Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit

By Neil Demause; Joanna Cagan | Go to book overview

1 A Tale of Two Inner Cities

It is simply unconscionable that cities are forced to succumb
to blackmail by pro football and baseball. You should not ca-
pitulate to blackmailers. You don't deal with hostage situations.
You don't deal with terrorists. I put these teams in the same
category.—Maryland state senator Julian Lapides

It was late on the night of March 29, 1984, when a dozen moving vans backed up to the football training complex in the Maryland suburb of Owings Mills and took the Baltimore Colts away.

Since 1953 the Colts had been an institution as fundamental to Baltimore's self-image as crab cakes or Edgar Allan Poe. Now, overnight, this symbol of the city was to be reborn as something called the Indianapolis Colts and disappear forever into an indoor football stadium in the American heartland.

A few spectators gathered in the rain to watch as the worldly belongings of Baltimore's football team were loaded up for the six-hundredmile drive west. The movers, imported from Indianapolis by Colts owner Robert Irsay for the occasion, packed away helmets and pads, file cabinets and film projectors, as Pinkerton guards kept onlookers at bay.

“It's unbelievable, the callousness of this man,” Colts fan Brian Yaniger told a crowd of assembled reporters. “Just because he has a couple of bucks, he can tear a whole city down on his whims.”

-1-

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Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface to the New Edition xi
  • Introduction - The View from the Cheap Seats xiii
  • 1: A Tale of Two Inner Cities 1
  • 2: Stealing Home 27
  • 3: Ball Barons 42
  • 4: The Art of the Steal 62
  • 5: Deus Ex Pizza 83
  • 6: Home Field Advantage 103
  • 7: Local Heroes 119
  • 8: Bad Neighbors 136
  • 9: Repeat Offenders 160
  • 10: The Bucks Stop Here 182
  • 11: Winning Isn't Everything 194
  • 12: One Year 198
  • 13: The Art of the Steal Revisited 225
  • 14: Youppi! Come Home 247
  • 15: The Perfect Storm 272
  • 16: Saving Fenway 318
  • Acknowledgments 341
  • Notes 347
  • Index 389
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