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

By Neil Demause; Joanna Cagan | Go to book overview

6 Home Field Advantage

For most of us, we feel that supply and demand, the market,
capitalism has got us where we are today in the United States,
and so there ought to be some sense, some obligation, to allow
that to continue.—Randy Johnson, president, Orlando Area Sports
Commission

This is not about a very rich guy born with a spoon in his mouth
that is trying to add to his riches and got the community to
build something for him. This is the community saying—in the
form of all the major companies—“This is good for the com-
munity, let's go forward with this.”—Jerry Colangelo, owner of
the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks

Detroit may offer a dramatic example, but it's hardly alone. In most cities, stadium deals are less an exception to standard urban policy than part of the everyday wheeling and dealing that goes on for public money. The question, then, is if corporate welfare, whether for sports teams or auto plants, is so obviously unprofitable for local governments, why do they keep shelling out the dough?

Frank Rashid spent ten years watching Detroit politicians fight for a new baseball stadium, and the self-interest of elected officials in giant giveaways certainly seems obvious to him. “The local politi-

-103-

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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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