The Braves are in first place! . . . when it comes to bilking taxpayers
So much attention has been paid to the Braves moving out of their less-than-twenty-year-old stadium in Atlanta to a new ballpark up in the suburbs. But that is merely the latest and largest of their many, many efforts at extracting money from local taxpayers for ballparks, pitting cities against one another and making themselves rich off of it all. Oh, and making sure the deals were all done and past the point of no-return before most taxpayers even knew about it.
Today Bloomberg Businessweek has a story about that practice, centered on a case study of how the Braves got a new ballpark for their Double-A team in Peal, Mississippi. It paints a pretty straightforward picture of the calculating and, at times, mercenary nature of a ballclub on the make. One that shows that sports teams are businesses, just like any other. In some cases worse, actually, in that they can pick up and leave whenever and use phony appeals to civic pride as a means of getting greater subsidies for themselves than any other business might expect:
They do it because, with very few exceptions, taxpayers and politicians let them get away with it. We should stop letting them get away with it.