Thursday, April 12, 2012

Talking to myself about the Hagerstown Suns

My head is spinning after a day that saw me bounce back in forth on the future of the Hagerstown Suns.

I felt good about the team staying recently and felt even better after a pre-game visit to the Muni for another attempt at Lexington manager Ivan DeJesus as I saw Mayor Bob Bruchey,Suns owner Bruce Quinn and many fellows in suits,who were either important or trying to look that way.
My buddy and Suns employee "Hank" told me that there was quite a setup down the left field line as far as a presentation goes for a new stadium.

So I left the park feeling pretty good.
Until I got home and saw the Herald Mail's report on the City Council meeting the night before,where city council members had taken the private negotiations and tossed them into the public arena.
That never helps to get a deal finished and only tends to throw things into flux.
A barrage of silliness from the three members did just that as our favorite councilperson Ms.Haywood decided to complain about the expense of the Suns request to have a ambulance at every Suns game,Lew Metzner decided to take a private negotiation public while Martin Brubaker kept referring to the Suns placing new demands on the proposed lease.
None of which moves a deal any closer to an eventual success..
Ms.Haywood fails to realize that the city pays fifty thousand dollars a year to the community rescue service,which last I checked was more than eight thousand,which would be the cost of putting an ambulance at Municipal Stadium for every game.
Mr,Metzner's insistence of making private negotiations public has made a difficult task harder and Mr.Brubaker's nickel and dime line items have done little to improve the problem of getting the stadium funded.

So feeling even more dismal about the situation,Mayor Bruchey,who loves to spar with the people that leave comments on the H-M website offered this body blow to a person that said "Maybe they should just leave".
Bruchey's comment of "they probably will" was a comment that made my heart sink.
I thought the situations was looking grim,but then after a return from Frederick,the Herald-Mail reported  that one of the people at the stadium was Maryland comptroller Peter Franchot.
Franchot seemed to be inferring that the money would be there from the state,if the city and county did their part.
I get the feeling that this is not exactly what the state would like to do right now,but with a tax revenue source like the Suns threatening to leave the state and take their money elsewhere,the state might be finally after all these years be ready to help replace the elderly Muni....
So my spirits went up a bit from earlier.

I am surprised at the willingness of some to complain about a baseball team and its 70 home dates getting too much money,but money going to things such as the Miss Maryland pageant are fine.
Here is an example,the city pays eight thousand dollars a year for the three days  and the county adds sixteen thousand a year.
Where does the county get this sixteen thousand to pay towards a three day beauty pageant,yet wants to fight over a team that has seventy dates?
Well,wait  for  it-the hotel/motel tax that was intended to help build a new stadium!
Just for a fun exercise and not to be at all taken seriously-if the hotel tax gives the Miss Maryland people $5,333 per day and gave the Suns the same ratio per game,the Suns would be able to pay over 373 THOUSAND dollars a year on a stadium payment.
Now I realize the funding is not to that level,but that shows how the stance on this issue can be picked and chosen over.
Eight thousand dollars for seventy dates for an ambulance at site is too much to bear,but the exact same amount for three days to fill a facility that has capacity at 1,300 is fine?
I would not know how many of those seats are sold for the pageant,but if I had to guess,I'd bet against a sellout.

Now let's look at things that money goes towards that I am not against the community having,but that I do not use-the Maryland Community Orchestra,Black Rock golf course,Blues Fest,etc.
I do not attend any of these things,but having them makes a nicer community to live in,but I do not hear anyone threatening the people that enjoy those things that their passion should be allowed to leave.
Please show me the numbers that show that the MSO brings more money to our city/state/county than the Hagerstown Suns.
Please show me where the MSO or Blues Fest or Miss Maryland etc, has brought more recognition to the area than the various baseball stars that have been through the Muni.
I really do not want to make this about baseball vs art or baseball vs music or God forbid baseball vs beauty pageants,but there should be room for all of these things in a community that has multiple interests to offer.

A stadium that can be used for many different events would be an asset to the area would bring jobs and recreation to a desperately needed part of a town in need of a makeover.
If the people opposed to the stadium are truly opposed to it because of their tax dollars,then I would like to see them opposing all the groups with their hands out as well.
If it is a budget issue,then I want to see them all slashed in order to save money in order to be fair..

We have an opportunity to make things right and build the stadium that was promised to us and add to the community in other manners as well.
Hagerstown has always been a "baseball town" that has lost its luster through the years through poor and uncaring management and a rundown facility.
The shine can return with some polishing and I think fans that were lost due to the Muni and the management issues will return with an improved facility and product.

This can be done-lets do it!
If you live in the area.please visit this link.
Sign the petition,write a note,show them that you care.
Please do not put it off as we have less than a week before the Ripken groups presentation.
Jump in and take a minute and help out for the future of Hagerstown baseball....
If you do not live in the area,write anyway,tell them you travel here to see games and it is important to you as well.

I am running short on time as I wrote and lost half of this earlier tonight,so unsure on Pirates and Cavalier recaps,so the answer there is a big maybe.
I hope to work on the tardy Indians preview tomorrow!

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