14 December 2010

Tuesday Football: Where every seat is cheap

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! (FOX Sports)
Sensational as it is, Sunday's failure of the stadium roof in Minneapolis points to some rather disturbing facts.  In the first place, this is not the first time the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome roof has collapsed under a lot of snow.  After the third one in 1983, and a wind-related failure in 1986, Metrodome officials made some technical fixes to strengthen the roof system.  Unfortunately, it now appears that the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the body that maintains the stadium, may have ignored warnings about the fiberglass roof itself.  Replacing the roof would cost 12-15 million dollars, and I wonder whether the MSFC just thought that investment was too expensive.  The answer to that question doesn't matter now, I suppose.

But stop and think about this:  According the the people who designed and built it, the roof has "has exceeded its service life of 20 years."  Seriously?  The good people of the Twin Cities spent tens of millions of dollars on something that with a lifetime of only 20 years?  Just to keep an effing sports team?

That question also occurred to the folks over at Treehugger, who noted that the Metrodome was built both quickly and cheaply.   I had always wondered why the Pontiac Silverdome, once home to the Detroit Lions and host of the classic Super Bowl XVI, ended up selling for only $500,000 after the Lions abandoned it.  And, what, I wondered, was the point of building the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis if the Colts were going to dump it in only 25 years?  For that matter, what about other huge venues that didn't make it to their 40th anniversaries?  The Kingdome?  Veterans' Stadium?  The NBA arenas in Orlando and Charlotte?

These things got built because, in order to keep their beloved sports teams from moving to some other city (or, in the case of Indianapolis, to steal a team) municipalities had to build new arenas, and build them right now.  Again:  what's the point in redirecting tens -- now hundreds -- of millions of taxpayer dollars on a major building if it's not going to last that many decades?  So the sports team(s) can make millions, not a dime of which goes back to the city?  So the cities and/or states that spend that kind of money can do it again in 20 years?

A 100,000-seat stadium full of dog manure, that's what it is.  I don't care who's spending a billion dollars for a new stadium.  For that much money, the Cowboys and New Meadowlands venues had damned will better withstand a hell of a lot more than a meter of snow.

Fantasy football update:  Well, what'll you know?  Both my teams won this week.

Victory came too late for the Middlemen (7-7), whose struggles kept tracking with those of Antonio Gates' feet.  For once, the Middlemen got a team on its worst week.  Again, the performance was weak, but it was enough for an 84-74 win over the playoff-bound Tin Men.  It didn't matter, alas, as fourth-place No Clue also, relegating the Middlemen to the consolation bracket.

I'm not going to stick God for all the blame for wasting a team as talented as the Middlemen.  [In the family league, top-seeded Anything But Last shares no fewer than five players with them.]  Its fast start surprised me, and also blinded me to the possibility that I could lose key players to injury.  I waited too long to find substitutes, and it hurt.  Also, I never did find a steady defense.  [This week's squad, Oakland, scored zero points.]  The Middlemen's bigger problem, though, was bad luck:  they seemed to catch every opponent on its best week.  As I've discovered to my regret, the most talented team in the league is doomed if it has to rack up 110 Yahoo-standard points to win every week.

On the other side, the news is much happier for the Fluttering Horde (8-6), 111-56 quarterfinal winners over Osogood.  The match was over once the Patriots, whose defense the Horde uses, blew out my beloved Bears.  On Monday, Andre Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw pitched in 44 points that the Horde really didn't need.  Up in next week's semifinal:  an earlier Horde victim, the Southside Hitmen.  Now that Peyton Manning's earned his way out of my doghouse, I like my chances to finish in some money.

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