September 29, 2014

Why does Jim Caple and #ESPN hate the #Cardinals?

ESPN seems to get more and more fact-free all the time.

Sorry, Jim, but you're "off base" about
MLB stadium funding. / ESPN image
(The most recent example before this week was ombudsman Robert Lipsyte claiming the reason the Big Red One suspended Bill Simmons was for his calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar without proof, when in actuality, Keith Olbermann had done the same a couple of days earlier. Actually, Simmons got suspended because he dared ESPN to suspend him.)

The most recent example? Baseball columnist Jim Caple (who gave me less reason to read him this year when he discontinued Off Base, his old game box score trivia columns) has a new one up about reasons to like and dislike each of this year's MLB playoff contestants.

About the Cards, under cons?
With so many postseason appearances in recent years, the Cardinals are becoming the new Yankees. Actually, they're worse than the Yankees because their shortstop isn't Derek Jeter -- it's PED cheat Jhonny Peralta. Rewarding Peralta with a $52 million contract so soon after he was busted in the Biogenesis scandal is intolerable for a team that so proudly "does things the right way." And don't get me started on the Rally Squirrel.

First, beyond the slam on Peralta, did Jeets ever speak out about Andy Pettitte or Roger Clemens using PEDs? Erm, NO!

Second, he then says this about the Giants, under pros:
Like the Cardinals, the Giants build their teams the right way, using a lot of homegrown talent. Unlike the Cardinals (and every other team), they also built their stadium the right way, by paying for it themselves.
Uhh, wrong again, at least partially! 

The Cards did the majority (albeit not all) of their stadium funding themselves:
Public financing: $45 million long-term loan from St. Louis County. 
Private financing: $90.1 million from the Cardinals, $9.2 million in interest earned on the construction fund, and $200.5 million in bonds to be paid over a 22-year period ($15.9 million per year) by the team. Anheuser-Busch agreed to a 20 year naming rights deal (through the 2025 season) which will help offset construction costs.
That wasn't hard to find at all!

Nor was it hard to find, via info at the same website on the AT&T Park, that Caple was wrong about the Giants, too:
Private financing: $170 million loan from Chase Manhattan Bank, $70 million from the sale of charter seat licenses, $102 million from the sale of naming rights, sponsorships and other sources, and $15 million in tax increment financing by the city's redevelopment agency.
Now, that website, and Caple, may call that "private," I as a newspaper editor, and most John and Jane Citizen folks, would call it "public" as its based on local tax dollars.

That's why Wikipedia also calls tax increment financing "public." Here's the specifics of how a TIF works:
TIF is a method to use future gains in taxes to subsidize current improvements, which are projected to create the conditions for gains above the routine yearly increases which often occur without the improvements. To provide the needed subsidy, the urban renewal district, or TIF district, is essentially always drawn around 100s or 1000s of acres of additional real estate (beyond the project site) to provide the needed borrowing capacity for the project or projects. The borrowing capacity is established by committing all of normal yearly future real estate tax increases from every parcel in the TIF district (for 20–25 years, or more) along with the anticipated new tax revenue eventually coming from the project or projects themselves. If the projects are public improvements paying no real estate taxes all of the repayment will come from the adjacent properties within the TIF district. Although questioned, it is often presumed that even public improvements trigger gains in taxes above what occurs, or would have occurred in the district without the investment.
See the number of times "tax" or "taxes" occurs in that? That's clearly "public," as in governmental, funding. And, since the TIF includes an area broader than the actual planned development area, it's a transfer of tax funds from one entity to another.

In other words, Caple is some mix of liar, idiot and West Coast "homer." He even admits that he grew up "a passionate Giants fan." Show him some love on Twitter!

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