It just hasn't been a good week for sports around here, has it? I'm going to ignore except in passing the pathetic and embarrassing episode from last weekend, as well as the even more pathetic and embarrassing response by UNC fans to Roy Williams wearing a Kansas sticker at the championship game.
What's on my mind more at the moment was the display of baseball ineptitude I watched at the Bulls' game last night. Bad pitching, bad fielding, bad hitting, almost all of it on the side of the Bulls.
But more troubling was one of those silly video spots they put on in between innings, this one featuring the Bulls' head groundskeeper giving tips on how to have a good lawn. What was the crux of his advice on this one? (I'm not making this up.)
Water your lawn. A lot. 2-3 times a week, give it a good healthy soaking. When in doubt, use more water. The man even ended the clip with this priceless nugget:
"Remember, no water means no grass!"
Sitting in the stands, I kept feeling like I needed to check my ears to make sure I was hearing things. Was the image-obsessed Jim Goodmon's baseball team REALLY that tone deaf?
Here's a tip for the Bulls -- don't run that clip any more, and get Mr. Water-a-lot to shoot a video about xeriscaping for you.
To top it off, there was a nugget in Wednesday's Herald-Sun, now swallowed up in the black hole of their internet policy, about plans for a national Minor League Baseball museum next to the old DAP. Now, I confess, I've generally been behind this project. The old ballpark is a great piece of history, and can still continue to function as a good baseball stadium, so I don't have much of a problem with dropping $5 million into the renovations on the park itself. My assumption was that with those renovations, MiLB would come in and do its museum largely on its own.
But I confess I got classic sticker shock when it came to the plans for the museum. From the H-S:
Accompanying the ballpark will be the Minor League Baseball Fan Experience and Museum, which is scheduled to open in 2010.
Plans are to build that facility, which would overlook center and right fields, at a cost of $50 million, with Minor League Baseball providing a $25 million endowment and running the operation after the city comes up with $25 million in construction costs. (my emphasis)
Okay, on the face of it, a MiLB museum (can we please drop the lame sounding "Fan Experience" part of the name?) is a great idea for Durham. The Durham Bulls are pretty synonymous with minor league baseball nationwide, so building on that seems like a great idea. But $25 million is a ton of public money to spend on something that's going to be largely patronized by those from out of town. For comparison's sake, the new DBAP cost $16 million to build, and was the source of serious controversy at the time. And all with the goal of opening by 2010?
Now, some might point out that I was a proponent of the new DPAC (SOMEBODY buy the naming rights so we can get away from these freakin' ackronyms), which took something on the order of $32 million in public money. But I'll also note that we only built that thing after 2 years of intense public debate, which resulted in a theater that ended up costing less and being built with a far better design than the one originally proposed. I guess I'd hope for a bit more scrutiny of this proposal and a bit less hurry on this one.
Lastly, I'll note that the new Carolina Basketball Museum which just opened in Chapel Hill cost $3.4 million. If we're helping to pay for a museum that costs $50 million, I sure hope it's going to be fabulous.