There's a standing joke among my friends that I know absolutely nothing about sports. And I'm proud of it. Our staff usually begins any discussion of baseball with "Jana, that's the little ball."
I don't know that I would ever go watch the little ball in a new downtown baseball stadium. But that doesn't diminish my passion that Phoenix needs it. We need it the same way we need the Herberger Theater Center. We need it the same way we need the new library. Or the Phoenix Art Museum. Or the Phoenix Symphony. Or the Phoenix Zoo. Or the Botanical Garden. Or the Greyhound Dog Track. Or South Mountain Park.
We need it because this isn't just a city to live in, but a city that needs life. I'm frankly tired of the bitching that there's nothing to do in Phoenix. That the place is boring. That it's just a bunch of sterile suburbs strung together by asphalt streets. That it doesn't have a heart or a soul. You want heart? You want soul? Then you, my dear, need the baseball stadium.
I don't need to read economic-impact studies or listen to tedious dissertations on the sport to know this stadium would help pump some life into Phoenix. I'm told over eighty home games a year would be played. I'm told over a million people would go to the ballpark every year. I'm told by the guys on my staff that their hearts will stop if this stadium is defeated and Phoenix will forever be doomed. I think they're exaggerating, but that's the kind of emotions a good ballpark can arouse.
I think it's about time something stirred such passions in this city.
If for no other reason, we need it because it simply would be fun to spend a day at the ballpark.
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The latest polls say most people don't want to give the council authority next week to borrow $100 million to build a baseball stadium--money that would be spent only if the city lands a major league team. Some people just don't trust this council, but the real reason is the old one: Folks don't want to see their property taxes go up. I own property in this city, too. My house taxes will go up about $10 a year. It's not a princely sum. In fact, it takes no effort for me to fritter that much away. It seems to me to be a pretty smart way to spend a few extra dollars.
If the council were asking us to approve money for a domed football-baseball stadium, I'd be screaming "NO!" from the heavens. Billy Bidwill already has a sweet deal going with ASU and Tempe for his misnamed Phoenix Cardinals, and I'm quite content to let him stay put and out of my pocketbook. If you want to attend any of the eight home games the Cardinals play each year, go out to Sun Devil Stadium and see them.
If you want to see any of the eighty home games a major league baseball team would play, I'd like to invite you to downtown Phoenix and its new stadium.
I'm voting yes next Tuesday on Proposition One.