Peter Golenbock is an important author. Just ask him and he will tell you just how important he is.
(I once shared a pre-game meal with Mr. Golenbock in media dining. The next day, when I said hello to him, he said “oh, you probably recognize me from ESPN Classic.” Seriously. I just ate with him 24 hours earlier.)
Mr. Golenbock has descended from whichever ivory tower he is currently hanging out in to compare the Rays to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the most recent issue of Creative Loafing. (Note to CL. Publishing poorly researched stories in a desperate attempt to make some waves is what landed you in Chapter 11 earlier this year. Maybe it is time for a different editorial philosophy…no?).
Golenbock’s comparison is based on the fact that Brooklyn Dodgers played in Brooklyn and Stu Sternberg grew up in Brooklyn and, well, not much else.
This is not a repeat of the Dodgers’ story for two GIGANTIC reasons:
- The markets the Rays are rumored to be heading to are not Los Angeles; and
- Bill Foster is not Robert Moses.
According to Golenbock the Rays have considered a move to “Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Las Vegas, or if [Sternberg] could, northern New Jersey, or in a perfect world, Brooklyn.” That, somehow, is akin to the Dodgers decision to be the first Major League Baseball team in the nation’s second-biggest city and the first Major League Baseball team in ALL OF CALIFORNIA. Sounds about the same right? I mean, Charlotte has never had a team.
Tell me why local leaders should be scared of Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento or Vegas? Those are all markets that are similar to the Tampa Bay. They are named as potential locations for the Rays because the Rays can’t credibly threaten to move without identifying some place they could, in theory, go. When O’Malley threatened to move, he could hold Los Angeles over New York’s head. Stu is stuck with the bustling metropolis of San Antonio or forclosure-ridden Vegas. Those are not threats that strike fear in the hearts of men.
More importantly, the struggle between Walter O’Malley and Robert Moses was a clash of the titans. O’Malley was one of baseball’s most powerful and wealthy owners. Moses, in case you have never heard of him, is one of the top-5 most powerful political leaders in the history of this country (excluding Presidents). If you don’t believe me, read Robert Caro’s 1200-page tome on Moses titled The Power Broker. O’Malley and Moses shaped the City of New York and were not accustomed to opposition. There was simply no way that either O’Malley or Moses was going to compromise simply because neither of them ever compromised. They both had to win because their entire future in the City of New York was built upon their unbending power. Plus, both O’Malley and Moses were holding guns. Moses had full authority over O’Malley’s request for a stadium and O’Malley had a real option to re-locate in Los Angeles. That deal could not happen without one man blinking. And neither man had eyelids.
Stu Sternberg is a finance-geek and Bill Foster is the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. Hardly a confrontation that will be remembered in the annals of history. (Why else do you think Creative Loafing is the only paper willing to print this?) Sternberg is, by his very nature, a dealmaker. Foster, has no leverage. You don’t have to be a professional mediator to see that this is a situation full of bluster that will ultimately end in compromise. Neither guy can afford to call the other’s bluff because they have no alternatives.
Peter Golenbock, however, sees beyond our obvious read on the situation. And, if you don’t see it, that only proves you aren’t as smart as Peter Golenbock. I mean, just ask him, he’ll tell you just as soon as he is finished with ESPN Classic.
*By the way, I think Peter Golenbock is the most distinguished inductee in the Blow-it.com fraternity…