Dateline 2008: Missouri Big Winner From New Cardinals Stadium In Illinois

Fake News From The Future posted by Martha Throebeck on Wednesday, May 1, 2002

from the blackmail-doesn't-always-pay dept.

[The following article will appear in the July 17, 2008 edition of the "St. Louis Democrat-Dispatch" newspaper]

EAST ST. LOUIS, IL -- A study conducted by Washington University reveals that the Cardinals' new baseball stadium in East St. Louis has had a larger positive impact on Missouri than Illinois, generating an estimated $100 million per year for downtown St. Louis while costing Illinois nearly the same amount.

"Illinois paid millions of dollars to subsidize AOL-Time-Warner-Microsoft-Walmart Stadium, build new parking garages and highways, and hire thousands of police officers in a futile effort to control crime in East St. Louis. Meanwhile, Missouri has reaped all the rewards because everybody continues to park, eat, and shop in downtown St. Louis with its much lower crime rate," explained Trevor Cochon, co-author of the study.

The Cardinals stadium, completed in 2006, has been a win-win situation for Missouri but a total disaster for Illinois. Visitors only linger in the Land of Lincoln long enough to watch the games within the relatively safe confines of AOL-et-al Stadium; the rest of time they remain on the Missouri side of the river and use Metro-Link to get back and forth. The gambling boats, the fine restaurants, the Arch, and the safe parking garages are all in St. Louis, not East St. Louis.

"Boy did we ever strike out," said former Cardinals president Myron Ludwig. "We could have saved a lot of money if we had just stayed in Missouri and paid for our own darn stadium instead of trying to blackmail the Legislature into giving us corporate welfare for it. Sure, we convinced Illinois to fork over a wad of cash, but now many Missourians refuse to support the team and the rest make a point of spending their money in Missouri and only entering Illinois to attend games."

Adding insult to injury, a team of lawyers representing St. Louis City filed a massive lawsuit against the team for trademark violation. As a result, the ball club is now officially called the "East St. Louis, Illinois Cardinals" since they are no longer in St. Louis® proper.

The Washington University study also reached the obvious conclusion that the ongoing boycott by Missouri state workers against the team has had a measurable impact on attendance. "Some workers haven't received overtime pay since the Bob 'One Term' Holden administration," Trevor Cochon said. "They're still mad that the Legislature even entertained the idea of a taxpayer-funded stadium when the taxpayers couldn't even make ends meet. Even those workers that still support the Cardinals can't afford to attend any games because they've received numerous pay cuts and zero pay raises since 2000."

In related news, the East St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Newark Mets last night 10-5, dropping their winning percentage to .352 since moving into the new stadium two seasons ago. The teams hosts the Kansas City, Kansas Royals in a three-game homestand before the first and third base coaches union is expected to call a strike to demand greater perks next week.