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Seeing is believing on stadium subsidies

In the interest of equal time, here's Michael Wilbon, going off on people who might threaten public funding for a baseball stadium in DC:

The people who do all the screaming in the town hall-style meetings probably don't make it to Denver or Cleveland to see what sports stadiums and arenas have done to revitalize those cities, to lure businesses that create new jobs, and lure developers who want to build new housing, which creates real-estate taxes. Sometimes, I can't believe the stupid junk I read from academics who spin their silly obstructionist excuses on what stadiums don't bring, when all you have to do is look at what they actually contribute in Cleveland and in Denver, or for that matter along 7th Street near MCI Center, which around here ought to be Exhibit A.

I get it: seeing is believing.

Wilbon's reading of the riot act to "academic obstructionists" was prompted by the emergence of a surprise stadium proposal by a member of the DC council. (Note to Wilbon: stop the junk "studies" produced by stadium promoters, and there will be no need for us to set the record straight.) The alternative proposal has the benefit of being 20% cheaper, but offers less development potential and would perhaps implicitly renege on prior agreements between MLB and the city.

Final Note: I was around the MCI Center earlier this year, and failed to notice the benefits that Wilbon alludes to. The side I saw (North?) was nothing more than a long brown wall. There were not many people about, nor much commerce. I'd be grateful if someone could fill me in on what I missed.

Update:See the interesting and useful observations in the comments section. Also, Division of Labour notes that the run of facility construction in Cleveland is not exactly associated with an economic boom. The Census Bureau has ranked it as "the biggest poor city in the country" with a 31 percent jobless rate.

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