Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Go, Team, Go

Everything in the local news these days, it seems, is about the Pittsburgh Penguins, and whether they will pack up and leave town to go play hockey in Kansas City. (Or Las Vegas.) If that's what has to happen, que sera sera. Same thing goes for any other sports franchise. Professional sports is a business, and whole metropolitan areas should not be forced to practice socialism just for love of a game. If a team can't stay viable based on ticket sales, merchandising, and (why not?) gambling revenues in a particular market, then it ought to go someplace where it can.

I know it's hard, but I can't be sentimental about this. If the Penguins could afford to build a new hockey arena with multi-purpose potential (Vince McMahon and the Shrine Circus will both need a facility to use when Mellon Arena is gone!), they would have started by now. Mario Lemieux has repeatedly shown his loyalty to the city and the region, but even that has its limits. He has to do what's best for the team, and sticking around in a city where he can't afford to replace the arena, and where no one else will do so, isn't going to keep the franchise financially viable.

When the hockey developers lost the slots franchise, Pittsburgh effectively lost the Penguins. It's just a matter of time before the team leaves.

And now the politicians are getting involved. That's bad news, because everything that politicians do to "help" involves taxpayer funds. Unfortunately, sports mania can cause otherwise sensible people to go all commie just so they have a local team to cheer.

Don't let it come to that. Just let Mario do what he has to do. After all, he knows better than anyone else what's best for the team.

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