Baseball, Green Politics, and Ralph Nader
- The Green values of self-reliance, personal and social responsibility, and
the inherent conflict between civil society and corporate welfare found in a
nutshell at the Red Sox's ballpark.
Nader blasts Red Sox on ballpark plan Instead, he says, team should fund
By Meg Vaillancourt, Bosto Globe Staff, 3/26/2000
Standing in the shadow of the fabled Green Monster - Fenway Park's left
wall - consumer advocate and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader
yesterday blasted the Red Sox's plans for a $600 million replacement park.
A longtime opponent of public subsidies for professional sports teams, Nader
denounced the team's owners as ''arrogant'' and equated their new ballpark
plan to the ancient Roman circus.
''They both feature gladiators, but this scheme is worse because at least
ancient Romans let in the fans for free,'' Nader said. ''There should be no
public subsidies for privately owned entertainment corporations. ... I don't
think the Boston Red Sox want to be known as the Boston Tax Sox.''
An outspoken critic of Connecticut Governor John Rowland's ill-fated plan to
build a publicly funded stadium for football's New England Patriots, Nader
has pressed federal lawmakers to revoke the antitrust exemptions currently
enjoyed by Major League Baseball and the National Football League.
Nader struck a class warfare theme, urging the Red Sox to privately renovate
89-year-old Fenway Park rather than push the state and city to invest in a
''They should prudently and privately fund the proper renovation of this
storied Fenway Park,'' he said as a small group of new-park opponents
''To win a World Series ..., they don't need new skyboxes populated by
gluttonous financiers freeloading on the backs of hardworking taxpayers of
In town to attend a Green Party convention in Cambridge yesterday, Nader was
invited to speak about the Red Sox plan by Citizens Against Stadium
Subsidies, a newly formed local coalition opposed to the Red Sox project.
The coalition includes members of the Massachusetts Public Interest Group,
Save Fenway Park, the Fenway Action Coalition, Citizens for Limited
Roxbury residents opposed to the team's plan to build satellite parking
facilities for fans near the Ruggles MBTA Station, and several other groups.
While Fenway residents are sharply divided on the project, the team has won
support from businesses and organized labor as well as some neighborhood
However, the team has not outlined how it hopes to finance the project.
Currently in talks with city and state officials, team officials hope to
reach a consensus on how much public investment they might request within
next month or two.
Citing other ballpark projects across the country, sports financing
specialists estimate that the Red Sox may need up to $250 million in public
funds to build the project, which the team says it needs to compete with
opponents who have or are building new ballparks.
Yesterday, team officials did not criticize Nader. Instead, they repeated
arguments of ballpark boosters who say the project will generate additional
tax revenues for the city and state.
It's what we learn after we know it all that really counts.
Sunday, March 26, 2000
6:48:03 AM Pacific Standard Time