Sports and other treachery

I was a Dodger fan in youth, the only acceptable choice for a New York red-diaper kid. I didn’t know any Giants fans.  One day I sat down to breakfast and opened a paper newspaper and learned that the team was going to Los Angeles; might as well have said “moon to move to new galaxy”.  In fact that move was not the cynical greedy play it appeared to be, more the result of Robert Moses and New York political leaders flubbing the job (on the Giants’ side, not so much, having more to do with fan indifference). But the disillusionment was extreme, and put me off baseball for decades…living in Boston for twenty-five years, I entered a serious flirtation with the Red Sox, but still gingerly.

Parents advise their kids, “don’t fall in love with someone who just wants your money.” Duh. OK, a professional team isn’t a charity for the benefit of fans (though the municipal/nonprofit Green Bay Packers are a notable exception). But the departure of the Raiders from Oakland for a much less promising fan base and market, entirely because Nevada pols are willing to dip into their citizens’ pockets* to line Mark Davis’ while the admirable mayor of Oakland put her foot down and would not be rolled, is a good lesson for all.  Sort of like the same lesson currently on offer from Donald Trump, as we see the only thing he actually wants to do is put his marks/voters’ money in the pocket of his rich pals, Russian and other.

Now, the Raiders are going to be here for two more years, and tens of thousands of fans have bought season tickets. I wonder if there’s a nice class action lawsuit here: “I bought tickets to see my home team, ; now it’s just a bunch of guys in black uniforms. Refund!” Update 28/III: the Raiders are refunding season tix. Good for them.

*Technical note: the Las Vegas subsidy comes mostly from a tax on tourists. Well, if tourists can be gouged for those hundreds of millions without damaging the local economy, they can just as well be gouged for schools, streets, and the like (Clark County schools are seriously hurting), so in the end it’s the locals’ money being shoveled to Davis.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

9 thoughts on “Sports and other treachery”

  1. When America was Great, major league baseball had an American and a National League, with eight teams each. They played 154 games during the season, played against only the teams in the same league as themselves, then one team in each league won the pennant and they played the World Series in the first week of October. Pitchers in each league had to take their turn at bat if the manager wanted to keep them in the game.

    When is Trump going to do the obviously right thing?

      1. One of my most traumatic childhood memories was the day that Johnny Unitas’ record-setting consecutive game touchdown pass record was broken as the Colts scored only 3 points on a field goal and were defeated by the Rams. Next day, I stood dazed on the playground at recess trying to process what had happened. I was never the same again.

        1. Yaz, popping up with 2 outs in the 9th, 1978 single game playoff between the two best teams in either league. Damn that Bucky Dent. At the math building at my high school (just north of Boston), all the classes were cancelled so that we could all file into the biggest lecture room and watch the last four or five innings. I was 17, so hardly a child, but it was worse than Bill Buckner, worse than learning Lenny Bias had overdosed, almost as bad as Asante Samuel dropping that easy pick of the Eli Manning pass that would have sealed the 19-0 season. My most disheartening Boston sports moment.

  2. In better sports news, the U.S. Women's National ice hockey team just scored a resounding victory in their contract standoff with USA Hockey. They'll get paid about $70,000 a year, with bonuses for medaling at the World's or Olympics possibly increasing that, get travel rules and per diems equal to what the men get, increased marketing of the team, and setting up some processes to reduce the enormous gap between what USAH pays to support boys youth programs and what they pay to support girls.

    So, they'll be playing this Friday to open the World Championships against Canada, and I'll be there.

  3. Sort of like the same lesson currently on offer from Donald Trump, as we see the only thing he actually wants to do is put his marks/voters’ money in the pocket of his rich pals, Russian and other.

  4. I don't get city forking out money for football. You get 8 regular season games. This isn't baseball with 81. And Vegas? Really? Vegas is a city of transients. It's not like people move to a city and easily change allegiances.

    The Raiders are much better than they were. If they are good when they move, the NFL will point to increased attendance the first year and say, "we knew it was the stadium." They won't respond when the team falls and the stadium is empty, like Jacksonville…

    1. Football stadiums are an incredible opportunity for graft. And the fact they're not used often may mean less checking up on how things work.

  5. Isn't it written into the Raiders' charter that they move every 6 or 8 years. Yawn. And if any town deserves the fucking it gives itself, it's Vegas.

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