Opening Night was yesterday at Marlins Park, and the flashy, newly constructed stadium couldn’t save the Marlins from an embarrassing loss to the Cardinals. Even the opposing players thought the stadium was a bit over the top for the sport and neighborhood it was built in. All that flash costs money though – to the taxpayers. The estimated cost of the stadium was half a billion dollars mostly financed by our tax dollars, in a county set on cutting its budget.
Miamians who visit the stadium will observe why it was so expensive to build; in addition to the retractable roof, the stadium has a luxurious swimming pool, two 450 gallon fish tanks flanking either side of the field, and a 72-foot marlin sculpture designed by a pop artist, which will move and shoot lasers whenever a home run is hit. All this luxury was needed, because your tax dollars had to go somewhere! Nevermind that Jackson, which provides health care to the neediest in Miami, is in dire financial straits or that our public education system is losing funding.
The harsh reality is that this is baseball’s biggest welfare case. Our taxpayer dollars built a business property for a team that falsely cried poor, and could have invested more into the stadium. The owner Jeffery Loria, whose net worth is hundreds of millions, wined and dined our politicians into funding a stadium that is an unnecessary, expensive piece of art, whose taxpayer dollars should have been spent on important priorities.
The neighborhood that houses the stadium, Little Havana, already struggles daily from the affects of the recession and now gets to deal with the horrendous parking situation the stadium has created. Some residents in the immediate area, cannot even park on their street during the 81 game days, being forced to park 7 or 8 blocks away. Don’t worry though, “they’ll get used to walking,” as Marlins President David Sampson put so matter-of-factly.
All of Miami is working hard to combat the economic downturn, but the 1% would rather take our taxpayer money to build a stadium for an awful team, constantly in last place, than help Miamians fight inequality. The least the team could have done was let us in on some share of the revenues since we footed the bill for the colossal stadium. Instead we get called stupid by whom else, but David Sampson, because our politicians fell for the “poor me” act.
Marlin’s fans have never been the most loyal, but now the Miami Marlins should be prepared to lose even more, especially when the SEC concludes their investigation into the shady stadium deal that duped our politicians. This baseball season, if you watch the Marlins play, remember what they took from you and where that money would be better spent, like investing into our failing education system or preserving health care for those in Miami-Dade who desperately need it.
Tax day is Tuesday, April 17th, and 1Miami will be hosting a walk of shame, where we will be calling out prominent corporations who don’t pay their fair share. You’ll be able to cast a ballot for the worst, maybe you’ll vote for the baseball team that stole your tax dollars.