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vt.Buzz ~ a political blog

Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Of baseball and balance

As you surely read in this morning’s paper, the Vermont Lake Monsters are at risk of extinction. It was disturbing news to ponder over breakfast.

I pose this question to you: What, if anything, should be done about it?

According to Major League Baseball, which seems to favor slick stadiums built at taxpayer expense that charge exorbitant amounts for seats and snacks, Centennial Field isn’t up to snuff.

It should come to the surprise of no one who has watched a game from Centennial’s concrete bleachers that this is not Yankee Stadium – either the new or the old one.

MLB said that it’s more than that _ Centennial’s falls short in some surprisingly simple ways – weak lighting, the wrong distance between bases and the wrong sized pitcher’s mound. Some of those things have apparently been fixed.

Will the little fixes ever be enough?

You could tell that Burlington’s single A franchise was in trouble when Albany and Staten Island and Brooklyn sashayed into the league with their sweet new parks a few years ago. How long could concrete Centennial compete?

So now here we are. Should Vermont let this thing slip away to the next town that’s willing to shell out bucks for better bleachers? Should the 1.65 million fans who’ve cheered for the team in the last 15 years move on to other pursuits? Just forget about bonding over double plays and hot dogs? Get used to not seeing Vermont in the standings?

Or is there some way to save the franchise without selling the soul?

(p.s. It has come to my attention that there is now a Save the Lake Monsters Facebook page).

- Terri Hallenbeck

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1.65 million fans???

I have a hard time believing that.

Perhaps there have been 1.65 million tickets sold over 15 years ... but there aren't enough people in the region to suggest that there are that many fans.
I question how long the Nats are here for. Almost all major league clubs keep their A, AA and AAA clubs within a couple of hours or at least within the same state as the big league club. It makes moving players and personnel between the different levels easier, and helps reinforce the big club's fanbase. Look at the Red Sox and Orioles - all their teams are within a couple of hours or less from the big league club.

I love minor league ball, and a nice new ballpark with a view of the Lake (and parking!) would be a HUGE draw in Burlington. But what happens if someone in D.C. decides that VT is just too far away to meet the goals of the Nats organization? We would be stuck with a new ballpark and would be BEGGING the Sox, Mets or Yanks to abandon some other community to come up here. And that could be a very, very long wait.

So put some money into Centennial so that it meets the regs, but don't bother going any further until the Nats or someone else makes a long-term commitment to Burlington. Cause the only thing sadder than an substandard ballpark is a shiny new ballpark without a team!

Surely, doogie can convince some of his free market friends to step up to the plate and kick in some cash so the taxpayers don't have to pick up all of the tab for them.

Where's richie tarrant or jack mc muffin? Surely, they want to demonstrate their deep and abiding love for Vermont and Vermonters.
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