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All-Star Game? The Extortion-Era Continues Under Selig

First, we suffered a week of the Royals planting their fake "the K needs renovations story" just before the official release of their planned "upgrades". Now, this

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Kansas City is an All-Star city again.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday that a Major League All-Star Game between 2010 and 2014 will be held in Kansas City. The awarding of the game is contingent on the passage of a sales tax April 4 to finance Kauffman Stadium improvements.

Personally, I thought they'd lay out with this on the pre-Election weekend, but I guess the fact that that would be so near to April Fool's Day killed that. Still, you gotta admire Selig's media-driven extortion machine. I especially enjoyed the Royals Email I got proclaiming "KC AWARDED THE ALL-STAR GAME!!" with no clarifications.

The pitch isn't complete without the requisite voodoo economics about the economic benefits of hosting the event:

The infusion of an All-Star Game into the local economy is significant. According to Major League Baseball, the 2005 game had an economic impact of between $50 million and $55 million on Detroit. The 2004 game brought an estimated $65 million to Houston.

"This is obviously an exciting opportunity for the people of Kansas City and the Royals organization," club owner David Glass said.

"The All-Star Game has become one of the sport's greatest events and this would bring worldwide exposure to Kansas City and Kauffman Stadium. We are obviously very excited about the proposed enhancements to Kauffman Stadium, and bringing All-Star Week to Kansas City would be the icing on the cake. But first, we need to get the ballot passed and that's what we're going to do."

Damn. And I thought the Sluggger's House and Discount Coupons made it worthwhile on their own?

Fans -- especially Jackson County Residents -- should check out the Field of Schemes website, which includes this little gem:

As for the effect on Kansas City beyond the fountains, the K.C. Star has a good roundup of the likely economic impacts, which sums up to "not as much as people claim." In additional to the usual reasons for pessimism - the substitution effect and the like - is one that's seldom mentioned: Raising sales taxes by 0.375% to pay for the renovations, according to federal data, would take $25 a year out of the pocket of the average Jackson County resident, dampening the local economy. That's something you almost never see addressed by those eager-to-please economic impact consultants.


But this is all par for the Seligean Course. Should the Prop's poll numbers drop further, expect to see Glass jetting off for a photo-op in Las Vegas, or Portland, or Mexico City or London or anywhere else. Look, I know the Royals feel they gotta do what they gotta do... but theres a fine line between politics and shamelessness, between business and extortion. I though the first rule of Capitalism was that the Big Boys get to reap the benefits because they carried the burden of the risk?