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Richard Oliver: City carries weight in franchise dealin'


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It's a few days old, but still worth posting.

 

Richard Oliver: City carries weight in franchise dealin'

Web Posted: 05/07/2006 12:00 AM CDT

San Antonio Express-News

 

Three Florida Marlins officials swung through San Antonio last week, and the occasion smacked more of farewell than the future.

 

Even as Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, again the noble host, lifted a glass with the visitors at the charming Grey Moss Inn, surprise legislation was being crafted in South Florida to keep the ballclub there.

 

Despite denials from the Marlins' reps, the timing of the visit ? against the backdrop of San Antonio's enduring concerns about again playing the patsy ? seemed fishy at best.

 

Even as the team's head of stadium development, chief financial officer and general counsel took Wolff's $60 tour, politicians back home were furiously cobbling together a possible state tax subsidy worth $60 million toward building a new ballpark for the embattled franchise.

 

Though the desperate measure died when the legislature's session ended at midnight Friday night, for the cynics amongst us it appeared that if San Antonio were being leveraged any harder, the Tower of the Americas might be sent tumbling down atop the Alamodome.

 

Thanks to Friday's last-ditch political failure, the Marlins will undoubtedly look west again in coming days, but should now find in San Antonio a city whose backbone has grown stiffer than the Tower's soaring column.

 

The lesson learned, at long last?

 

We deserve better than being patronized as part of someone's bureaucratic shell game. Accordingly, the message now should be blunt for whichever disgruntled franchise owner comes calling next, whether Jeffrey Loria or Tom Benson.

 

We'd love to have you join one of the nation's ascendant communities.

 

But make no mistake.

 

Just because we lust after you, it doesn't necessarily mean we need you.

 

Last week, over a couple of steamy days, the perennially upbeat Wolff took Loria's officers to potential ballpark sites and various landmarks, including a cruise down the River Walk, and for breakfast at Mi Tierra.

 

When it was done, and the Florida front-office folks were jetting back toward Miami, the only thing everyone knew for certain was that they don't serve delicious breakfast tacos like that in Hialeah.

 

And that the games people play don't always take place on the field.

 

But we knew that already.

 

That dealing with sports franchises looking to move is dirty business is nothing new to us, of course. The recent years have shown us that such courtships demand more than deep pockets and a willing citizenry.

 

It often requires soap, hot water and heavy gargling.

 

No one comes away from these things feeling completely clean, and we can now survey the grime from this most recent flirtation and see it for what it is: another layer of needed experience.

 

Certainly, reeling in the Marlins would be a home run. But San Antonio should understand, more and more, that it is the real catch.

 

The ambitious Wolff, who is rightfully admired for his dogged spearheading of attempts to elevate the city's national identity, appears to recognize this with more certainty than ever before. Stung by recent criticism by Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson, who accurately reflected a growing national perception that San Antonio sometimes appears to be "groveling," the judge set a May 15 deadline for Florida to accept an offer of $200 million in public funding and free land toward a stadium.

 

The Marlins are expected to ignore the date. Major League Baseball, by its silence, has indicated no desire to surrender the nation's No. 17 media market in favor of No. 37.

 

Big deal.

 

Others will come sniffing around, and the past few weeks show that San Antonio officials increasingly appear ready to negotiate with more than crossed fingers and dreamy stares.

 

Wolff has joined Larson in stressing that any future discussions will only be pursued with teams and leagues simultaneously. It's a sound game plan designed to eliminate the city being used as a political pawn, and it may be in play soon.

 

The Marlins' discussion, however faint, will continue. NFL franchises in Buffalo, San Diego and, yes, New Orleans, among others, likely will be seeking new homes after next season and beyond.

 

Pro football is the better target for San Antonio, on a variety of levels, and Wolff, Larson and Mayor Phil Hardberger should be ready with a suitable message.

 

Welcome to San Antonio.

 

What can you do for us?

 

roliver@express-news.net

 

http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/columni...ns.77fa566.html

 

When it was done, and the Florida front-office folks were jetting back toward Miami, the only thing everyone knew for certain was that they don't serve delicious breakfast tacos like that in Hialeah.

 

Cuban food >>>>>>> Breakfast tacos :mischief

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When it was done, and the Florida front-office folks were jetting back toward Miami, the only thing everyone knew for certain was that they don't serve delicious breakfast tacos like that in Hialeah.

 

Cuban food >>>>>>> Breakfast tacos :mischief

Not only that but i'll put money that the Taco Bell on 49th street makes better tasting tacos than the one's their talking about. :mischief

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Guest Festa

When it was done, and the Florida front-office folks were jetting back toward Miami, the only thing everyone knew for certain was that they don't serve delicious breakfast tacos like that in Hialeah.

 

Cuban food >>>>>>> Breakfast tacos :mischief

Not only that but i'll put money that the Taco Bell on 49th street makes better tasting tacos than the one's their talking about. :mischief

 

Roberto's Taco Shop on 49th >>>> Taco Bell on 49th

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When it was done, and the Florida front-office folks were jetting back toward Miami, the only thing everyone knew for certain was that they don't serve delicious breakfast tacos like that in Hialeah.

 

Cuban food >>>>>>> Breakfast tacos :mischief

Not only that but i'll put money that the Taco Bell on 49th street makes better tasting tacos than the one's their talking about. :mischief

 

You would lose that bet big time. There are a few places in SA that make some of the best tacos in the world. No matter where it is, Taco Bell is CRAP in comparison to the family owned joints here in SA.

 

I'd compare it to Cuban food, except my trip to a cuban restaurant got canceled due to illness when I was down there.

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When it was done, and the Florida front-office folks were jetting back toward Miami, the only thing everyone knew for certain was that they don't serve delicious breakfast tacos like that in Hialeah.

 

Cuban food >>>>>>> Breakfast tacos :mischief

Not only that but i'll put money that the Taco Bell on 49th street makes better tasting tacos than the one's their talking about. :mischief

 

You would lose that bet big time. There are a few places in SA that make some of the best tacos in the world. No matter where it is, Taco Bell is CRAP in comparison to the family owned joints here in SA.

 

I'd compare it to Cuban food, except my trip to a cuban restaurant got canceled due to illness when I was down there.

 

Just in general, Miami is the Latin capital of the US. We got Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Venezuelan... you name it. We got it.

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