Maybe There’s a Landfill in New Jersey that Needs a Team

The owner of the Chicago Cubs has unmet publicly funded stadium needs, so of course he threatens to move the team:

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts caused a stir Wednesday when he said publicly for the first time that he would consider moving the team if moneymaking outfield signs central to his Wrigley Field renovation plan failed to win the city’s blessing.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. You can try this with the newer expansion or transfer teams, with their mercenary up-and-down fair-weather-fan fan bases (and I include the St. Louis Rams, almost twenty years in town now, among these younguns), where perhaps a transfer from Pensacola to Tampa might yield enough financial rewards to merit the move, especially if the fan base in the originating city is not very deep and tends to not notice the team when it’s not winning.

But when you take a historic, storied franchise and threaten to move it, we know you’re bluffing. You can’t move the Yankees to Sacramento, you can’t move the Cubs out of one of the largest markets in the country to Tulsa (or even Gary, Indiana, same media market but not a good location for traditional fans). It would make no long-term financial success. The team owners know it. The elected and unelected city officials should know it.

But it’s part of the dance. It’s political cover to roll over and spew public money for private benefit or the team will move. Now that the picadors have finished their work, the public treasury can be gored theatrically.

But note to Chicago Cubs owners: You could not get the ticket sales over the long term by moving the team to another city with a bigger better publicly funded stadium, you would not get the instant merchandising fan base from a move, and, besides, no other city wants your stinkin’ Cubbies anyway. Well, maybe there’s some pit in New Jersey that would take them, but no where in civilization.