Illustration by Robert Meganck
Like one of those Madea movies that come around every few years, the baseball-
stadium debate is back again. And as with the movies, it's basically the same story with a few new characters. Unfortunately, the stadium debate features no man dressed up as an old, angry woman — although, given that our city government is involved, let's not rule out such a thing from ever happening.
The debate: Revamp the stadium on the
Boulevard or build a new one in Shockoe Bottom? Here's how it could play out.
- The city extends its debt ceiling through bond financing and expands its credit limit, thus succeeding in funding the ballpark by using complex money words that no one fully comprehends.
- Any new park comes with more pixels and improved camera app.
- All ice cream at the new Shockoe ballpark is free to anyone who didn't want the park built there.
- A consultant is hired to study the feasibility of a ballpark in the Bottom, but only after hiring a consultant to determine the feasibility of doing such a study. The consultants' two studies cost as much as one ballpark.
- To generate excitement, the city promises the first pitch in any new park will be thrown by Eriq La Salle, star of former hit NBC medical drama ER and a guy who probably has some loose tie to the region, maybe, plus he seems like a cool guy.
- The stadium-debate story is covered by local news outlets until they strike out of baseball puns.
- The city brings the counties to the table to discuss the counties' refusal to help pay for a new ballpark. Before that can happen, however, weeks of planning go into determining the shape and size of the table, and the type of wood the table will be made from. The table debate is eventually tabled.
- The debate escalates, until two rival Boulevard and Shockoe street gangs eventually rumble in an elaborate musical number that earns universal critical acclaim.
- The park is built in the Bottom as part of a mixed-use urban development, which comprises the stadium, 40 Italian-sausage vendors, 20 beer carts, 10 pretzel stands and one 400-square-foot apartment.
- A ballpark is built in Shockoe Bottom and, five years later, talks begin over whether to build a newer ballpark on the Boulevard.
- Nothing happens.