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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 10, 2011 7:49 AM. The previous post in this blog was Borrowing for maintenance. The next post in this blog is Change agents or paint crew?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Piling up the bad karma

Now that they've completely wrecked it for baseball, Little Lord Paulson and his minions are comparing Portland's civic stadium to Fenway Park. When their demise comes, it's going to be a spectacular.

Comments (23)

That a newspaper would print this drivel just underscores the stenographic nature of today's media.

The "Chicago Fire"???? Ya gotta be kiddin' me???
Will Mrs. O'Leary's cow please come to Portland and kick over the milk pail again...soon!?

They're confused. Fenway is hallowed. Civic Stadium / PGE Park is fouled.

Maybe they're referring to Fenway's poor sight lines (blocked by poles), too small seats (that force the knees of anyone over 6 feet tall into his chest), and antiquated bathroom facilities . . .

Fenway Park? Give me a break. Let's not forget Vera Katz said the tram would be our Eiffel Tower.

Who do they think will swallow this stuff other than themselves?

What is going to happen to the average family's descretionary spending budget if gas prices continue to rise? I'm already thinking of what non-essential spending I'll be sacrificing if prices continue to rise. Good luck to his Royal Highness. Entertainment spending will be the first to go for many if this continues.

Fenway Park, huh? I'm always up for a dramatic comparison especially when you throw in some mixed metaphors like sparks going through veins.
But let's follow this comparison all the way through:
Imagine if some rich punk whose father had made hundreds of millions of dollars helping to destroy the financial security of America, showed up in Boston, bought the Red Sox, but then said that Fenway Park wasn't intimate enough for baseball. He wanted a new venue or else he'd take his new toy somewhere else.
And then he bamboozled the Boston City Council with his plan for MLS soccer - a plan that ultimately ran the Red Sox out of town and turned Fenway Park into a soccer-only stadium.
Do you think the Boston Globe would come across like the Tribune here - like a bunch of water-carrying PR agents for the move or would they question whether the city had lost something? Oh wait, there's no comparison between what happened here and Fenway. This comparison is mostly hype and the natural excitement when you've pulled something off.
I'm sure Henry Paulson got a rush out of ramming the TARP funds through, as well. Especially when he changed what the money was going to be used for after it passed.
The article does mention the Pele match in 1977. They got the facts a little wrong as it wasn't his last professional match, but that's okay. I was at that match so it's always nice to see a mention.
Of course, it begs the question: If the old place was good enough for Pele, why wasn't it good enough for the new guys?

Whose demise? If you're talking about Lord Paulson, we already know where that will end up: Portland's version of "too big to fail." That ruse worked for him the first time around, it's hard to see why he wouldn't keep going back to that trough.

They make _our_ stadium, over widespread community objections, and with _our_ money, unusable for baseball, its most important historic use, and then have the (insert organ reference) to wax eloquent about the history and other similarities to Fenway?

I love that they are in court for some of their "creative" on-the-record statements about this boondoggle.

Ironically, Fenway Park was used for soccer including the American Soccer League back in the 30s and then the NASL. So soccer has been available to the American Public in places like Fenway going back 80 years, but it didn't catch on.
So Fenway actually stands for why what we've done here is a bad move. It's the opposite of a good comparison. It's a cautionary tale about keeping other options in case soccer folds again.
Maybe the MLS will be different but where do you get the temerity to describe your soccer stadium as being an intimate setting like Fenway Park, when soccer was played in Fenway Park and it didn't work?
I'll tell you where. It comes from this Paulson mindset: Tell the masses whatever you want. The rich are entitled and the rest of us are supposed to shell out to enhance their ability to profit even more. It is the sentiment that has led to 14 trillion in national debt with no end in sight.
If you want a comparison, view the entire process of the Paulsons in Portland, as a microcosm of the collapse of the United States. There's your comparison - and unlike the Fenway jive, this one involves the same person: one of the actual participants in the biggest fraud in world history who also happens to be the Timbers' minority owner.
And as the ringleaders of that fraud talk about how they saved America, we're starting to get the happy talk about this deal. It's perfect.

Might it be time to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, the conventional wisdom here was wrong?

The Timbers have sold more than 12,000 season tickets; they've sold more than 3,000 Timbers Army season tickets. ESPN's doing two games from here, including the home opener. They're undefeated in preseason, which I admit is by-and-large meaningless but beats being winless. Tickets are priced at roughly one-third of what Blazer tickets cost. The marketing campaign they've created is going to be copied step-for-step by about 100 other sports teams in the next five years.

"They're confused."

Fenway they leave alone. We feel the need to dump $35M or $10M every few years into PGE park to re-target it.

I've always said that the Timbers will sell tickets, at least for a few years. But the league will fail.

A lot of people don't know this but there was a coin flip in the early days to pick the names for our new town and it came down to Boston - Fenway Park vs. Portland - Civic Stadium.

Jack has it right.

In 1975, the Timbers were the hottest ticket in town. Mainly because the won a lot of games.

Next season, with a roster almost completely turned over and a losing team, not so much.

By the time the team folded, they were drawing about 8,000 hardcore soccer folks to each game. And no one else. And the team was mediocre at best.

I see this happening again. This version of the Timbers will sell tickets as long as it wins.

The league itself has been puttering along since the World Cup was held in the U.S. however many years ago that was. It has established a niche market for itself and as long as its teams are drawing 15-20K, everyone is happy.

For the average sports fan (I would put myself in that category), soccer is fun to play (at least I had fun), but boring to watch -- unless it's the World Cup or an English Premier League match. The "Timbers Army," or whatever those hooligan wannabes are calling themselves, will still turn out, but it's more about them than it is the game or the team.

I can hear knees jerking all over this blog about my lack of sophistication, my typical American stupidity for not appreciating "the beautiful game," how I'm out of step with the rest of the world, blah blah blah. Fine. You go watch. I got other stuff to do.

The Timbers and MLS Soccer may well prove to be a financial success. That certainly doesn't imply that spending hundreds of millions of PUBLIC DOLLARS to remodel the stadium was the best use of those funds.

The city could have simply sold the stadium to Paulson for whatever we still owe on the bonds and been done with subsidizing hot dog and beer vendors forever. That would have reduced the risk to the general fund (which remains), and made it easier to charge something less than an arm and a leg at the Rose Garden parking structures.

I say let the Timber Army rejoice. They won. The Paulsons won just like Goldman Sachs won during the financial crisis. Not only didn't the federal government prosecute anyone for the security swaps/derivatives fraud but the feds kept basically the same rules, and are now standing by awaiting their next orders from Wall Street.
It's sad, but that's reality.

However, let's not get crazy comparing the remodel of Paulson's Playpen to creating another Fenway Park. That's an insult to the sports history of America. It's enough to turn the greatest country in the world into a shell of itself - leave the memories alone.
Have your fun but don't overreach and become stupid about it. That's when I worry that the scarves are wrapped a little too tightly and you're cutting off the oxygen to your brains.

I'm confused (not really). Wasn't Paulson telling us that PGE Park was antiquated, not right for the Beavers, and many us posted about the similarity, the history of PGE Park was like Fenway? He said the baseball size was wrong, the public spaces too small, etc. I've been to Fenway and those qualities even with steeply sloping, even smaller concourses is what we all applaud. But as Bill says, Paulson thinks up a sales pitch and a few pols eat it up to justify any Paulson Desire. Sad. Hypocrisy.

"PBOT established Zone L in 2000 when the stadium was renovated as part of a good neighbor agreement. The nearby Goose Hollow neighborhood also has a parking permit that is meant in-part [sic] to discourage PGE Park attendees from parking there. This year, the transportation bureau made minor changes to the Zone L parking program in response to PGE Park expansion, the Portland Timbers becoming a Major League Soccer franchise, and the Portland Beavers baseball team no longer using the park."

It was never a chore on a summer evening to cycle from Cambridge to Kenmore Square to take in a game. Perhaps the fans who descend upon PGE will spare the neighborhood an assault by four-wheeled vehicles?

"Mr. Grumpy" Portland is getting a national reputation for being "swallower's"

I've been to Fenway Park, and (sir) PGE Park, you are no Fenway Park.

Let's just hope that LLP is not put into the presidential office by is billionaire daddy in 10 or 15 years.

All the Paulsons have to do is say, "We feel so strongly about the success of MLS soccer that if it fails, we will return PGE to it's original dual-use format using some of the hundreds of millions we made on the plundering of America." But these people don't want to spend money on their failures. They want that expense to be passed onto the citizens as it has with the toxic asset guarantees from their wild bad bets on Wall Street.
For them, it's always about using the public to cover their loses as they move onward relentlessly gaming the system.


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