Padres Editorial: President’s Budget Proposal Good for Baseball Fans

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Baseball can be a political game.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier – 17 years before Civil Rights legislation was signed into law.  The game can tear down old walls.  Hopefully, we will see another old fence peeled away and have an openly gay professional baseball player some day.

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But right now, politics could effect Major League Baseball in a big way.

Cities have a history of using tax money to subsidize the building of major and minor league stadiums.  However, according to USA Today‘s Elaine Povich, President Barack Obama‘s budget proposal would do away with this practice for all sports. Now, ultimately it will be up to Congress to pass this, but let us say that it does in fact, get passed.  It would be wonderful news for baseball fans.

The obvious negative, is that teams would find it more difficult to build new stadiums.  However, there are really only a few teams left in baseball that actually need new ones, the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays.  If this provision of the President’s proposal were to be included in the budget, teams would have a much more difficult time leaving their respective cities.  A team could not be offered a brand new stadium in a new city, that is paid for by the taxpayers.  A team could no longer pressure the city it is already in, by giving an ultimatum to relocate unless the city forks over the money for it’s nearly a billion dollar new facility.

To those who want the San Diego Chargers to keep playing on Sundays in Mission Valley, this could be an important provision.

Taxpayers should never have to subsidize a professional sports team.  The people already provide enough revenue by paying for tickets, merchandise, and concessions to begin with; all of which is already grossly overpriced.  The fact that teams can actually squeeze more money out of the system is despicable.  If we are to live in a market economy, in which the “Mom and Pop” shops have to survive on their own, then let these multi-million dollar organizations fend for themselves.

While the Bud Selig-minded baseball elite likely won’t be pleased if this provision is passed, baseball fans should be as delighted as people who don’t care about sports at all would be too.

The money once used to subsidize sports teams can now be used for programs in the community or given back to the city through a thousand other channels.  Teams will have a harder time leaving us and we won’t have to suffer the costs.  In fact, it seems like this will be in our financial benefit.

So please Congress, pass this provision of the budget proposal.

What do our Friars On Base readers think? Lets discuss in the comments below.

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