Raiders Stadium Problem
The NFL is not about competition. Itís about $$$$ and lots of them. Thatís why those who deal with stadium building are so eager to get the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders into that new stadium that has been promised to Carson. They donít care that the Chargers have played in San Diego since 1961, or that the Raiders have probably the most loyal fan base in the league. All they care about is the extra money new stadiums, with all their fancy boxes and special seating, can bring.
Of course, they may be looking to the future when theyíll have to pay off lawsuits from former players and their families because of the reckless disregard by coaches and executives for the health of their players. Theyíve already had to pay for some lawsuits but thatís a drop in the bucket to whatís coming.
As it stands, both the Chargers and Raiders are seeking new stadiums. I donít know whatís happening with the Chargers but Iím very aware of whatís happening with the Raiders. I am among the taxpayers in Oakland and the rest of Alameda County who are still paying for improvements in the current Coliseum when they returned from Los Angeles in 1994. There is no chance taxpayers will help pay for another stadium.
There is a better solution available in Oakland, though nobody has discussed it: building a new baseball park in that area and leaving the Coliseum to the Raiders. Mark Davisís main complaint about the current Coliseum is that they have to play games with the dirt infield in place. In the Ď60s, that was a minor problem, no more than one regular season game. But with the continual expansion of the baseball season - I can hardly wait for World Series games on Christmas day Ė there are more and more Raiders games played with the infield still intact.
A baseball park would cost no more than 40 per cent of an NFL stadium. Thereís a group of Oakland businessmen who offered to pay for a park near Jack London Square; Aís owner Lew Wolff turned that down because he was still living in that fantasy world where he moved the team to San Jose. The cost of building a baseball park has no doubt risen since then, along with everything else, but existing businesses wouldnít have to be paid off, as would have been true at Jack London Square.
And, if the Raiders stayed at the current Coliseum, Mark Davis could continue that ridiculous tribute to his crazy father. Thereís no way that would survive in a joint stadium.
Those running the NFL wouldnít like this solution at all because it would deprive them of the added revenue from a new stadium. So, I have some advice for them: Start taking care of your players. I know, I know, thatís a terribly radical idea.
What do YOU think? Let me know!
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