Monday, April 23, 2007

Fool me once, shame on me . . .

The Florida Marlins' stadium situation is untenable. Dolphins' Stadium is an awful place for baseball: it's far from everything. It's lack of a roof means too many rain outs. Perhaps worst of all, because the team's old owner, Wayne Huizenga, sold the Marlins but kept the stadium and adjacent parking garage, the team receives zero dollars from concessions and parking, placing them at a financial disadvantage relative to other teams. Upshot: they need a new house or they're going to have to move.

But if they're going to get a new stadium it looks like it ain't coming from public dollars, as the Florida Legislature looks to be balking at subsidizing the thing. The main sticking point -- aside from the obvious fact that there are zillions of better uses for tax dollars in a state with a surging population and government programs which have been stretched to the limit -- is that the state is still paying Huizenga for the old stadium and will be until 2023!

The main problem for the Marlins through the years has been that the team owner who received the first $2 million annual subsidy the legislature awarded for a stadium has since sold the Marlins but kept the stadium. The subsidy that began in 1993 will continue to flow to initial Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga's Dolphin Stadium for 16 more years, whether the Marlins stay there, move to a new Florida stadium or even leave the state.
I presume that there are many people in Florida who would like to hop in the way-back machine and punch the 1993 Florida Legislature in the crotch for making such a monumentally stupid deal (what, they couldn't have agreed to cut it off if he unloaded or moved the team?). But since time travel is not possible, refusing to throw good money after bad and risk being burned again is the right move in this case.