Baseball Stadium Idea is the Opposite of ‘Smart Growth’

On its face, even to a hardcore baseball fan like The Shad, the proposal to build a $60 million baseball stadium in Hartford to lure an attendance-record-setting team from New Britain seems monumentally stupid and short-sighted. However, it would be par for the course for a downtown area that can’t get out of its own way and requires a nice chunk of change to park and grab a pulled-pork sandwich from Black Eyed Sally’s (a Shad favorite).

If one can past the hidden ball trick the owners of the New Britain Rock Cats pulled on its home city (and The Shad can’t), a review of the numbers seems to show there is a good chance a first-pitch will never be thrown from the mound in the current proposal.

Hartford Courant columnist Colin McEnroe gets it exactly right when he cleverly points out the hypocrisy, dishonesty and genuflection to the almighty dollar that litters the trail to the presser held on the steps of Hartford City Hall last week. Everyone seemed happy revealing the fact that the proposed deal, importantly still not signed, was more than a year in the making. In a nutshell, the struggling city of Hartford would pony up $60 million to build the stadium and the owners of the Rock Cats would move to Hartford after the team’s lease at New Britain Stadium runs out.

Naïve is probably a charitable word to describe New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart in all of this. Despite mounting evidence that a 12 to 6 curveball was coming from the team owners, Stewart was sitting on a fastball and waved at the pitch as if she was chopping wood. She said she felt angry, hurt, betrayed, deceived, blah, blah, blah. The almighty dollar is at work here. It doesn’t matter what the team owners told you.