The mating ritual between MLB and the D.C. council has been bizarre, to put it mildly. Tuesday's vote on the council - a 6-4 squeaker with 3 abstentions - looks like the penultimate step in approving public financing of the new stadium. Rejection - tantamount to calling MLB's bluff - would have been an interesting result. What if the council had said "sorry, the price is too high. But here's some land, and we'll invest in public transport so crowds can get to the games." Would MLB pack up the team and move it across the Potomac? Probably, but they'd risk exposing their base motives, and the potential political ramifications might be costly.
Columnist Thom Loverro looks at the scene a different way. The vote allows Selig to arrive in town without having to declare that he's "an idiot." The mayor and the council chair don't have to walk around town wearing "idiot signs." But for having the courage to state the facts in this political maelstrom, economist Brad Humphreys gets Loverro's idiot award. Humphreys knows as much about the economic impact of stadiums as anyone in the country. But to Loverro he's a "clown," a "pencil necked geek" with "no clue" about "the economic benefits" of sports stadiums. And in the ultimate put-down, he works at the University of Illinois.
I don't know what to make of newspaper columnists. Their craft may appeal to the masses, but ignorance is a poor trait to put on display. For those of us who have bothered to think through the stadium subsidy issue, Loverro has declared himself to be a major league idiot.