseball team and get out” and go back to “f***king West Virginia.”
Hall is from Los Angeles, but I take that to mean “see if there is someplace else that will build you a stadium.” As a West Virginian myself, I’ll note that there really is not an appropriate market for Major League Baseball in that state, but I’ll leave that assessment to the sports business professionals. I dunno, maybe Iaeger? Mt. Hope? It’d certainly provide a pretty backdrop behind the outfield wall, even if they drew only 500 people a game and didn’t have a TV deal.
Anyway, this is all delicious fun, but it’s probably not particularly meaningful in the grand scheme. This politician standing up to a baseball team is leaving office and is being bolder than usual, I suspect, because he is not facing reelection. The Dbacks likewise realize that he’ll be gone soon and maybe someone more pliable will take his place. Baseball teams know how to ply, that’s for sure. I’ve long argued that politicians should stand up like this more often, but until one does so and pairs his words with some effective executive/legislative action (or executive/legislative restraint) that serves to thwart a public stadium boondoggle, they’re all just words.