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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Just what D.C. needs (not). A friggin baseball team. Major League Baseball is expected to announce tomorrow that the Montreal Expos will be coming to town. I'm not down on this idea just because I'm an Orioles fan--I don't care about the O's that much. I'm down on the idea because the economic costs are always underestimated and the benefits are always overestimated. The stadiums draw money away from other sources of entertainment rather than simply infusing more money into the local economy. The jobs that are created are generally low-paying and seasonal. And the tax revenues generated are often outpaced by the annual cost to the city.

Specifically for D.C., bringing baseball to town is bad on a number of counts. The traffic around here is horrendous enough already. The metro system is also pretty crappy. The proposed site, Anacostia, isn't exactly the best part of town. Maybe this will cause some urban renewal. I dunno. But all that urban renewal means is just pushing out the poor and moving in the middle and upper class.

The worst part of the deal is that the new stadium will be built with $440 million in taxpayer dollars. I can think of so many better way to spend that kind of money starting with the D.C. public schools. So many of the schools are in need of serious renovations, new equipment, and new teachers. Schools frequently close because the kids don't have air conditioning in the classrooms, but you can bet the luxury boxes will. Also, there aren't enough homeless shelters to meet the demand and the Metro police could use some sensitivity training. And would it kill the city to fill in a couple of potholes?

Anyway, doesn't D.C. have enough losing teams already?

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