Monday, September 8, 2008

Lawyers Run Everything

If I ever get tired of the shyster biz, I can do what this lawyer has done:

There's a common attitude among lawyers that courses in law school really do nothing to prepare students for the profession. Mary-Jane Foster begs to differ. Some of the courses required at Quinnipiac School of Law have been instrumental in helping her run the Bridgeport Bluefish, a minor league baseball franchise. Quinnipiac required corporate and tax law, and thank heavens for that," said Foster, a 1995 graduate of the law school. "Those are the courses I'm using today."

And there are plenty of other experiences that Foster draws on as the team's CEO, though not all of them are related to law school or even college, for that matter. The academic world doesn't necessarily prepare one for dealing with a loose skunk on the field, a broken HVAC system or a player who loses his sliding pants 50 minutes before first pitch. "Things like that happen," she said. "You never really know what the day is going to be like."
Two things struck me about this article. First was the fact that Foster's primary motivator to own and run the team was not vanity or the sheer love of baseball, but rather, business: "as much as I enjoy watching the Bluefish, this was never about baseball," Foster said. "It was all about economic development and bringing the community together." I suppose you could read that as some level of community-oriented altruism, but I've yet to meet a stakeholder in an economic development project that wasn't set to make out like a bandit. The taxpayers take the gambles in such schemes, not the business owners. Whatever the case, for as much as Minor League Baseball sells itself like an old-timey trip in the wayback machine, it's worth remembering that there's money in them thar bush leagues.

The second thing was this aside:

Foster's investment group is currently working on creating a new Atlantic League
team in Yonkers, N.Y., with a 6,500 ballpark located on top of a shopping mall
in downtown Yonkers.
Wow. A real live mallpark. If anyone has any artist's renderings of the joint, I'd love to see it.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

At first, I thought you meant to say "Ruin". My bad.

Pete Toms said...

Although her franchise appears to be struggling, the Atlantic League is easily the premier indy league. Best attendance, highest salaries, best quality of play, longest schedule ( 140 games ).

Think you're right Craig, she is playing the ol sports team as economic development tool never gets tired...

From the piece;

"We went on a steep learning curve about how cities small, medium and large have turned themselves around," Foster said. They discovered that a public-use facility was the anchor in many instances.

Wanna comment on the role of Jacobs Field in the renaissance of downtown Cleveland? Proponents of this economic voodoo most frequently point to the economic miracle of Jacobs Field as the best example.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

CC, I live adjacent to Yonkers, though not the downtown part. And I never heard of this park.

I have gotta investigate

Richard Dansky said...

Shades of the old Hartford Civic Center...

Amos said...

Harford Civic Center!

I visited Hartford once and went to an Arena Football game.

That was such a bizarre setup. Hmmm, should I go shopping or should I take in an NHL game?