Because They Can Steal From You
You don't have to leave Chicago to find another example of big-business baseball tapping the public for free stuff. In 1988 White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf issued the city an ultimatum: Build us a new stadium or we'll move to St. Petersburg. Chicago caved to the threat and built the brand-new $167M Comiskey Park. Once again—even if you hate the sport—money is pulled out of your check so that fabulously wealthy people can get even richer. If you do like the sport, you get the White Sox which sucks almost as much.
The same story has played out recently in Washington where the city whored itself out for $611M to host the Nationals. The Pirates only paid $40M for their $230M stadium. Now, they use PNC Park to lose on purpose and turn a healthy profit because of it. And in Cincinnati, where one-in-seven people live below the poverty line, Hamilton County divvied out close to $300M to the Reds the Great American Ballpark.
But perhaps the most egregious misuse of taxpayer money, well, ever, is the newly constructed Marlins Park in Miami. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (estimated net worth of $500M) conned Dade County out of over $350M while, simultaneously, concealing $50M in profits. The already destitute city was forced to take some hair-raising loans including a $91M loan from JP Morgan with a 13-year deferred payment that will cost tax payers some $1.2B to pay off. You read that right, the city will pay over a billion dollars to borrow $91M.
Loria is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and could have covered the costs with the liquidity of his own pocket. Instead, he rips off the people of Miami, presides over the largest ticket price increase in baseball, and charges $8 for a stadium beer. He’ll fund less than twenty-five-percent of the stadium and keep one-hundred-percent of the profits. Dade County cut 1200 jobs, their Mayor was recalled in the wake of the scandal, and the city is under investigation by the SEC. Meanwhile, Loria brags about his "state of the art" stadium with its 40-foot aquarium behind home plate and $2.5M mechanical Marlin sculpture. Loria will get insanely wealthy wealthier for doing worse than nothing, and a generation of Floridians have been sold out for it.