Saturday, February 10, 2007

Call Their Bluff

I've been supportive of the plans for a Downtown ballpark, but now watching the Sounds operate on the back end, I'm beginning to regret that support. You see, I think they are starting to play a risky game of chance with Metro. This morning's Tennessean indicates that they may be jockeying to leverage more funds from Metro because they do not have the financing on their end. Well, that's unacceptable.

The Mayor's Office is doing the right thing by calling Sounds General Manager Glenn Yaeger's bluff. The Sounds' credibility is on the line. They have lately been indicating that the increasing costs of construction materials is the culprit. That's a common crying game of builders. Yet, it's not Metro's fault that the Sounds did not include price increases into their project equation. Prices, like taxes, trend up. A loaf of bread ain't what it used to cost. If car owners who once paid a dollar a gallon for gas didn't plan for two dollars a gallon, then they may be in trouble now. And the Sounds should have planned for cost increases.

But I assume that they did. And now they appear to be shamelessly gambling that public support for or some general sense of the inevitably of their project is going to get Finance Director David Manning to hand them some more of our tax dollars. As a Sounds fan and season ticket holder, I nonetheless hope that the Mayor's Office will let the team go all in and then sit back and watch them sweat. If patience and firmness costs Nashville a Downtown ballpark, then those are the breaks. But it will cost the Nashville Sounds their good name.

Our side is the one with the prime waterfront property. We have more at stake. They are just a minor league baseball team, and they should have been worthier of Nashville's support.


  1. Interesting. You wonder what the Milwaukee Brewers make of all this. They renewed their Player Development Contract with the Sounds for four years, through 2010, certainly on the belief they'd be in their new park no later than 2008. One would think they'd have some recourse to wriggle away after 2008's season should all hope for a new ballpark be lost within the next year.

  2. Mike:

    Metro Government needs to accept some responsibility for the delay because they changed the rules. They were originally responsible to the clean-up of the site. After the MOU was signed they shifted the clean-up responsibility, but not the cost, to Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse. It was Struever Bros. lenders who then baulked, requiring the delay in the start of construction and the opening of the ballpark.

    The Sounds have their financing in place. Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse do not and that is because Metro changed the rules.